July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 16 September 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470916-JWC-TC-01; CL 22: 74-76


Thursday [16 September 1847]

Here are three notes for you Dear, and I cannot send them without a few lines from myself tho up to the ears in my curtains.

If I had waited paitently a few hours longer yesterday, I might have spared you a shrewing. Your nice long letter came in the evening, and before that, I had also seen John and been favoured with a reading of your letter to him; I could have found in my heart to box his ears, when I found it had been in his pocket since monday night, and I only told of it then, at three oclock on Wednesday. After my remonstrance was gone to the Postoffice. He did not seem to consider my impatience in the meanwhile “of the slightest consequence”—in fact he is for the moment “a miserable wretch lost in proofsheets”!1— He reminds me of the grey-chicken at Craigenputtoch that went about for six-weeks cackling over its first egg— If everybody held such a racket over his book, as he over this Dante of his; the world would be perfectly uninhabitable! But he comes seldom, and has always to “take the road again” in a few minutes; so I manage to endure the cackling with a certain stoicism—

Nothing has happened to me since yesterday except that in the evening I was startled—almost terrified by—a knock at the door!— It was Fuz!2 I had written to him about G's3 manuscript, and he answered my note in person by return of Post! I had expected “a gentle and free passage of pennies,”4 extending thro' perhaps a fortnight; before a meeting actually came off! He seemed very strong-hearted for the reading—which could not however be commenced last night; for he had to attend the sale of Shakespeares house5—but on Sunday evening “by all that was sacred” we would fall to in earnest, “trusting in God, that on that night he should find me in good voice” Meanwhile “were there any books—any thing on earth I wished”? He would send Henry6 today— He staid only half an hour—very fat!

This morning a still greater terror struck into me—when a carriage stopt at the door while I was sitting at breakfast in my dressing-gown. It was Anthony Sterling on his way from Headly7—he did not offer at coming in—merely sent the servant to ask if I would be at home in the afternoon— I am glad he is coming; for—I will get him to send me his Painter the one who was to bring me an estimate having never returned. I walked up to the Library yesterday to get myself—if possible—something to read— White Owl8 expected to day— Library “too bad for anything”— Officials mortal drunk or worse—overtaken with incureable idiocy! Not a book one could touch without getting oneself made beastly!— I expressed my horror of the scene and was answered “are you aware mam of the death of Mrs Cochran”!

I brought away the last four numbers of Vanity Fair9—and read one of them in bed—duringing10 the night. Very good—indeed—beats Dickens out of the world11

Chambers is now raising brick fabrics—perfectly incomprehensible in their meaning hitherto—in front of his house.12 I told old John13 and the other workmen yesterday that there was no longer a doubt that they had all gone perfectly deranged— John shook his head quite sorrowfully, and said ‘it was only too true’! The young Ladies too, avail themselves of this dead season to practise14 without ceasing—but mercifully one does not hear them very distinctly except on the stairs and in my bedroom—

The National15—Fuz told me had started a very feasable idea about the Duke de Praslins intention in taking the loaded pistol with him—he had ordered the Porter to come half an hour sooner than usual, and straight to his bedroom— He meant to shoot the Porter and make him pass for the Murderer— Fuz was awfully excited on the subject of Luzzi16— Ever yours