January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 30 June 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430630-JWC-JW-01; CL 16: 222-224


[30 June 1843]

First of all, Dearest, what of Walter Macgregor? He has not dawned on my horizon—so I cannot believe him here—but I should like to know whether he be coming at present— Those pictures begin to torment my conscience—they were finally consigned to me when I was driven from post to pillar betwixt Mudieism and rheumatism— You may think it required no great effort of kindness to get them packed and carry them to the rail-way station (for I absolutely durst not trust them to our monster of a carrier who flings boxes out of his cart on the street as if they were blocks of granite) but I assure you the effort required was under all the circumstances so great as to be well nigh impossible—then when I could have gone, a speculation had arisen of a box to be sent to Alick (my Brother in law at Liverpool) nay Carlyle spoke at one time of making a run to Liverpool himself to bid Alick farewell— And with my usual stupid turn for economy I thought your parcel might as well be sent by that opportunity— But Carlyle was so hunted here with printer's devils that not only the run to Liverpool but the box to Liverpool remained a devout imagination—and just when I had again made up my mind for a journey to Euston Square1 came your intimation that Walter might probably be here within two weeks— If he be still coming, I may as well keep them for him—having kept them so long—but if not I will send them immediately under the care of Providence— I wish Gambardella had packed them himself—I should then have cared less as to their manner of going—

I do wish you were settled one way or other—I know no state which it is so difficult to lead a rational—never to say a contented life under as that state of hanging in the wind— —God knows I have had enough of it in my time but even custom never reconciled me to it the least in the world— Carlyle has finally determined on starting for Wales on Monday or Tuesday— We have just been emptying the portmanteauful of books which you packed2—to replace them with the necessary clothes—so I suppose he is really in earnest this time— He had no idea how long he will stay or whether he will come straight back or go round by—Scotland! or the Moon!— He “hopes that I will go somewhere during his absence”—and then the next minute agrees to the necessity of my staying to take charge of the house until at least I can find some safe person to put into it besides Helen— Then half a minute after asks if I am not going down next week to the Isle of Wight?— —I have an invitation to go to John Sterling there—and of course a most pressing invitation to Troston— But the confounded house—and the scattering in Liverpool confuse my mind beyond all power of scheming even.— When He is fairly out of the way—and the ceilings whitened and the carpets beaten and some painting done—even if I should do it out of my own pin-money—then I will try to “go somewhere”

Meanwhile I shall not be lonely—never fear for that—I have always visitors enough and to spare—when I am single—and when a domestic earthquake is going on there is no leisure for feeling lonely suppose no one came near me— I hope to get the Mudies put into some sort of small line of business in a week or two—thanks chiefly to the active exertions of Geraldine!—and then I must positively wash my hands of them—for they take up far more of my time and thought than is at all reasonable— I believe if I had sat down at once and written a novel in three volumes—and given them the procedes3 it would have been easier work for me than the writing of all the letters I have had to write on their account. and all the talking and walking besides.

My head is aching very badly today—so you must put up with a mere apology for a letter— I have been rather ailing for some days from natural causes, and made worse by the dreadful quantity of human speech I have had to transact with a scotch lady that has been on a two-days visit to me—a Mrs Sterling ci devant Susan Hunter4 (Helen5 will remember her by that name—and her faculty of speech) she is a good warmhearted woman and was very kind to us in Edinr before others had discovered our merits—

Poor Mazzini is again very ill with his cheek—the swelling has ended in an immense tumour outside—which is fearful to look at and think of— I went to see him yesterday the one side of his face looked as sweet and placid as if nothing ailed the other—but the other!—made me absolutely sick—with apprehension chiefly.— I wish I could bring him here and nurse him—he is very illcared for where he is— In fact we are all of us you included in a badish way—love to my Uncle and the rest Tell me particularly how is Maggie?—I know I have forgotten a hundred things but better this than nothing Your own

Jane C