The Collected Letters, Volume 13


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 22 April 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410422-JWC-TC-01; CL 13: 108-110


Thursday [22 April 1841]—

My dear Love—

I am astonished—astonished “to a degree”!— Not at your landing in Annandale—for I had foreboded that, but at your being blown there in such a hurry—as it were out of the mouth of a cannon! I can figure all your journey very well, and do not like to figure it— Poor Good! You were not made for being knocked about amidst the actual and alas! the poetical is not to be got into as often as one might wish— I shall long very much for another letter, to dispel the “dark brown shad,”1 which crept over my soul in the reading of this— I believe your Mother will be less unwell than you think, at all events that the sight of her pet-child will quite set her up again— In the mood you wrote in every thing was sure to look its very worst for you—and at all times you have a tendency to exaggerate your Mother's ailments— Give my kind regards to them all, and do not be “dadding yourself all abreed” with irregular meals &c &c— Take care of yourself in all ways and never mind expense

I have had some headach these two days owing I suppose to the cold easterly wind—otherwise I continue to improve— John who was here yesterday with Mr Ogilvy for a couple of hours professed to see a marked improvement on my appearance—and Ruffini when he called on Tuesday found that I “looked red”— I called for the Cunninghams2 on Tuesday and was received as ever with large extended arms— Each one of them including Miss looked bigger than another—and they all gossiped so horribly!— I had not heard “any thing the least like it”3 for a great while— From them I went to the Marine-Store woman, where I found Mr Dunlop4 and conversation much more refined— I asked her to tea last night, and she came—except for the dash of over-graciosity in her manners—quite natural when one considers the contradiction of her position, I like her very much— She is an only child as well as myself and we made a great deal of good talk from comparing notes about the disadvantages entailed on only children from the beginning— There is come for you to day from Mr Browning something between a poem and Legitimate dramar entitled

“Bells and Pomegranates


No 1 Pippa Passes”


God only knows what such names can mean5—Elizabeth6 was here at the time and we both laid it away as a grande mistero [great mystery]—

John was to go to Hampton Court7 last night—will be back again on Friday— He has been having his character given by a Phrenologist who found him capable of anything but not capable of turning his capability to account!— Mr Oglivy said that HE had been “placed among the middlings” It is impossible to say which of the two looks most insane just now— I never saw such a queer pair!

I hope you have received the letter and valuable enclosure which I sent to Leeds— Wretch to pass thro' Manchester without seeing Geraldine!—to say nothing of the people at Liverpool8— She who would have been so inchanted to form any modified arrangement with you, for the time being, which a man so hostile to grandes passions [grand passions] had seen useful to propose!— It is quite true what Darwin says— “Carlyle does not take to women the least in the world”—“the waur [worse] for himsel”!9— I am ashamed to send you such a scrubby letter—but I do not want to miss a post—and I must write to my Mother today also— I have been so negligent to her of late—indeed I have written none except to yourself my principle being. Mrs Wedgewoods10 at present “to do nothing to day that can be let alone till tomorrow”— It is a fattening one—and I need to [be]11 fattened of all things your own