August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 2 August 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430802-TC-JWC-01; CL 17: 5-6


Liverpool, 2 August, 1843—

My Dearest,

Your Letter was delivered with two thundering knocks while we sat at breakfast this morning. It was well worth delivering, well worth reading! Great work going on at London, “on my honour”! The “Lady Baring” narrative is altogether excellent: “one of those female souls, whom no man escapes,” whose net takes all manner of fish! I am rather curious to see how the Mazzini adventure will develope itself. John Mill and Robespierre and all the rest of him is, as you say, too absurd.

With a sigh of thankfulness, the inverse of the shriek or howl which would have been, I survey the Shuttleworth dinner, rejoicing that I was not there! Ach Gott, I know it all; the horrid shark face of Pedant Lewis, Unfortunate-female A.,1 little Milnes himself congealed, and the whole body of poor human individuals fallen sheer into vacuum. Bishop Cuittikins too—for what we have escaped Lord make us thankful!

I have written Mariotti's Note and Nickisson's; written Stewart Ker's;2 and have still to write a word into Annandale;—and then on the spur of the moment Pauletdom to do! We were to go out at 11 o'clock, and then be driven to Formby: but the day is wet, tho' promising to dry itself now; but the Coadjutor it seems cares no straw about Seabathing or any Formby: wherefore we will take our time. It is already past 11. I feel no call towards Paule[t]dom;3 but shall take a more deliberate view of the Lady Patroness today, since such is my fate. Jack is already here in waiting; and his cigar, alas, will not last forever! A man and brother without any aim is but a sorrowful neighbour anywhere.

We went last night to Chorley, who had all in apple-pie order; cigars, coffee-pots of ample bounds to wind up with; and philosophic speculation in the highest abundance all evening. He is a very good man that Chorley too. “Why is he an unhappy man?” I could wish him a good little wife, of some sort,—for they have all money now, these Chorleys; and a man in that case should have a “wife to keep him unasy.”4 Chorley has very considerable intellect, and a most honourable, timidly fastidious, and truly rather intere[s]ting5 character of mind. He again pressed us to come and stay with him; and failing of me, did get John, who was not unwilling, I suppose, to quit his greasy hostel for good quarters in Chorleydom. There perhaps for a day or two he may be a real acquisition. Chorley and I attended him down to “the Feathers”6 about ten o'clock, and there with a car cut him triumphantly loose, and came all off together. They dropt me in Rodney Street, for I understood Walter MacGregor was here waiting for me. Walter was gone before my arrival: he had left a dinner-invitation for Thursday; this, after deliberation, has been declined,—changed into a dinner for Walter here on that day.

The Annan Steamer sails on Friday at 3 in the morning. The hour is highly inconvenient; but I still have my eye on that conveyance. That is the likeliest still; but you shall hear tomorrow what specially has been decided on. I cannot stand this brashing [rushing about] and daily dining: ought I not to be off?

Go to Ryde, if you see it doable, dear Goody. And so Adieu for this day; and pity me and love me.


The beautiful Income-tax Billet-doux must stand as it is: what remedy? With a murrain on it!