July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 24 September 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470924-JWC-TC-01; CL 22: 87-89


Friday [24 September 1847]

You can't be said Dear, to have wasted many letters on me in this absence! But if you “feel a stop” (quakerly speaking) best to let it have way; no good comes of forcing Nature, in the matter of writing or any other matter.

Meanwhile I go on mending. I had more sleep last night, and feel strong enough today to meditate a short turn in the open air. When John comes I shall propose it to him. I am not to go to Addiscombe tomorrow— Last night, at ten oclock, I was just going to bed—very tired—John and Mazzini having sat talking Dante beside me, till I had to be struck with a sudden thought that M. would miss the Hoxton1 Omnibus unless John saw him off instantly. When Anne came to announce the importune fact of Mr Fleming! “Well I said send him away, I cannot receive him at this time of night.” But he would not be sent away “he had come charged with a message from Lady Harriet (!) and if I would just see him for five minutes”— The other time he called was with Mr Baring—changed times for little Mrs Harris!2 The message was, that Lady H was coming up on Saturday to dine at Holland House3 on Sunday, and so, that she could not send for me on Saturday according to programme; but would take me down with her on monday— This she had told him (Fleming) when he was “seeing her off”— And he would tell her my answer “when he dined with her at Holland House”— “How very odd I said that you should be acting as Lady H's Ariel”!4 “Oh not at all now!— We are excellent friends now—since we staid together at Sir W. Molesworths5—and there is nothing I would not do for her!! she is the dearest, playfullest, wittiest creature! I love her beyond everything.”— “Very absurd!”— If I can get off from going now, without discourtesy I will—for to stay over Tuesday is not worth the fag of going and coming—besides my painting will terminate I expect on Saturday night. And there is yet another thing that takes away my ardour for going— Fleming gravely accused me of having brought on this illness as I did so many others by my “unheard of imprudence”— “Lady Harriet assures me that nothing was ever like your indiscretion in diet!—and that all these attacks proceed from that cause”! Now I require to have every furtherance given to any faculty that may lie in me for eating and drinking at present—instead of living and eating in the fear of being thought and published a glutton6— The quantity of wine that John prescribes for me might also obtain me the reputation of a drunkard!—and I believe it quite necessary when for days together one's pulse “could not be counted” Fleming's ‘five minutes’ prolonged themselves to half an hour—and then I was obliged to tell him that I could sit up no longer—and he went away in his little thunder and lightening embroidered shirt and his little new curled wig, lisping out “I shall tell Lady Harriet that I found you in a temperature sufficient to produce a bilious fever—” It was all I could do to keep from summoning all my remaining strength together and “doubling him up”7—prating in that fashion to me who had just come thro such a week of suffering!

Never mind. Chambers's old John comes to ask after me—the first thing every morning—and he keeps all the pianos down and my maid nurses me with an alacrity and kindness that could not be bought with money—and the more I eat the better you are always pleased

Kind regards to them all— I hope your Mother dont say every half hour I wonder how Jane is?

John has been excessively worried with Dr Campbell's affair he made a will appointing John his Trustee and the Childs Guardian— I advised him at once to decline acting as he was going to be involved in nobody knew what complications— He has declined—but feels very vexed about it

Yours ever /