The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 5 September 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510905-JWC-TC-01; CL 26: 152-154


2 Birchfield Place / Higher Ardwick / Manchester Friday [5 September 1851]

Well! really! you don't “beat us all for a deep thought”! If you had lost my address why not send a letter for me to the care of F. Jewsbury1 Fire Insurance office Manchester?—or to the care of Mr Ireland or any of the many people in Manchester you are in correspondence with—if you could not risk writing to the care of Miss Jewsbury Manchester—which is address enough for practical purposes— Round by Chelsea, at second hand, was a very “slow” proceeding— “upon my honour”! Besides; the sight of a letter addressed to Geraldine, in John's handwriting was calculated to give one a serious fright— When we came in, late last night from Bowden,2 where we had passed the day, and I saw on the table only that letter for her, instead of the one I made sure of for myself—my heart jumped into my mouth I assure you, and I tore it open without asking her leave, and was downright thankful to learn that “my Brother had merely found his portmanteau missing.“— I hope you have recovered it by this time—it cant be that it is permanently lost?— If it be unrecoverable however you must just try to think how much worse it would have been to have lost a manuscript—or me?—that (so far as I am aware) it is but after all, a question of shirts and woolen clothes—that may all be replaced with a small expenditure of money and patience— I shall be very happy however to hear that the old portmanteau is safe at Scotsbrig—for you are “the last man in England” that should, in the course of a kind Providence, be visited with such untoward accidents!— As I have by this time quite forgiven you for coming to go thro the form of kissing me at parties with—a lighted cigar in your mouth(!); I am sadly vexed at the idea of all this new botheration for you at the end of your journey. and vexed too for your Mother and the rest, whose pleasure in your arrival would be spoiled for them by your arriving in a state of worry.

For myself, it seems almost Grahamish,3 under the circumstances, to tell you that I performed my journey in the most prosperous manner—even to the successful smuggling of Nero— At the Manchester Station a porter held out his hands for the basket in which I had him, that I might descend more conveniently; but I said with wonderful calm—“Thank you—I have something here that I require to be careful of—I will keep it myself”— And the man bowed and went for my other luggage—

I found Geraldine in a much nicer house—with large high rooms—prettily furnished—really as beautiful a house as one could wish to live in—and she is the same kind little hostess as ever—with her old Peggy and a new young girl she manages to surround me with “all things most pleasant in life”—and I don't know where I could be better off—for the moment— The first night Dilberoglue and Dr Smith came to tea4—the next Mrs Gaskell and her husband and Ireland and young Bernays5— All yesterday we spent at Bowden with a Miss Hamilton6— who has a history—and tonight we are to drink tea at Dilberoglue's with the Greek Mother and the beautiful daughter Caliope7— For the rest I keep up as much as possible the forms of Malvern life—splash in cold water and walk before breakfast; tho the Manchester atmosphere is so thick that one feels to put it aside with ones nose—oh so thick, and damp, and dirty! Still the walk does me good—we dine at two—and I resolutely abstain from pills—continuing to wear my compress—I went in search of one to send on to you—but unsuccessfully as yet—and I have not had leisure to make one—tho' I am sure I can—if none be procurable at the shops—

I wrote to Miss Gully since I came here—but there has not been time to get an answer.— The more I think of these people the more I admire their politeness and kindness to us— I don't remember ever in my life before to have staid a whole month in anybody's house without ever once wishing to be away—Geraldine says “my Dear, it is a fact that speaks volumes!”8

I am writing under your image—Geraldine has got your large print in a pretty gilt frame over the chimney piece in my bedroom—facing Neukomm9—and a little lower,—between you—is a similar—sized print of—Jesus Christ!

But what will you be caring for all this that I write if— —the portmanteau be still in Infinite Space!—

pray write— The state of the case—long letters are a bore to write when one is ‘in retreat’—and I don't want you to take any bore on my account—but a short note concerning the portmanteau and your health, I cannot dispence with.

Nero sends his dear little love—and bids me say that since you went his digestion has been much neglected—everybody slipping him with dainties—out of kindness—and no exercise to speak of!—he is afraid of ending like the King and Queen of the Sandwich Islands10

My kind regards to all at Scotsbrig— Ever yours faithfully

Jane Carlyle—