The Collected Letters, Volume 25


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 23 September 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500923-JWC-TC-01; CL 25: 228-229


5 Cheyne Row / Monday [23 September 1850]

Alas Dear! I am very sorry for you. You as well as I are “too vivid.” to you as well as to me has a skin been given much too thin for the rough purposes of human life! They could not make ball-gloves of our skins Dear—never to dream of breeches!1 But it is to be hoped you will feel some benefit from all this knocking about when it is over and you are settled at home, such as it is. It does not help to raise my spirits for my own adventure, that you are likely to arrive here in my absence— You may be better without me so far as my company goes; I make myself no illusion on that head; my company, I know, is generally worse than none, and you cannot suffer more from the fact than I do from the consciousness of it. God knows how gladly I would be sweet-tempered and cheerful hearted and all that sort of thing for your single sake, if my temper were not soured and my heart saddened beyond my own power to mend them. But you would certainly be the better for me to stand between you and this new Servant who has as little idea of going on without “interference” as Elizabeth of going on with it. She is very willing however and “not without sense,” only you must give your orders in simple UNfigurative speech, and one after another: if you were to tell her in the same breath three things to be done, she would fly at them all at one time, and spin round on her heel simply: for living you must confine yourself to broiled chops, or fowl quartered and one quarter boiled in soup another broiled— mutton broth is beyond her, and in roasting she is far from strong— we are getting very plausible potatoes and she boils these pretty well.

I did not find Miss Wynn on Saturday—she has been “poorly” at Dropmore2 and was not expected till Thursday so I shall not see her at all— I was too late for Miss Farrer after; so I went to her yesterday—the Church-going Spree did not come off! “horrible was the idea to me”!3 when the hour came; so John4 went by himself. Miss Farrer could not go on Wednesday after all. “her Brother5 was coming to town on Thursday, and she would not for the whole world go away without having seen him” The old Mother had just told John and me before Miss came into the room that she was “detained on account of the means not being procurable before Friday”! I intended to go on Wednesday all the same before getting the enclosed this morning from Lady A6— I have “the means” thank God—tho' Mrs Farrer and her daughter did ask Mrs White7 if we didn't live “dreadfully poorly“!! I have had no money from Chapman however—he has not come nor sent—and my house-money is utterly done, and no mistake—but then I flatter myself I have a good many things to show for it! All my little accounts are settled except one which I leave for you, as beyond the limits of my savings— And if you do not approve the outlay I have a heart above slavery and will pay it myself out of my next twelvemonth's income. But tho the house money is done, my own allowance is not. I have still five pounds—might have had more, if I had not chosen to lay out what you repaid me for my ball-dress on my own bedroom—a much more satisfactory investment to my ideas! If I find myself in danger of bankraiping I will tell you; so do not plague yourself sending any money for the present

I have been interrupted in this note by MacDiarmid and Col Burns8 Oh such a withered up skite poor Mac is become!— I am going to be very vexed at having to leave Nero!

Ever your