The Collected Letters, Volume 28


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 24 February 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530224-JWC-MR-01; CL 28: 52-53


5 Cheyne Row 24th February [1853]

Dearest Mrs Russell

I have fallen on a plan for recollecting Old Mary's money now. Can you divine it from the date of this?1

We have the finist “storm” here I ever saw in London—it is seldom that snow lies here at all, and in former years when we had any, I was out of condition to see it, being confined to my room!— This time, on the first night of the snow I walked home thro' it from the Theatre, with my bonnet hanging on my back (!) part of the way; one minute taking myself “a slide” and the next lifting a handful of snow to eat it! In fact that almost forgotten scotch-looking snow had made me perfectly drunk! or I should hardly have “tempted Providence” in such a distracted manner. But Providence being proverbially “kind to women, fools and drunk people” I had three claims on it that night, which were duly acknowledged. and I escaped safe and sound from my snow-adventure. A few days after however I did catch cold—not in having my own humour out, but in doing a piece of duty—and I have had to stay in doors—not feeling however that the mischief is likely to last long— Certainly that cold bath the first thing of a morning is a blessed invention! I am sure it is on the strength of that under Heaven that I am so much hardier than I used to be, and less bother to all concerned with me—

A friend of mine who has a great deal of money,2 and a great deal of time, and a great deal of “superfluous activity” has lately provided himself with a photograph apparatus, after having exhausted the resources of a turning machine,3 of building himself an iron house4 to live in, and a yacht to sail in, of adopting three or four children5—and what not— He now kills his time wholesale in a very agreeable manner making photographs of all his acquaintance and of any portraits which he chooses to multiply—He possesses a very like, very sour looking portrait of me, by Lawrence,6 the painter of most genius in London, tho' not having the gift of flattering his pictures he has not all the employment he ought to have. And this Portrait my friend makes at the rate of two copies at least per day for weeks back—every time he comes, he brings me a handful “to give to my friends”! as you belong, I hope, to that category, you will not I hope think me silly in sending you a portrait of myself, when you were not wishing for it the least in the world— It was the thought “Ah how pleasant it would have been to send this to Templand”7 which put it in my head to send it as near as it could still be sent. I have some thoughts of sending Capt Sterling with his apparatus to Scotland to DO all my friends there— — He is quite capable of it!!— I told him the other day that he ought to go to a great House in Cheshire where was an old Spanish picture in which three people that knew me had found a figure “more like me than if I had sat for it” and bring away a photograph of that!8— And he answered with perfect gravity—“Get me the precise address and a line of introduction