January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 20 September 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450920-JWC-TC-01; CL 19: 205-206


Saturday [20 September 1845]

My Dear—the enclosed letter from Varnhagen1 came this morning by the Parcel Delivery—pasted inside a book called Geist der Kochkunst [Essentials of the Art of Cooking]. There is also a Kochbuch—as you will see by the letter—and a copy of Friedrich der Grosse—bound—according to ability—not ‘anmuthig [charming]’ to my notions, the least in the world, but duly gilt-lettered H.M.B.2—with Addiscombe underneath—and no doubt the sentiment of the thing will make amends for some small amount of human clumsiness in the execution.

We have fine weather at last that is to say it was fine yesterday and looks as tho it “had made up its mind” to keep dry to day. The people who need “a fine day for a stook” are hardly more in need than I, who have two woolen matrasses in peices! for a Plague of—not bugs thank God—but moths, which if less disgusting is more distructive. It is some consolation to know that “others” are “afflicket with the (same) vermin”—on account of the dampness of the season I am told.

This is the Great Day for Forster and Dickens3—and also for me, whom it will cost eight and sixpence for a fly! As it is specified on the Tickets “evening dress”—and even if I could have gone in a bonnet; I could hardly have made up my mind to hunting after chance-conveyances with John, and after all having to pay my sixpence—or shilling—share of the cost! “Horrible was the idea to me”! so I plucked up a spirit and decided for a fly at my own cost! To complete my felicity Creek who called on Friday evening volunteered himself to be of our party— Darwin, alas, is at Shrewsbury.

I had a long walk yesterday with Elizabeth, who amused me considerably with an account of a Tutor they once had—he was one of Three, and had been “on the point of being thrown out” when the nurse fancied she saw something like life in him—and then they put him into “a large shoe,” by way of cradle—and he grew up into a sort of Domine Sampson4 for the Ferguses— Once when they were talking of Players and their ways,—he remarked to John Fergus, “Oh Mr Fergus! would it not be a wonderful thing if one could see these people behind the Scenes”!!— She told me also, and vouched for the truth of the fact that Ciocci—(the young runaway priest whose book Mrs Rich once lent us)5 who patronized by Lord Ashly and Gerard Mael had set up a protestant school in Liverpool, has received from an old Lady in Liverpool6 a highly practical tribute of admiration for his book—(all lies, or greater part) He met with this old Lady at dinner one day and she told him she had read his book with much interest—another time he met her at dinner and again she complimented him on his book—and then she died—and on her will being opened it was found she had bequeathed to Ciocci three thousand a year and two steam boats! a pity but she had known Mazzini—with three thousand a year he might have paid troops enough to invade Italy in style!—and two steamboats!—such a force would have been irresistable! The family mean to contest the will, but it is thought they will make nothing by it—

You left no shirt at Seaforth—I examined into every drawer and corner before I left. But you did leave something—and I verily believe you have never missed it!— You left lying on the floor Goethe's Pin!7 Catch me lending it to you anymore! since that is all the care you take of it.

John is quite well and to all appearance quite—what shall I say?—resigned to not seeing his way Clearly—there remains only for “others” to be the same—

I have just had a letter from Mrs Paulet enclosing her realization of my Ideal— Voila!8

Ever yours, /

Jane Carlyle