The Collected Letters, Volume 25


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 24 April 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500424-JWC-MR-01; CL 25: 70-71


5 Cheyne Row / Wednesday [ca. 24 April 1850]

Dearest Mrs Russell

I am sure old Marys money must be done now! When you told me what remained of it; I calculated how long it would hold out, and then—forgot all about it! as I do about every thing connected with arithmetical computation—You will hardly believe it of me but it is a positive truth, between ourselves, that I never could say the multiplication table in my life—at least never for a whole day together—I learnt it every morning for a while and had forgot it every night!1 Nay I cannot for the life of me recollect the numbers of my friends houses! find them only by the eye! One day I went to dine at a house which my eye had not got familiar with—and found when I had arrived in the quarter, that I had not only forgotten the number of the house but the name of the street!! I spent a whole hour in seeking it and only found it out at last thro' interposition of providence in the shape of a Scotch footman who had made himself acquainted with the names of his neighbours—a good scotch fashion entirely abstained from here— You may fancy the vinegar-looks of the Lady of the House and the visitors whom I had kept from their dinner one mortal hour! I made a most unsuccessful visit of it and of course these people never asked me again!

We have the strangest weather here that ever was seen and even I, who suffer so severely from frost, begin to feel sick of this unnatural mildness. For the last two or three weeks I have felt as languid as “a serpent trying to stand on its tail” (to use the figure of an Irish friend of ours2 in speaking of his sufferings from the heat of Munich.) If I were within reach of Dr Russell I would give my volition entirely up to him, to be done what he liked to for six weeks—the longest trial I could ever bring myself to make of a Doctors prescriptions— But I have no faith in the medical people here—not one of them seems honest to begin with—to get patients and to humour them when got, seems much more the object of these people than to cure their ailments—in fact what can they know about any ailments, allowing only some three minutes to the most complicated cases! And so I leave my case to nature—and nature seems to want either the will or the power to remedy it— This is a bright day however—not sloppy as so many preceeding ones—and I must go out for a long walk—and get rid if not of my biliousness at least of my blue devils—and so god bless you— kind regards to your father3 and husband—

Ever yours affectionately

J Carlyle

Not to plague you with writing unless you are in the humour—if you will address the next newspaper in your own hand I shall understand the money-order has gone safe