JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 8 June 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430608-JWC-JW-01; CL 16: 192-194
JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH
[8 June 1843]
So! young Lady! You must have been living fast—since you have been so slow to write!— As Harriet Martineau says of me I am “dreadful at drawing inferences”!— You have written at last however—and you will say perhaps it was not your turn—that I owed you a letter— Bah, Debtor-and-creditor-accounts between you and me are a thing not to be spoken of— Had you been in your “normal state” my silence would only have been an additional reason for your writing to me, you would have felt a besoin to know why I did not write— Well!—I did not write because literally I could not— I took into the doing of good works like Mazzini one day—rushed about from two in the forenoon till near eight at night—without having eaten from eight in the morning—verifying a case of extreme misery1—preparatory to exerting myself for its alleviation—and the result—“virtues reward” as usual was a severe attack of rheumatism in the head and shoulders which kept me lying several days on the flat of my back—and which is not entirely removed even now—for I am still obliged to move myself all of a piece—and my head feels as if it had been pounded in a mortar— Mazzini too has been and is very ill—an abscess inside his cheek—headach of several days standing and fever— I am very unquiet about him for in that accursed Tancioni establishment there is no help for a person who is incapacitated from helping himself— He persists too in declining to send for a Dr— But I have written to that Dr Toynbee who has shewn himself so friendly towards him2—stating his melancholy predicament—and urging him to lose no time in going to his assistance— Mazzini will be angry at me for this but no matter—if he be the sooner recovered.
In fact it has been all going ill for the last week—the only consolation a letter from Cavaignac—to Carlyle—but containing some precious words for me— He is not coming—cannot come—has to go to Africa his brother's health making him “inquiete de nouveau” [uneasy again] and being besides “pauvre comme Job” [poor as Job]—but he says “je voudrais bien vous voir; voir madame, bonne et noble àme s'il en fut!”3—and Madame is almost as content as if he had come!— And the letter ends with “Adieu, chère dame, je declare que de vous on peut dire bien! toute mortelle que vous soyez. je me suis dit plus d'une fois, depuis que je [v]ous ai quitée: par le ciel, il n'y a pas sur cette terre trois femmes comme celle-la! adieu tous deux—Madame une lettre!4—now such words from any other man might be mere words—and I should not care rigmaree for them—but from him!— Ah c'est autre chose [Ah that's something else]! he never praises except as it were on compulsion. If it were not for this confounded stiff neck and aching shoulder I would tell you my case of distress, which moved me to such energetic doings ending in sufferings—but it is long—and I should not like to curtail it for the exigence of the occasion so I leave it for a future letter— If you do not hear from me for some days do not fancy me worse—but only that I am working at that—for I must raise a hundred pounds or so for this starving family—who seem to me to have quite as good a claim on the public as many who are getting what is called “Testimonials” to the extent of thousands of pounds.5
Poor dear Maggie! she seems to be as stupid as—myself! give her six kisses from me. if they might but be of any comfort to her! My love to all the rest—also to Walter—pray tell him that I should have written to him ere now but for these “ills that flesh is heir to”6—tell him also that the shag tobacco he sent to Carlyle is the best he ever had— but he has a great many different kinds on hand at present and will not need more for a good while