July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 2 October 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471002-JWC-TC-01; CL 22: 104-106


Saturday 5 Cheyne Row / [2 October 1847]

“ThanKS God”! 1 Dear, I write from home again! I arrived yesterday much in the state I expected, with a racking headach and face-ach, but also with a little “Monarch-of-all-I-survey-feeling,”2 which was compensation “for much”! In my life, I think, I never did so enjoy giving orders, and being waited upon as last night! and being asked What I would like to take and getting it! And thanks to the “considerable mass of poridge” which John inculcated; I had some sleep, and to day I am quite free of headach—and the face-ach is greatly diminished, and I had very nice coffee in bed, and a fire to dress at, and in short I feel in a state of luxury perfectly indescribable!

Your letter last night too was a most agreeable surprise—two letters in one day!—that I was not exacting enough to have ever looked for!

Lady Harriet spoke of writing to you one of these days— On Monday she comes to town, to go to the Grange3 on Tuesday.—perhaps—for “if Charles Buller come from Cornwall on Monday he might like one day at the Cottage before they go”—in which case they would put off going to the Grange till Wednesday— Or perhaps, “if Mr Baring wants two days in London” Lady H would come up with him on Monday and go somewhere (Lord Grey's I think)4 over Tuesday— At all events the Grange after Wednesday seemed her probable address.— Sometime in November she expected to be in town for a week—and after Christmas she wished us to go to Alverstoke— She has got a grey spanish horse, looked up for her by Mr Fleming, and a new riding habit and beaver and is “going to ride quick now.”

The Coachman has made a new epigram about you— He was backing out Mr Baring in trying to persuade her Ladyship to ride the Cangaroo5—“Good gracious,” said Lady H, do none of you remember how it behaved with Mrs Carlyle? She could not ride it!” “Pooh! pooh!” said the old humbug “Mrs Carlyle could have ridden the horse perfectly well, it was not the horse Mrs Carlyle was afraid of what she was afraid of was Mr Carlyle!”

Well—if the coachman dont appreciate you here is “a young heart” that does, “Immortal one!”— The note I send is accompanied by a blood-red volume entitled Criticisms.6 I have looked at the gratitude in the preface— A very grand paragraph indeed about “the magnificent——Trench! and the collossal Carlyle;7 one of whom reminds us of some gigantic river, now winding &c &c; the other of some tremendous being struggling with mighty power &c &c” A very tremendous blockhead does this writer remind us of!

I can tell you next to nothing of Mazzini— After I had been at home a week I sent him simply my visiting card!! which however he immediately replied to in person—but when he arrived I had already fallen ill—was just going to bed in a fainting state, and could merely shake hands with him and bid him go away—he sent to ask for me two or three days after, and a week after he came—one evening when John was here—who kept him all the time talking about Dante—and in an hour I was wearied and sent them away together. That is all I have seen of him—and all he got opportunity to tell me of “our things”8 was that he had been for weeks expecting private information that would take him away at an hours notice—but that now there seemed no prospect of anything immediate taking effect. and on the tenth October he would go to Paris for a month and “into the Valley of Madame Sand”9 I asked if he had meant to put himself at the disposal of the Pope?— “Oh no” he said what he aimed at was “to organize and lead an expedition into Lombardy which would be better than being an individual under the Pope”—in which words seemed to me to lie the whole secret of Mazzinis failed life!10

I send some cigar-lights which I begged from Anthony Sterling before I took to bed—and forgot all about them—you push the small end into the point of the cigar till the thick end is on a level with the leaf and then rub it like a match on the rough of the box— And now I have pretty well tired myself— Kind regards to the others

Ever faithfully /

Yours JWC