January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 17 July 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430717-JWC-TC-01; CL 16: 281-284


Monday before posttime [17 July 1843]


Tout va bien [all goes well]1—the work goes well and myself goes well— The early-rising, and the shower-bathing, and the having something to look after agrees with me wonderfully—the degree of heat also is exactly suited to my needs— This and the other person drops in and asks if I do not feel very lonely—it is odd what notions men seem to have of the scantiness of a womans resources—they do not find it anything out of nature that they should be able to exist by themselves— but a woman—must always be born about on somebods shoulders and dandled and chirped to or it is supposed she will fall into the blackest melancholy. When I answered that question from Arthur Helps yesterday in the negative— “Why should I feel lonely?—I have plenty to do—and can see human beings whenever I choose to look out at the window”—he looked at me as if I had uttered some magnanimity worthy to have place in a Legitimate drama and said “Well—really— you are a model of a wife!”—Again that young man yesterday!2 He said that “as he was passing to—I dont remember where—he thought he might as well look in”— —decidedly that young man is in love with me—and quite hopelessly I am afraid!— When people tell one they were passing at any rate; it means always that they are ashamed of coming and could not help themselves—moreover he begins to grow stupid and to look on the carpet— Poor little soul, I dare say he finds an infinite charm in the perfect opposite of his own little beauty at home!3— Darwin also called yesterday he had been absent all the week—first at Mrs Marsh's4 and then “lounging about all the great mourning shops in London” equipping the Wedgwoods with mournings for Mr Wedgwood's father!5— Good God—how some people take these things!— The wedgwoods were to have gone to Mair the beginning of the week— “Oh what a pity I said that they had not gone the week before—that they might have been in time to see their Father”— “Why no, said he it was much better as it is—for it is much more convenient for them being all here to get their mournings before going—there are such a quantity needed so many children—servants and all that—they are quite spending their life in Jay's in Regent Street!6—” It made me quite sick to hear of a Father gone out of the world and no other care felt about the matter exept that of getting mournings— Darwin was very much out of humour yesterday about Harriet Martineau! and applied to me for approbation and comfort under “a rather brutal thing” which Wedgwood and he had felt it their duty to do to her— Did I tell you before— She wrote to them last week desiring that from the thirteen hundred pounds collected there should be first and foremost bought £100 worth of—plate!!! She had Cox the great Jewllers list sent to her by Mrs Reid7 and had marked off various articles silver tea-pot &c £45! &c &c Darwin “thought at first she must be gone mad”—then he fancied she wished, in spending the rest of the money, to preserve this much of it in shape of a testimonial!—then that she wished to leave it in a legacy to her Brother James!8— Any how, after some days deliberation Mr Wedgwood and he who were required to do this thing in their official capacity—wrote to Mrs Reid that they, in their official capacity peremptorily declined it—if Miss Martineau chose to buy a hundred pounds worth of plate she must do it herself after she entered on possession of the money—as they had expressly stated the money not plate was to be given to her— Certainly Harriet is going all to nonsense with her vanities—now she will probably be quite angry at these men who have done so much for her—because they refuse to comply with her whim9

After post

Here is your letter dearest—and all is well—only that I do not comprehend how you should have failed of getting mine of the 14th— I wrote on Friday—took it to the post office myself and paid twopence for it— there was a note from Miss Wilson along with my letter and a letter from Jeannie & Betty— —I think it was the same day I sent the “three ugly newspapers”—which makes the delay of my letter the more mystairous10— But you will have got it by this time surely— I would not for any thing have missed a post—in sending you a kiss for the dear little band— I wrote five minutes after receiving it—

The hamper of Maidera arrived from Liverpool that night11—and I was feeling so dreary that night in spite of all your and so many other peoples kindness to me and in spite of all that I could repeat to myself, that it was distraction to regret that I could not pass to the end of existence as an indulged fêted only child—that I felt almost tempted to break into the hamper and lose all sense of the actual in the unknown pleasures of being dead-drunk—but of course I did not do it—

— I called for Miss Wilson that she might not think you impolite—which was a real great action on my part—she was mighty civil— Forster came on Saturday forenoon with “great Gods”12 enough to blow up a steam vessel—he gave me a check for fifty pounds which I have not left on the floor of the china-closet13— His dinner invitation I gracefully but peremptorily declined— I have a long history to tell you of the wretched Mudies—plenty of long histories to tell you but they will keep—and today I have no more time Tell me if you have got the other letter I am sure I addressed it right— Ever your affectionate


Please give my compliments to Thirlwall