The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 3 October 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501003-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 244-246


Chelsea, 3 Octr, 1850—

Well, my Dear, here you see I am; some seven or eight hours, I suppose, before you knew of my intention: your exclamations of surprise I expect tomorrow morning!—

Mrs Marshall, a good kindhearted soul (tho' privately, a great fool), so soon as she heard of my afflictions in the way of sleep, shifted me into a totally quiet room, where on Tuesday night I had good sleep for six hours, which was a mighty comfort to me; and, with the bright sky (for our weather too had cleared itself), produced a great alteration in me; so that I was privately not indisposed to have staid another day, and still other days, had I been asked: but none asked me,—really I believe I was not wanted, nothing except the name of me which was already got: so the former resolution stood; I had to hire my own private “clatch” from the neighbouring inn; fare off to Windermere (12 miles or so, “James Dear” hospitably attending me so far, and forcing me to talk, whh was small favour); and then, by aid of the Express Train, I was shot off far enough,—and have nothing to do with Marshaldom for some time coming. You shall have my narrative of all that in due season (only be discreet!); in the meanwhile I have done with it, and with the astonishingly admirable lights and shadows, and vallies, and Langdale Pikes,1 and a worship of the Picturesque in all its branches, from all and every of which, for the future, good Lord deliver huz!2 Oh my poor Goody, it is a great blessing to be born a person of sense, were it even with the “temper of a rat-trap”! One must put up with the temper; the other is not to be put up with.— On the whole, tell Mrs Taylor, who will be asking you, that I found Coniston the beautifullest place conceivable,—picturesque to a degree;—that I liked the people too (which is true in a sense);—and that, in fine, here I am, it being there. All this, in a discreet manner, at your peril!3

The Tennysons are lodged in what they call “the Cottage,” a place similar to a Factor's House or Minister's house as I judged; one of the several little Properties whh Marshall has bought as they fell in, “to keep them out of bad hands.” There Alfred lives with his new better half, for the present; does not mean to stay above “a couple of weeks” more: indeed I shd judge it much more charming for the Marshal's than for him: “Sir, we keeps a Poet!”— Softest of soft sowder plus a vacant Cottage and to dinner as often as you like: “magna est PECUNIA et prevalebit.4— — For the rest, Alfred looks really improved, I should say; cheerful in what he talks, and looking forward to a future less “detached” than the past has been. Poor fellow, a good soul, find him where or how situated you may! Mrs. T. also pleased me; the first glance of her is the least favourable. A freckly round-faced woman, rather tallish and without shape, a slight lisp too: something very kleinstädtisch [provincial] and unpromising at the first glance; but she lights up bright glittering blue eyes when you speak to her; has wit, has sense and, were it not that she seems so very delicate in health, “sick without a disorder,” I shd augur really well of Tennyson's adventure.5— Other news if there were other, will keep till we meet. Aubrey de Vere was expected there on Thursday (today): I had a glimpse of him, of Monteagledom, and of Henry-Marshaldom, in a highly romantic Island residence of Keswick Lake, last Sunday (as indeed I think I told you!)—after whh T. Spedding and I rowed to a poor Dr Leitch, frightfully disfigured in face, but rational, hopeful, and overjoyed to see us. On the whole my Lake Excursion was decidedly not worth the trouble it cost. Enough of it.

The ride hither was—Ach Gott! Yet let me admit that it was far within my anticipations; there being room in the carriage, fresh air attainable in it: snatches of food, such as a hungry dog falls in with, were likewise vouchsafed. I noticed Brougham6 in the same vehicle, just behind my compartment; his face grew redder and redder, poor old fellow;—his cab I perceived went cheek by jowl with mine in the Piccadilly regions.

Poor Emma was duly awake, and did get me tea and even bacon to it; all things that she could do were faithfully done: a house clean as a new pin, and quiet, which was far the best feature of it for me. Nero, after an instant or two, manifested a most respectable degree of enthusiasm, to the length even of barking, and leaping very high; whh humour still continues with him. Poor wretch, I was really a little obliged to him. The cat sat reflective, without sign of the smallest emotion more or less;—and poor Emma herself (a very amiable poor little creature, as you described) seemed sad at the thot of being obliged to leave,—which, however, I suppose you find to be wise in respect of her. And the House—O Goody, incomparable Artist Goody! It is really a “series of glad surprises”; and this noble grate upstairs here:—all good and best, my bonny little Artistkin! Really it is clever and wise to a degree: and I admit it is pity you were not here to show it me yourself; but I shall find it all out too. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times! I made no figure at sleeping last night, have accordingly a headache &c; but I shall do better tonight. Write, write

Ever yours


Postie called with modest offers from Mrs P.7—but I shall not need her at all.