candlestick

April-December 1844


The Collected Letters, Volume 18


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TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 8 July 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440708-TC-JWC-01; CL 18: 114-116


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE

Chelsea, Monday, 7 [8] july / 1844—

My dear Goody's brisk little Note is here, redolent of all manner of nice things,—with the exception of that sore throat, which I beg her to have a care of, and to subdue by thin diet and recipes. Gambardella's Excursion, with the Cuddies [donkeys] and the thymy picnic is a most dainty affair; for which I thank the savage man. He has, as I say always, the faculties of a first-rate Newfoundland Dog, virtues of the same included, with a decided sense of colour and form super-added. On the other side of the Mersey, and providing Cuddies for my poor Goody he is decidedly agreeable to me. Your poor Uncle—my poor Goody—how the mournfullest tone, from the very depths of Being, chaces us on the flowery surface amid all light sounds, and in no moment leaves us! We are born to die, our little Time is in Eternity; we do need, among our other requisites, a courage like that of gods. Courage, Hope! “Wir heissen euch HOFFEN [We bid you hope]”: it is the voice of all the wise and brave, since this world began.

Well, Deary, but you must try to nestle yourself into those new quarters; and do not “daud yourself abreed [tear yourself to pieces]”1 for any sake. I hope the slamming of the doors is moderate; if it or anything else be not, I counsel a swift retreat. By the by do you know what happens this day week?2 Where are you to be this day week? Tell me that punctually!—

Yesterday I did go to the Barings'; but I got home the same night, which was an immense point. We were a truly sublime party; as many as the table would hold. Lord Howick and Wife,—Earl Grey's son: a thin lame man, turned of forty, looking very weak of body, but earnest, clear affectionate and honest, with good talent too, for the spiritual part; the Lady Howick a pale aquiline dark-eyed beauty bleached white, who did not captivate me or estrange me.3 The immortal old Lady Holland,—really a kind of witch of the (Kensington) Alps; very impressive in her way. She is terribly broken poor old body; has a Doctor the strangest little fellow I have seen, who did not speak one word good or bad, but seemed happy, and perfect in the social gesticulations: besides him she carries with her a page, and an old woman to rub her legs;—these with the natural etceteras almost fill a house of themselves. Buller of course was there, as in his home; Stanley too again, but without his Wife. He and others too tedious to mention. The goose berries were ripe; I had a pocket of cigars, and other smokers to keep company: the day was soft grey without rain, a temperature like silk. The Lady Harriet is the most consummate of Land-ladies,—regardless of expense; Baring himself had radiances of real talent: he is, I do think, a good modest man. The whole matter went off with effect. It is really entertaining to me to be part of such a company now and then; their art in speech, more and more noticeable gradually, is decidedly a thing to be considered valuable, venerable. Real goodbreeding, as the people have it here, is one of the finest things now going in the world. The careful avoidance of all discussion, the swift hopping from topic to topic, does not agree with me; but the graceful skill they do it with is beyond that of minuets!— Among other subjects we came once pretty late in the evening upon Mazzini's Letters. Brougham had been privately telling all people in the Lord's one day, that Mazzini was a scamp after all, that “he once kept a gaminghouse!” so Stanley reported, glad of any stab to Brougham. The old stern Witch of the Alps thereupon asked Lady Harriet, What he really was, this Mazzini? “A revolutionary man, the head of Young Italy,” answered she.— “Oh then, surely they ought to take him up,” rejoined the Witch of the Kensington Alps. Our adroit Hostess hinted, “No, and that she herself knew him.”—“What!” exclaimed the astonished Witch, with wide open eyes; the other persisted with the gentlest touch of light irrefragability,—had actually “asked him to come and see me.” I added, addressing the Witch: “He is a man well worth seeing, and is not at all specially anxious to be seen”— “And did he not keep a gaminghouse?” said she. “He had never the faintest shadow of connexion with that side of human business; the proudest person in this company is not farther above keeping a gaminghouse than Mazzini is!”— “That means Byng” (an absurd old curly-headed Diner-out, whom they call ‘Poodle Byng”), said Buller, looking at the man;4 upon which an explosion of laughter swallowed up my over-emphasis and the whole discussion,—in a highly felicitous manner!

A certain Mr Something (Kane, I think,—really a very civil Official gentleman)5 volunteered to give me half his cab to Piccadilly; Poodle Byng and Stanley in a brougham with two horse[s]6 dashed along, and we followed close,—really a blessed arrangement for me, for the Mr Kane and I smoked in a very social manner all they7 way, and the drive did me great good; so that today I am far less damaged than could have been anticipated. Helen is actually to get me, or has got me, a Fowl, and boil the quarter of her for soup and solid to dinner. I have also ordered a hot swash ‘bath,’ as we call it in the big tub. At the beginning of this paragraph she came to say that said bath was ready: let Goody judge therefore whether I can linger at present. Adieu, adieu!—

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I have had my bath; I have dismissed a begging missionary, unserved: two good acts. But there is nothing on me more effectual than the cobweb black-coat; my safety consists on getting out and half running!

My kind regards to Mrs Paulet to Mr Paulet, and the general “parent.”8 Tell me more minutely who you all are, and how you ac.

Adieu dear Wandering Goody; come safe back to me from all these pilgrimings.

Ever thy own /

T. Carlyle