The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 2 December 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511202-JWC-TC-01; CL 26: 246-247


The Grange / Tuesday [2 December 1851]

Indeed Dear I desired to do your bidding; but to write any sort of note yesterday between my arrival and six o'clock was morally impossible—as yourself, had you seen “how I was situated,” (your pet expression), would have frankly admitted— We got here at half after four; I pretty well suffocated—for Lady S1 had kept both windows shut, in the Brougham as well as in the railway carriage—and the male passenger had smoked a bad cigar, the last thing he did before rejoining his wife! It was a detestable journey in fact, as most journeys are— There was a famous fire in the drawingroom when we arrived but the room was otherwise dark and alas! empty. And as the minutes wore on, and nobody came Lady S got what Ann calls “upsettet,” lay back in her chair with her handkerchief on her face, and giving little half-sobs, which I expected every moment would turn to an explosion of tears, She no longer answered when I spoke to her, so being unable to do her any good, nature prompted me to run away—only I knew not what room to betake myself to and it was not for me to ring, the first— At length Lady A came and then indeed I saw that I was imperatively wanted to—stay! Tea was ordered for which I was very grateful and then Lady S and I were shown to our rooms together, and by that time it had struck six— Lady S took to bed and her dinner taken to her so I dined, the only one, in that great dining room, from silver dishes with three men hovering round me like a flight of crows while Lady A goodnaturedly knitted there while I eat—you may imagine with my “Brammical2 notions about eating” how I felt!— We had not been long in the drawingroom before poor Lady S came down full-dressed, and “all gathered up,” and the evening was spent very pleasantly in making doll's clothes. I had long wished for a doll to dress, as a supplement to that blessed doll-dressing period which in my particular case was cut cruelly short—and now behold, the kind Fates have sent me seven dolls to dress! and you shall see what beauties I shall make of them! Lady A has hemmed the bottom of a shift and petticoat—

I am in my old room at the end of the corridor which has got several new conveniences, and I slept very well in the French bed—my bath however was a strange looking machine some three feet high and shaped like a flower-pot into which I saw no probability of introducing myself or of doing any good in it when there—so I missed my cold water in the morning and went down all too sensitive to the cold of the dining room and have coughed and sniftered over my doll's clothes ever since breakfast—and must go no further than the Conservatory today— The weather here looks quite as raw and thick as in London— I hope in Heaven I shall be well tomorrow—they have changed my bath— Love and a kiss to my poor wee dog—I missed him dreafully at bed time— But I see it was a particularly mercy of Heaven that I had the sense to resist your recommendations to fetch him with me— I will send you a line about my health tomorrow—I know you are very content—with the house all to yourself

Ever your afft