April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 26 July 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440726-JWC-JW-01; CL 18: 155-156


Friday [26 July 1844]

My good Child

It is not today that I can answer your most welcome letter as it deserves— I must keep myself very quiet today “morally and physically”— But I will write a few lines just to certify you that I DO love you as well as before—perhaps even better—for I feel more sorry for you than before— Take that consolation, such as it is in the meanwhile, till I have got the cramp fairly out of my stomach—and my head recovered into its normal state. I stood the journey far too well—and was too well the first day—not to have some formidable reaction to apprehend—and so I have been twentyfour hours in bed with headach and a sort of cramp that comes every five minutes or so, and makes me scream out—

Carlyle looked very pleased to have me back at first but he is already relapsed into his usual indifference— Darwin told me that he had seen him just once during my absence—on Sunday last when he found him with Mr Cunningham1 “of whom he seemed dreadfully wearied” that he looked indeed “thoroughly wretched” so wretched— that he (Darwin) found himself wishing I would return immediately before “the poor man died outright for want of having someone to grumble to”! Darwin is going into Kent the end of this week and then to Shrewsbury—he put off his going a week when he heard that I was coming—and yet to have seen him walk in with his nonchalante air, one would have said he could have dispensed with a sight of me till the end of the world. Mazzini came the first morning— I asked him “how he knew?” He shrugged his shoulders and said “the wonder would rather have been if I had not known”— I find him looking better than I expected— He awaits the decision of the secret commuttee2 with supreme indifference— On Lord Brougham's great idea of the “Gaming house”3 he remarked that he wondered so imaginative a character as Brougham had not rather accused him of having “kept a cook-shop of human flesh”! If any attacks are made on his character in their Report he will make a public justification of himself—and the Editor of the Westminster Review has been applying to him for particulars of all the “murders” he has committed and projected that he may have a vindicatory article upon him in his next number.4— There are plenty of honest people now to take up his cause— But all that is as nothing for him compared with the troubles in Italy—the Bandieri are not certainly known to be taken—far less “shot”—all that stuff in the newspapers was unofficial—and he has had no private communications as yet— —but still he has grounds enough to fear the worst5Lady Harriet has been making new advances to him—which for a Tory woman of her distinction connected with the enemy as she is, does infinite “credit to her head and hort”6 He was engaged to her last night and she had brought divers persons in authority to meet him and Carlyle was there OF COURSE. But Mazzini will not be caught by that syren—the insensible man that he is!— He did not come!!!7— It must be strange for the Lady Harriet to have found one man that can resist her fascinations and refuse her invitations— But I must stop Babbie I am doing myself hurt by writing even this sort of babble god bless you my own Babbie— Only beware of Marrying Mr Bensons8 and all will be well some time. But that would be a fatal step if I have any spirit of divination in me! I dislike that man at once and for ever—ask me not why—for I cannot tell you—only he is antipathetical for me— My first look into his eyes satisfied me that he would never make a deserving husband for my own upright—gentle Babbie.

Kiss my uncle for me—alas—that I should need a proxy for so pleasant a duty—and give my kindest love to all the rest

Yours ever affectionately

Jane Carlyle