The Collected Letters, Volume 28


JWC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 7 September 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530907-JWC-JAC-01; CL 28: 261-262


Cheyne Row / Wednesday [7? September 1853]

Thanks dear John for your news of my people and of my old home 1 —god bless it! If I had known beforehand, I would have begged you to call at Sunnybank where the two old Ladies2 would have been delighted to see anybody coming from me—

I had a letter from Maggie3 since you and your wife were there, but she did not say anything of Helen beyond sending her love—so I was shocked to find there must be an operation after all. I had fancied that had been set aside once for all as not required by the nature of her complaint. Poor soul! I have long despaired of any recovery for her but I had got to think this sort of thing might last without worsening for many years—

Here we are again in a crisis of discomfort, as you know. for the last week however Irish labourers have ceased to tumble down thro the up-stairs ceilings, bringing cartloads of dust and broken laths and plaster along with them—five times this accident occurred!!—the last time within a yard of my head as I was stooping over a drawer—had he dislocated my neck as might so easily have happened one of us would have been provided with “a silent appartment” enough, without further botheration. It is a fine time for John Chorley who has constituted himself the overruling Providence of the whole thing and is to be seen running up and down the long ladder in front of the house the first thing of a morning when one looks abroad— How with his head he dare—surprises me. Meanwhile neither Mr C nor I have set eyes on the silent appartment which is progressing so noisily over head. for the rest the Cocks are kept in the house by the Washerman till about nine in the morning and our sufferings thro them are rather of an imaginative sort— London is as empty as I ever saw it—one was thankful almost for the return of Plattnauer— He made the most particular inquiries after you and the Lady—is less mad considerably than last year—in fact shows no mad symptoms at present but spending money with a rashness!

I hear often from Count Reichenbach, he has bought a large farm within 15 miles of Philadelphia—and asks me questions about draining and “engines for making drain-tiles” but he looks forward I think with secret desire to a war in which he may take part and get himself handsomely killed, rather than drain land in America—

Mazzini is in hopes of kicking up another shine almost immedialy He told me when I last saw him he might go off again within ten days—I am out of all patience at his reckless folly—if one did not hear every day of new arrests and executions one might let him scheme and talk hoping it might all end in smoke—but it ends in blood—and that is horrible—1300 arrests in the Papal states within a week!4

I am glad to hear of the harp playing it will be a pleasure as well as an amusement. Pray remember me to the artist—

ever affly / Yours /