The Collected Letters, Volume 13


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 6 July 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410706-JWC-TC-01; CL 13: 169-172


[6 July 1841]

I began to look for a letter on Saturday morning— You had told me it would not be possible till Monday—but no matter for that; I looked for it all the same! Accordingly I found it dreadfully long of coming— But at least it was “all right,”—when it did come. You had emerged alive out of the horrible Steam boat—had prospered at Tynemouth—and had a prospect of some Christian com-fort1 in shape of breakfast!—and on Wednesday god willing I shall hear something definitive—and then make all the haste I can to wind up here: for sitting in meditatione fuge[?] [meditating flight] is a sort of sitting that yields no rest either to body or soul——

Poor Harriet she seems quite enraptu[r]ed with your visit I have a letter from her this morning which I would send;2 only I want to shew it first to Darwin— Had Tynemouth been settled on from the beginning I should have thought it a feasabler scheme by far than a house for a year at Annan—but having entered practically on that arrangement perhaps one should work it out, on the same principle that you finish a manuscript even when it displeases you— How ever it goes; I must see my Mother now, after the positive hopes I have given her—but she could be got at, I suppose, with little difficulty from Tynemouth— Darwin has be[en] sitting over maps of the north country for several days back and tell[s] me that Anann and Tynemouth are “no distance at all”—

Nothing has come for you since you went except the enclosed letter from Jane3—I sent it on to John next day desiring him to forward it but he brought it back when he came to dinner on Sunday— He (John) seems to be again got into some nonsens[e] with Miss Scott4—and talks of leaving if she do not make an apology—of course she will apologize: at all events he will not leave.

Cavaignac walked in very much to my astonishment on Friday evening—he had crossed (he said) that morning5— He had an engagement with Leader6 at eight and his cab waited for him—so I had not very much talk with him He regretted having so nearly missed you (naturally—mumbled odd things about the book7 having reached him and not reached him! and that I must “give him another copy and he would write something on it for the newspaper”— The old man in short, in every respect except that he looks older, more weather-beaten, and less distingué than when he lived in England— John Sterling is said to be coming up on Wednesday— What a pity you have missed them both—

Mazzini has written a long and eloquent article on you which he brought to me to be read the other day before offering it to Kemble8 “as a guarantee he said” for its giving you no offence, for tho he had said the same things to you a hundred times in speech, you might think them less friendly in print—and if I said imprimatur he would feel secure on that head— The first part is the most glowing transcendant praise— Every good quality and every great faculty under Heaven are abundantly allowed but then he says, “our task becomes less pleasant” and he points out your grand want—a vital one vitiating all the good and beautiful rest—very want of the “sentiment collectif [collective feeling]” and then away he goes full sail into progres humanitarianism and “all that sort of thing”—I told him—that I was certain you would care “the least in the world for being publicly taxed with wanting the sentiment collectif that you did not I was sure consider it a thing worth any ones while to have, so long as you were so praised for your profundity your sincerity your sympathy (of the individu [individual]) &c &c—and so the article was to be offered at least I hope they will print it for it is admirable from his point of view— By the way he remarks that Monsieur Carlyle in inculcating the necessi[ty] of retener la langue [holding the tongue] means it only for those who do not hold his views—that the talent of silence in fact however much he may commend it is not his—that such a spirit cannot be compressed into silence, cannot love silence otherwise than “platoniquement comme on peut dire [platonically, as one may say]”9—very good!———

There is another proof sheet lying here which I have revized myself—it needed hardly any correction. the spelling of one word and the effacing of a black shake. We are washing the paint of your room to day for want of being able to get on with any thing else— I have no paper you perceive There is a packet come from Fraser's for you but I am too honest to lay hands on it— Oh such a headach I had the day after you went—the regular old fainting sort—I attributed it to my thrift in having taken your left butter-milk to my supper for I awoke at three so ill and with such a horror not platonic but practical of the idea of butter milk!———God keep you till I come

Ever yours to command /

Jane C.