April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 11 July 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440711-JWC-TC-01; CL 18: 124-126


Thursday morning [11 July 1844]

Dearest had I got your little note yesterday morning it might have put strength in me to write—but tho' addressed to the house,1 it was delivered to Mr Paulet at his office, & I only received it when he came home at night. Thus left to myself I was ashamed to say that I was no better”— I thought no news at all would be more agreeable to you than that— In fact I had slept only from four till five—and had again to keep my bed till midday—but now thanks god I am really recovered— Last night I had an excellent sleep—and was the first down to breakfast this morning—and the aching is all gone out of my head and bones and if I commit no imprudence as certainly I shall be careful not to do—I may consider my cold finished off.

I have nothing to complain of here in the way of noise—the House itself is “of the nature of a drum” I perceive; one of my own sneezes runs thro it from end to end like “a great explosure in the Kent Road”!2 but the people are extremely quiet during the night and late risers—and there are no cocks or cats or external disturbances that I have yet discovered. Mrs Paulet makes an excellent Hostess, (morally speaking)— Her menage is certainly susceptible of great improvements—especially in the article of cookery—but one would prefer living on any sort of victuals, not poisoned in such pleasant company to having the preparations of Uds3 and stupidity therewith. A Mrs Darbyshire whom you saw once at Geraldines came the night before last—to stay while I stayed4— she seems a sensible gentlewoman enough—a unitarian without the Doctrines— But I could not very well comprehend at first why she had been brought—till at last Mrs Paulet gave me to understand that she was there to use up Miss Newton—so that Geraldine and herself and I might have the coast clear to speculate “to all lengths”! “Not” she said “that my Sister is an illiberal person— tho' she believes in Jesus Christ and all that sort of thing, she is quite easy to live with,—! but it will be pleasanter for herself as well as for us that she should have somebody to talk with of her own sort—a catholic or Unitarian—she does not mind which”— After this initiation I can hardly look with gravity on these two shaking their heads into one anothers faces and bum-buming away on “religious topics” as they flatter themselves— Now that I am well again I shall get considerable amusement out of them—as yet I have enjoyed nothing—

Geraldine is under eclipse since yesterday morning—a severe fit of biliousness having not only taken the wit out of her but the good-nature, for a wonder—! to see Geraldine cross is a sight for sore eyes!— The PARENT is gone—and also the gorb [unfledged bird] of a governess whom you saw5—in her room they have got a dumpy, nothing-at-all-little german;—(how ungraceful these german women are!) whom nobody seem to mind, not even the children, any more than if she were made of clouts!—

I meant to have gone back to Maryland Street on Saturday—for to make the removal here a final Coming away proved impossible—my Uncle would have been quite angry and the girls hurt, so I engaged to go back there for a few days—now, I am not going till Monday, having lost so much of the time in bed. You ask where I shall be on my Birthday— My dear in what view do you ask? to send me something?— Now I positively forbid you to send me anything but a letter with your blessing— It is a positive worry for you the buying of things—and what is the chief pleasure of a birthday-present?—simply that it is evidence of ones birthday having been remembered—and now I know already without any bothering present that you have been thinking of it my poor good6 for ever so long before!— So write me a longer letter than usual and leave presents to those whose affection stands more in need of vulgar demonstrations than yours does.

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