January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


JWC TO WALTER MANTELL ; 9 October 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18591009-JWC-WMAN-01; CL 35: 232


5 Cheyne Row Chelsea Sunday [9 October 1859]

Dear Mr Mantell

I see by The Examiner that, within the last week, a Locomotive did actually burst on the Brighton and Lewes line, and kill one man!1 Now, that is as near an approximation to the truth, I think, as is to be found in nine out of ten stories one hears and repeats. But if you still feel yourself convicted and needing “forgiveness”;2 I am quite willing—so that you—“Come and take it”—Old Greek”3 again!

When your note was brought in, I was in the act of telling Miss Pardoe, authoress of The City of the Sultan4 (good god!)—a woman who makes calls with a head bobbing all over with waterlillies! and who is just the person for spreading news with moral and sentimental Comentaries—was just in the act of telling her the shocking catastrophe at London Bridge!5—and Politeness of course exacted that I should not read your note till the Waterlillies had sailed out in a high state of excitement!—

I wonder if you are only saying you will come; to avoid a leave-taking?6 Men are so cowardly in giving themselves pain—and there is always a certain pain in saying a long farewell even to persons indifferent to one—

Geraldine could doubtless tell you why—I can't, being like the old Edinr Lady, “no Philosopher but just a plain human Cretur”!7 I only know it is a fact.

Yours truly / Jane Welsh Carlyle8