April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 21 July 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440721-JWC-TC-01; CL 18: 151-153


Maryland Street!!! Sunday [21 July 1844]

Dearest—on beholding this address your mind, I fancy, will be “troubled not a little”1—for really it will seem to you as if my only remaining virtue—a certain decision of character were going ad plures [to join the dead multitudes]! To have swerved from my programme twice in one week! is it not “most mysterous”?— And yet I am not ashamed of myself—moi!— Nay I rather congratulate myself on the late and sudden revolution of purpose which took place in me yesterday—it was the protest of natural affection against “the finer sensibilities of the heart” which are sometimes strangely like insensibilities— and I have experienced something almost like “virtue's own reward” ever since I made it.

I cannot without entering on a very long story give you even “a birds eye view” of the scene that took place here yesterday—of the excessive annoyance occasioned to my Uncle and to every one else in the house—most of all to myself—by Geraldine's coming here two hours before the time of starting with a whole string of people to carry me off in a sort of triumph, instead of allowing me to meet her quietly at the railway, and be accompanied there by my own family— My Uncle's sorrow at parting with me, showed plainly enough that he as well as myself had great doubts of our ever meeting again—and Babbie had taken to crying in the morning—and gone on with it the whole day—and the other good little souls were all grave and silent—and into the midst of all this came Geraldine all flippancy and fuss—bringing with her Mrs Paulet—Julia Newton and even Mr Paulet to witness the partings—having assured them against their more delicate judgements that she, “who knew me better than they, knew that I would think them cold and heartless if they did not come”! Nay she even began anew shewing off her jealousy—asking me with a sneer “what on earth was the matter with me that I looked so poorly”? and when Jeanie came in with her eyes all swelled—she behaved to her with downright impertinence— To accept the intolerable last hour which she had prepared for me was more than my patience could resign itself to— I took Mrs Paulet out of the room—and begged her to go away and take away Geraldine and the rest—she could understand such a wish—and only regretted that she had given up her own feelings in compliance with Geraldines representations— But when she saw me so vexed she said to me—“you do not wish to go—dont go then—I take it upon myself to make it all right with Geraldine”—the suggestion came irresistably welcome at the moment—I did so hate Geraldine for her unfeeling conduct towards my uncle and Jeanie—and so it was all settled that I should give up Manchester—and stay here till the Tuesday a much more natural place for me to be in—and my Uncle was so pleased and the children all dancing for joy—and the servants laughing when they had to carry up my trunks again—and my Uncle then saw the Paulets and asked them to dinner for tomorrow—a thing he never would be persuaded to do before—and he asked Geraldine too but she persisted in going home without me and I hope she did—that she may send the letter which I am sure is at Machester for me this morning!2— I have been this morning to James Martineaus church but alas he did not preach himself and the substitute was not edifying—however he is coming for me this evening to take me up to his house for an hour—so I settled with his wife at church—

And now I must “down town” again myself with this or it will be too late for the mornings post— I shall be home on Tuesday God willing—but I will write again to morrow to tell the hour— My poor Uncle has been earnestly begging me to write to you that I will stay another month—impossible!

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