The Collected Letters, Volume 27


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 12 September 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520912-JWC-TC-01; CL 27: 280-283


Sunday / 5 Cheyne Row [12 September 1852]

As there was already a letter gone to you, Dear, and as next day was Sunday, when there would be some human quiet, I did not answer yesterday by return of post, but went instead to the City where I had business. Indeed it was well to get out into Space yesterday, for the Plasterers were rushing about like demons finishing off, and clearing away their scaffoldings &c; and the Plumbers were once more boiling lead in the kitchen to repair some spout on the roof, and a note I had written to Mr Morgan, that your Brother Alick “never did the like o',”1 in point of sarcasm, had produced an influx of things perfectly bewildering! and the two carpenters, who have been too long together fell to quarrelling, so loud that I had to send the painter to express my sentiments. In fact it was a patent Hell here yesterday for any “lover of quiet things”2— In the evening I had a tea party to wind up with. Had madly invited some people to meet a man who after all couldnt come but will come next Tuesday instead! The man was Herzen3 whom you have had some correspondence with— He is in London for a short time, and was very bent on seeing you,4 and Saffi who is much with him asked leave to bring him to me—not as being “all the same as Mr Dondle”5 but as the Hades thro' which these people pass to you—or hope TO! So I said he might bring him last night, and asked Darwin and the Reichenbachs and Brookfield to meet him—all in this end of a room! there were six of us and we spoke four languages! And it is all to be done over again on Tuesday! Herzen is not a German as you fancied him but a Russian, and he is rich, which is indicated by his having given Mazzini two hundred pounds for HIS objects!! Chapman6 has told Saffi to write him 3 articles one on Italian religion 2 more on Italian literature—and Saffi is very thankful to you— The other Chapman when I was in his shop the other day to get a note from him to Griffiths7 made me again the offer of “very advantageous terms” for a novel of my own!— So I have something to “retire upon”8 in prospect, not inferior to “an old washer woman” But meanwhile what a pity it is that you cant get any good sleep—all the rest would be made smooth for you were that one condition granted—it is not only german beds however that one cant get sleep in—three nights ago in desperation I took a great doze of Morphia for the same state of things, and was thankful to get four hours of something like forgetfulness by that questionable means— I am not otherwise ill however; that one horrid headach I told you of has been my only real illness since you left—

I had a long very nice letter from John two days ago—his marriage is not to come off till November or December— He talks about it with an innocent faith that is quite touching, and already seems to be “seeing his way” more clearly than I ever knew him to do Thomas Erskine too wrote to me: that “he loved me much and wished he could see me what God intended me for”— I answered his letter begging him to tell me “what God intended me for,”—since he knew and I didn't! It would be a satisfaction even to know it. It is surely a kind of impiety to speak of God as if he too were “with the best intentions always unfortunate”!—either I am just what God intended me for, or God cant “carry out” his intentions it would seem!—and in that case I for “one solitary individual” cant worship him the least in the world!

I had a visit the other morning from Cooper the Chartist9 come not to pay the 5£ he borrowed but to “ask for more”! You had desired him he said to apply to you again if he were again in difficulty!! I told him that I “had none to give him” and he took the refusal like a man used to it, quite “light and airy”

Fanny is really a nice servant a dash of Irish “rough and ready” in her, but a good cleaner and a good cook, and a perfect incarnation of The Willing Mind! Very tidy too in her own person under all circumstances. An awful complication revealed itself two or three days after she came which she stood by me under with a jolliness that was quite admirable— When the new painted kitchen was capable of being slept in she fell to taking the bed in pieces to give it “a good washing”— Ann who would never be at the trouble to look to her bed, pretended when she did finally take it down by my express order before she went away, to have found “nothing worth mentioning”—“just four bugs” and these “very small ones”—like the girls illegitimate child— Well I was sitting writing here when Fanny came and said “Do step down mam and see what I have kept to show you”—and when I had gone down not knowing what she had been at, there, lay her bed all in pieces, and beside it a large basin of water containing the drowned bodies of something like two hundred bugs!! The bed perfectly swarmed with these “small beings”—was in fact impregnated with them beyond even my cleansing powers! We gathered it all up and carried it out into the garden to be sold to a Broker who is coming for certain rubbish of things and I went the same day and bought a little iron bed stead for the kitchen, for £1.2.6d— The horror of these bugs quite maddened me for many days and I would not tell you of them at the time, that you might not feel them prospectively biting you—but now I think we are “quite shut10 of them”—The Painter's consolation that he knew “fine houses in Belgrave Square where they were crawling about the drawingroom floors” did not help me at all!

The poor white cat no longer gives offence to Nero—I suppose she “couldn't stand the muddle” like that girl who went away; for she also went away, into infinite space—two weeks ago! Darwin says if I can put up with “a cat with a bad heart” I may have his—“that minds me” (as Helen used to say) of an Italian living with Mazzini at present who is beating Saffi hollow in “the pursuit of English under difficulties”—sitting down by some Englishman the other day, he said “fluently” “Now let me have nice cat together”! (chat)

How disappointed poor Bolte will be that I am not along with you!— I will write to her, say. Mr Kenyon11 and Browning left their cards for me yesterday I heard at Addiscombe that Macaulay was ill of some mortal disease—but the information seemed vague—Thiers is expected at the Grange the first of November “to stay till they come to London and live on at Bath house after”—and now A Jew!12 A Jew! for I have still some writing to do before I go out a letter to Geraldine in the Isle of Man, and one to John

My love to Neuberg and bid him “be strong”

affectionately yours