The Collected Letters, Volume 27


JWC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 30 September 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520930-JWC-JAC-01; CL 27: 308-309


20 Hemus Terrace / 30th Septr 1852

My dear John

Quelle vie [What a life]! Not yours but mine! You, I hear from some who saw you “never looked so well nor were in such good spirits”—Naturally!—if a man don't look well and be in good spirits before his marriage what is to be expected after? But I who am not going to be married, I don't “look well” at all, and my spirits, and Neros too are at the lowest. In fact “I am degenerating from a man into a dog, and feel an inclination to bark—bow, wow, wow”! Oh Heavens! if there be one corner in the bad place hotter than another dont I wish Mr Morgan may get it! He is now keeping the house poisonous week after week, because it dont suit his interest to send me more than one painter— It might all have been painted that was to be painted this year two weeks ago, and the smell pretty well gone—instead of having that detestable process drawn out to the time of Mr C's return—besides keeping me back in my efforts to restore order. Certainly if Job had taken the notion of having “his house made habitable” and had Morgan given him for Architect, he would have done as his Wife advised him to do1— It is maddening—quite—this unending muddle, complicated by the probability of Mr C returning to find the house reeking with new paint! and so much still at sixes and sevens! I fled here a week ago to save—if not my soul—at least my body alive! I awoke every morning with a headach at home, and had my old sickness all day long—so in spite of my sad nights among the “small beings” (as Mazzini calls them) in Cheyne Walk I went in quest of a new lodging. Mrs Thorburn was full, but there was a ticket in the window of the next house, and I looked in there and was content with the appearance of things—I have the lower floor both sitting room and bed room—so that I might come here even in the day time when I could not stand the smell at home. I have always gone home to breakfast however, which Fanny has very tidy for me in the kitchen by eight o'clock and I dine there early, returning here to early tea, when I am tired out with working. The amount of work which this upset has cut out for one is quite incredible! Fanny has been my greatest temporal comfort! she is not without a dash of Irish confusion in her but her good humour is unexampled in my experience of Servants. And she is a very fair cook and fair servant of all work. I am infinitely obliged to Dr Thompson2 for having kept her alive. Do you know William Fraser is lying ill—dying it is thought—in the Middlesex Hospital? And his “WIFE” (so called) “gone into the Work-House”—Mrs Fraser whom I dined with yesterday talks of him with more indifference than one would like to talk of a dead cat! She seems excessively vexed that you had not awaited his death to marry her. Mr C seems to be getting very successfully thro his travels, thanks to the patience and helpfulness of Neuberg— He makes in every letter (they are not many) frightful misereres over his sleeping accommodations, but he cannot conceal that he is really pretty well, and gets sleep enough to go on with, more or less pleasantly. I wonder what he would have made of my sleeping accomodations during the last three months? Do you know anything of a Dr Weber. He went with the Ashburtons to Swizerland to take care of Lord A when he was ill, and Lady A talks of him with enthusiasm—nay with tears in her eyes!! And he is “the finest tenor singer in private life”!— He came to see me at Lady A's desire and—saw me!—and he looked down into the bottom of my eyes as if he meant to take my whole soul captive but my soul had something else to do than be so taken—and he has since called five times!! without seeing me. three times I was really out and twice too dirty to be at home—and he is “Physician to the Austrian Embassy and in extensive practice”! Why then come so often to Chelsea— Perhaps he knows I am a friend of Mazzinis—and “all Austrians are born spies” Reichenbach says Yours affly