JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 15 April 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410415-JWC-TC-01; CL 13: 99-102
JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE
Thursday—2 o clock [15 April 1841]
You will be rather impatient before this reaches you—the fault however is none of mine—at least all that can be imputed to me is having been “with the best intentions always unfortunate”1— Your good friday-letter2 reached me only on Monday—not on Saturday as you expected it would—indeed the post seems to be regularly a day longer of reaching than you suppose— Then as you seemed to be in meditation of flight after Monday, to write after Monday struck me as a superfluous piece of kindness—indeed I had “a duty nearer hand”3 viz to expedite or rather to cut short my earthquake, lest in arriving you should find a regular mess— On Wednesday, I guessed (less from the express words than from the general tone of your letter) you might very possibly be here—and accordingly last night the kettle boiled “successfully” for a great many hours and we were not sure whether we ought to go to bed at the usual hour— I am very glad however to find by your good long letter today (Thursday) that you may still do good a while longer where you are—it will be all the better for you after—and besides, a man like you should decidedly see “how they ack i the various places”4— For myself, I have plenty of work to keep me from wearying—and when I am tired working I read novels, and receive— Moreover I have got a stock of Guiness's Porter5 which is doing me good— I feel considerably stronger within the last two days—I have had plenty of invitations, but decline them all—feeling that nothing could be so useful for me just at present as being “well let alone”6— John came down on Sunday forenoon—and staid till after dinner—more demoralized I think than ever—repeating the same words six times over, and absolutely not hearing any thing one says to him unless it concerns his own personality— He continues to come and go, doing me “neither ill nor good”—for they are always “immer [ever]” at the Burlington7— Richmond misgave, and your letter addressed thither is still to be rescued from the post-office—then they were all for Putney— Putney has also misgiven—and now they speak of Bayswater—but in the mean time are going to Windsor for a few days— “IF he does not write to you to day he will write when he gets to Windsor” (for he was here when your letter came and mended this very bad pen for me) I gave him my bill to get cashed—and he got the money quite readily but “supposes he cannot give it me at present”— Why? “if Jemmy gets the farm I shall need it myself”8— Yesterday I saw more people than any day since you went away—at eleven Mrs Sterling (when I was issuing as black as a sweep out of the Bookcloset) then Contessa Elizabella9—then Mazzini—then Jeffrey (his first visit—decidedly become a little old man, and more frivolous and worldly minded I think than ever)—then Mrs Jeffrey10 who picked him up with the carriage (—younger than ever I saw her, but jerking à fair peur [frighteningly]) then Darwin and Mrs Wedgwood—and finally dear little Julia Smith whom I like better every time I see her— I had breakfast at half after seven and it was half after five before I had time to eat my dinner—and nothing in the middle! I called at Fraser's on Tuesday and found the book for Cavaignac gone thro a safe bookseller— I will write to tell him if I should by chance have a clever interval— Fraser read me your letter to him—declared the Lectures to be doing charmingly and looked his very sweetest— I have seen the Derwent Coleridges—went with Mrs Sterling one day in a fly and had a scene that might have been put down word for word in a comedy— But it is too long for being written—enough, that I despise the man and rather fancy his wife— He is Master of the Normal School11 here and lives in a vast Mansion with eleven acres of shrubbery!— John Sterling's Poem12 has been sent from Murray's—ugly outside; the colour of Keel [red ocher]—the inside I have not looked at—nothing else has come except a letter from the Bolton man13 all about nothing and two library notices— Today I have a prodigiously long letter from Geraldine containing a philosophical desertation on the passion of Love as it differs in Men from Women!! She is far too anatomical for me.14
Mazzini has given me a print of Fosculo15 which we all find tolerably like Darley—Darley himself was here on Sunday and did not protest— Mrs Sterling has sent me Cecil Danby to read and I like it better than the extracts lead me to expect—it would not have discredited Milnes—and yet I am glad he did not write it. My greatest undertaking since dining with the noble Lady16 was to take Helen to the National Gallery one morning— She declared the pictures to be “most handsome!” “most expensive”!17 and especially approved of “a Lady in black with a baby in her lap”—I told her of one; “the subject of that is the Plague of Serpents”—and presently she came running to me from another she had gone to look at and said “There's a beautiful subject! so natural-like!” She is the greatest goose, but so cheery and good a goose!
And now dearest I had better give over—for you see my ideas have no consistency, and my pen is the worst in nature— Besides I must walk a little today for I was not out all yesterday— I am so glad that your venture seems to be answering so well with you—as Mrs Viller's Spanish Lady20 said “dont you be bashful”— Why the devil should you—none of them all can speak like my Thomas21—but”— God keep you and send you sound sleep— Ride all that ever you can—
Your own /