August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 1 August 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430801-TC-JWC-01; CL 17: 3-5


Maryland Street, Liverpool 1 August (Tuesday), 1843—


I hope you got the little Note of yesterday; I had a good run with it down to the Post-Office, and got thither two minutes, as I understood, within the time.

In the evening we went, that is, Jack and I, to tea with the Chorley's. Great explosion of welcome &c; the two women were to be off to Tremadoc in Wales early this morning; the eldest son,1 who is the cleverest of all the Chorleys (and really a superior man) was then to be left alone in a wide house; he earnestly entreated our “putting up” in his establishment; an invitation with which I should not wonder if John, to whom also failing me it was specially addressed, should yet comply. He (John) once “saved the life” of a Cousin of the Chorleys &c &c.2 He is ill lodged at “the Feathers Hôtel,” a nasty place full of grease and bagmen; and Chorley will rejoice in any kind of company that even seems to be intelligent. We are to dine there today, “at five o'clock,”—almost so soon as I have done this writing.

Jack's situation at present gives me real distress. He is without plan, even for the passing day. Who can be other than unhappy in such circumstances? I have long ceased advising the man; but if by any method of speech or silence I could forward him towards a deliverance from that most despicable and most painful of situations, right gladly would I. Last night the Chorley women and he got into a cross-fire of talk, the Chorley man talking to me simultaneously and expecting me to talk, at the same small table,—a thing, as you know too well, which I cannot do! For relief out of what was growing real martyrdom, I had to rise and propose an adjournment.

Yesterday the Paulet and Geraldine were here, “to appoint a day,” Jeannie having written to them that we were coming. Nobody saw them. Today they came again, before 12 o'clock,—while Baby was still making breakfast for me; for I had two “treacle sleeps” last night, and the second of them did not end till 11 a.m., the good Baby respecting rigorously my somnolent privileges! To the Paulets I reported myself “unwell”; and it was all settled in my absence: Tomorrow we are to go out in all the stateliness of an omnibus at noon, then to be received into the Paulet carriage, and rolled on to Formby, where I will look into the Lodgings, if any; then to dinner at five o'clock,—John Martineau was proposed but not accepted:3 finally home, as I hope, early, and the affair well ended. Another bathing-place called Hoylake (I think)4 is proposed to us: this also, on Thursday, I may have perhaps an opportunity of looking at. Goody's views as to the matter will probably be here before that; and then it will all be before me, and I shall retire over to Annandale to meditate it a little. I at present think of going to Annandale by the first Steamer; this, I find, sails at 3 in the morning of Friday; which means as late on Thursday as we like, and one night of the “destruction of Babylon”5 on board the thing itself. I will and must take the first, unless I grow a little less bilious: I am yellow as saffron, with really a great supply of bile,—and on the whole in pressing need of being well let alone! After all, however, I have the assurance that there will be, that there already is, a kind of benefit in it for me.6

Today little Mary and Mrs Martin's Daughter went off to Helensburgh;7 indeed their Steamer is hardly yet out of the River, I suppose. Little Baby has still to stay for some week or ten days; her paintings, joinerings, and new maid-servantings and what not, being still in an incomplete state. The good little Baby; she is a real consolation to one here.

I have written to the Chapman & Hall people, with an “inscription” and a plan for the Varnhagen Book such as you suggest; I also despatch a chivalrous Note of intimation and regret to von Willisen the Major General who is “plumb and more.” I wish really I had seen him. Pray tell me the title of the “little Book” the other German brough[t]. 8

You do not mention what the fate of Mazzini and Lady Harriet was: I am somewhat curious to know! John Mill has there ventured on a stroke of engineering, which I durst hardly have imitated. However, I hope they did not leave one another “cold”? Voyons [Let us see].

Dear Goody, what more can I say to thee, bilious wayworn as I am, and the paper just ending? That thou art a brave little dame after all; whom I would not part with for five pounds and more,—in fact that I love thee very considerably indeed. And so Gott befohlen [God guide you] I send thee kisses and blessings.

T. Carlyle