The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO LADY BULWER LYTTON; 3 January 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510100-JWC-LBL-01; CL 26: 5-6


[early January 1851]

After all you have told me, and with all my ardent esprit de corps, what excited in me the realest, the most human sympathy for you, is this brave eagerness to do anything in honesty for the discharge of your involuntary debts. Surely if we fail to give you any furtherance in this good purpose of yours, it shall not be for want of earnest wishing and trying.

When you describe that man and his treatment of you, I feel amazed before the whole thing, as in the presence of the Infinite; it is all so diabolical—so out of the course of nature, that I, who have mercifully had to do with only imperfect human beings at worst, never with an incarnate devil, cannot realise it to myself, and cannot get any more intelligent impression from it than from a bad dream, or a Balzac novel.1

The very inhumanness of your wrongs makes it impossible for me to pity them after a right genuine human fashion; but when, not only superior but defiant of fine Ladyism and ‘all that sort of thing,’ you speak resolutely of helping yourself, and set forth your qualifications for a Housekeeper, a Companion,—you brought up to be waited upon, and one of the cleverest authoresses in England!—then my whole practical Scotch nature applauds you, and cries ‘God speed you!’ …

My husband went to Murray2 that same day after seeing you, and tried him, he declares, on all tacks; even on that of appealing to his feelings of a gentleman. …

Mr. C. is in ‘The Valley of the Shadow of Blue Pill,’3 and won't go with me anywhere in the evenings—and I have no carriage—and can't afford flys, except like angel visits, ‘few and far between!’4