January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


JWC TO JEANNIE WELSH ; 19 June 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450619-JWC-JW-01; CL 19: 83-85


Thursday [19 June 1845]

Dearest Babbie

Orson1—alias The Grampus alias Leviathan—alias our rural friend (Carlyle's various names for my unexampled Scotch cousin) departed this morning to do Oxford—from Oxford he goes to Liverpool tomorrow, and home in the Steamer on Saturday night— I was swithering whether to introduce him to you or no—it seemed oodd to let a cousin of mine pass by you unseen—and then again he is such a floundering blockhead! that question was however settled for me by his own modest assurance in plumply asking me for a note of introduction, which I had not the moral courage to refuse So he goes provided with my card and some books for Maryland Street that eternal Camp of Refuge which Helen never could find for my Uncle2 and some erudite little volumes for Sophy3 to enlighten her innocent mind— Do not bother yourself with him “the least in the world”— He will ask what is TO BE SEEN in Liverpool—suggest the Docks and volia tout [that is all]!— By the way I may as well mention that he professes to be “extremely susceptible” “falling in love with almost every goodlooking girl he sees—and in that way being often very much in love with several at one time”— So that if he testifies any sudden raptures towards you or Maggie4 you need not be too much alarmed.

My house in ineffable disorder and my soul—what with one devilry and another, I have not had an hours peace these three weeks—and the night has been about as bad as the day—for this youth goes after sights at nights also and of course I had to sit up for him—the crowning grace of the business has been that all the while he was professing the uttermost weariness of this sight-seeing—was doing it wholly from a sense of duty. that sense of duty is the devil—

I am impatient to hear further of your domesticities I went to a party at the rich Mr Robert Hollands the other night where all was crimson velvet and gold and deadly stupidity5—not a human being that I had ever seen before—till Thackey6 walked in just at the end— To add to my discomfort I had the consciousness all the evening of being partial drunk—and not in the lively stage which would have been useful but in the stupified— Marice7 had come to tea—and made us too late—I dressed in a hurry and was coming down in a hurry to remain with Maurice while Carlyle dressed—I tripped at the top of the stairs and only saved myself by a superhuman effort of will from tumbling headforemost to the bottom—but the effort had shaken my whole nervous system so that I presented myself in the parlour as white as a sheet and Maurice insisted I should take something to keep me from fainting I bade him give me some water then which was on the sideboard but he also found wine in the sideboard and must I think have poured me out half a tumblerful in his agitation—for after drinking I was seized with a dullness almost amounting to lock-jaw—in which condition the Holland-Soirée looked as gahstly as any dance of death— I also breakfasted at Rogers's on Sunday morning where I met Thomas Moore—nobody else worth mentioning— Now it strikes me I have got a fine cold—for I have been shivery for the last twentyfour hours and am all over sore—tho people say it is warm. I will go and take some brandy negus tho it is but twelve o'clock.

God bless you

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Helen has just brought me down John's watch and keys (!) left under his pillow—the great goose!— Ask him if he chooses to risk its being sent by post—and to what address I should be tempted to send it off with this only that neither C nor I can get it to give over ticking and so betraying itself to the covetuous postmans ear— I never saw another watch that could not be stopt