candlestick

July-December 1858


The Collected Letters, Volume 34


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JWC TO TC ; 16 July 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580716-JWC-TC-01; CL 34: 49-51


JWC TO TC

5 Cheyne Row Friday [16 July 1858]

Surely, Dear, the shortest most unimportant note you can write is worth a bit of paper all to itself! Such a mixed m s, with flaps too, may be a valuable literary curiosity “a hundred years hence”; but is a trial of patience to the Present Reader, who, in eagerly opening a letter from you, had not calculated on having to go thro' a process like seeking the source of the Niger1—in a small way!

For the rest; you dont at all estimate my difficulties in writing a letter every day, when I am expected to tell how I am—and when Is “ashamed to say Is no better.” Dispense me from saying anything whatever about my health—let me write always “Notes”—and it would be easy for me to send you a daily letter— As easy at least as it is to be lively with the callers, who go away in doubt (like George Cook)2 “whether I am the most stoical of women, or whether there is nothing in the world the matter with me”! But you want to be told how I sleep &c &c—and can't you understand, that having said twice, thrice, call it four times; “I am sleeping hardly any. I am very nervous and suffering,” the fifth time that I have the same account to repeat, “horrible is the thought to me!”3 and I take refuge in silence! Wouldnt you do the same? Suppose, instead of putting myself in the Omnibus the other day and, letting myself be carried in unbroken silence to Richmond and back again, I had sat at home writing to you all the thoughts that were in my head! But that I never would have done! not a hundredth part of the thoughts in my head have ever been or ever will be spoken or written—as long as I keep my senses at least.

Only dont you, “the Apostle of Silence”4 find fault with me for putting your doctrine in practice— There are days when I must hold my peace, or—speak things all from the lips outwards—or things, that being of the nature of self lamentation had better never be spoken—

My cold, in the meanwhile? It is still carrying on—till Londsdale coom!5—in the shape of cough and a stuffed head, but it does not hurt me anywhere and I no longer need to keep the house; the weather being warm enough! I ride in an omnibus every day more or less— All last night it thundered; and there was one such clap as I never heard in my life! preceded by a flash that covered my book for a moment with blue light, completely eclipsing the candle light—(I was reading in bed about three in the morning and you cant think what a wild effect that blue light on the book had!) today it is still thundering in the distance and soft large hot drops of rain falling— What of the three tailors?

Yours ever

JWC

Notes

I could swear you never heard of Madame Blaize de Bury!6 But she has heard of you! And if you were in the habit of thanking god “for the blessings made to fly over your head”7 you might offer a modest thanksgiving, for the honour that stunning Lady did you in galloping madly all round Hyde Park in chase of your “brown wide-awake”8 the last day you rode there! No mortal could predict what the result would be if she came up with you! To seize your bridle and look at you till she was satisfied was a trifle to what she was supposed capable of! But you were thought to have escaped her by passing out at the Albert Gate9— She only took to galloping after you, when more legitimate means had failed. She circulates everywhere this mad-cap “French-woman”— She met “the reverend John” (Barlow)10 and said, when he was offering delicate attentions11—“there is just one thing I wish you to do for me—to take me to see Mr Carlyle”—“Tell me to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury12 to dance a polka with you, said Barlow aghast, and I would dare it, tho' I have not the honour of his acquaintance; but take anybody to Mr Carlyle! impossible!”— “That silly old Barlow wont take me to Carlyle” said the Lady to George Cook “you must do it then.”— “Gracious Heavens! said George Cook—Ask me to take you up to the Queen, and introduce you to her, and I would do it, and take the six months imprisonment or whatever punishment was awarded me—but take anybody to Mr Carlyle! impossible!— Soon after this, George Cook met her riding in the Park, and said, “I passed Mr Carlyle a little way on, in his brown wide awake”— The Lady lashed her horse and set off in pursuit, leaving her party out of sight—and went all round the park at full gallop looking out for the wide-awake!— She is an authoress in a small way, this charming French woman, and is the wife of a newspaper editor at Paris,13 who “went into the country (Miss Farrer14 told me) and brought back a flowerpot full of earth and on the strength of that put—de Bury to his name of Monsieur Blaize”— But the absurdest fact about her is that, a “Frenchwoman,” she is the reputed daughter of Lord Brougham and a Mrs Dunbar!!15 It is in Lord Broughams house that she stays here.16 Miss Farrer also declares she was a celebrated Singer at Munich! But Miss Farrer is a very loose talker, and was evidently jealous of the sensation the Lady produced by her wit and eccentricities—

will that suit you?