The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 1 October 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511001-TC-JWC-01; CL 26: 190-192


Paris, 1 Octr, 1851—

No Letter for me yet, my Dear! I hoped for one yesterday morning, I confidently expected one this morng; but none, after all, turns up for me. It is a little hard. I wrote you at considerable length on Sunday,1 and did not draw a very flattering picture of my affairs: a kind word from my dear little Jeannie would have been of real comfort to me. However, I must not complain.

The best and only good part of the affair now is, I am directly coming home; hope to be with you not many hours after this Letter arrives. That, to myself at least, is a right welcome fact. I have had a horrible time of it, and only one wish lively in me, that it were done. On Sunday night there was fret and watchfulness appointed me, and little more; the noises &c of this confused place having shattered me all to pieces; about 3 hours of sleep towards morning was all I made of Sunday night. Next night,—worse and worse, nearly no sleep at all; at the utmost one hour. Oh the horrors of these two nights; and how I longed for my own good little room standing empty on the other side of the sea! What yesterday was for me you may guess. In fact, I had made up my mind to be off straightway; and the first act I did was to go and get a railway bill: but at breakfast time it was proposed that Lord A. shd accompany me if I wd wait till the morrow (this day), her Ladyship (who is very ill of cold) to be left behind; then again that we should wait till Thursday and all go, home in one day, &c &c; in short many plans were started, and they still fluctuate and hang changeful in the wind: but this, for me, was and is fixed that I wd go on Thursday at latest; and that, if I did not sleep on Tuesday night (that is now, yesternight) I wd be off on Wednesday by myself. Happily I did get another 6 good hours of sleep (more not attainable), for which I am infinitely thankful: Lady A. draws back from her share of Thursday; but insists that her Husband shall go, who is daily getting worse here: and as for me there is no doubt about my going if I am able; no man can have less to do in Paris than I have, or be readier to quit than I! In fact, I never made such a fruitless jump into the Red-Sea of mud before, to which a sprawl out again quàm primum [as soon as possible] is the only sequel. Cavaignac is not in town, after all, when we call upon him; him we cannot see;2 the other Frenchn whom I fall in with are mere affliction to me, better not seen. We dined on Monday night at Lady Sandwich's (Lady A. close in her room could not go thither or anywhither): there were Thiers and wife, there were &c &c—ach Gott im Himmel [ah, God in Heaven].3 Last night, I broke off a similar engaget, had dinner about 4; and tea with the Brownings, who at least were quiet and spoke English.4 My one good entertaint has been to drive about the streets with Lord A., who has infinite calls, purchases &c to make: I see the outside of this strange City at my ease there, and so gain from it all that it has to give me at this juncture. My introductions I will burn this day. Prosper Mérimée, who thinks Goethe an inferior Frh apprentice, is enough of “Literature” for me5 Adieu, Dearest: expect me on Thursday night (before 10, I shd think), or failing that, some time on Friday. All is uncertain, you see, except that I am just getting on the road. God bless thee my dear little woman.— T. Carlyle