The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 15 November 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511115-JWC-JAC-01; CL 26: 231-232


Saturday [15 November 1851]

My dear John

Thanks for your kind attention in sparing me as much as possible all alarm and anxiety—your two welcome notes were followed up by one from Helen last night, representing my Uncle as in the most prosperous state after his long journey— It was not however the immediate consequences that I felt most apprehensive of—and I shall not be quite at ease about him till a few days are well over—every time I myself have gone a long way by express the frightful headach produced in me comes on gradually after—and does not reach its ultimatium till some three or four days—

They all seem very grateful to you for your kind attending to my Uncle—and so am I—and it is a real pleasure to me to hear them speak of you so warmly.

For the rest, if the Devil had not broken loose on me this morning, it was my intention to have written you a long letter—in despite of your preference for short ones— But there are so many things requiring to be done that I must not dawdle over any of them—Mrs Piper wants me at her house at midday, to inspect the arrangements she has made for the reception of Mazzini Saffi and Quadri to whom I have let the three bedrooms and one sitting room1—left empty in the Piper house by the departure of an old Lady and daughter who lived with them (the Mother and sister in fact of L E L),2 and the Piper-economics were in danger of rushing down into “cleanness of teeth”3 in consequence— So as Mazzini applied to me for appartments I brought the two wants to bear on each other to the great contentment of both parties— I have also lent The Piper a bedstead a wash-stand and two extremely bad chairs—and must now go and put a few finishing touches from the hand of Genius to her arrangements and above all order in coals and candles—or the poor men will have a wretched home to come to this cold night:— I have got Saffi Italian lessons—at the Sterling's and Wedgwoods so now to use Mazzini's expression “he is saved”— Carlyle is extremely fond of Saffi—I have not seen him take so much to anyone this long while.

Besides that piece of business there are three answers to sort of business letters that must be written. One requiring my active exertions in the placing of a—Ladys maid! (good gracious what things people do ask of one!) one from Lady Ashburton, who has not taken the slightest notice of me, but “quite the contrary,” ever since I refused her invitation to the Grange on her return from Paris!— This letter also is an invitation—to come on the 1st of December and stay over Christmas—put on the touching footing of requiring my assistance—to help her “in amusing Mamma”— Heaven knows what is to be said from me individually— If I refuse this time also she will quarrel with me out right—that is her way—and as quarrelling with her would involve also quarrelling with Mr C, it is not a thing to be done lightly— I wish I knew what to answer, for the best4

I have also to write to Mrs Macready this day5—for a copy of the Sterling which I lent her to take with her to Sherborne—it is Mr C's only own copy and has pencil corrections on it—and is now wanted for the new edition which Chapman is here at this moment negociating for— None of Mr C's books have sold with such rapidity as this one—if he would write a novel we should become as rich as—Dickens!—“And what should we do than”? “dee and do nocht ava”6——

I dont think it would be any gain to be rich—I should then have to keep more servants—and one is bad enough to manage— Ann however goes on very peacably—except that in these foggy dispiriting mornings she is often dreadfully low about her wrist— I have given her a pair of woolen wristikins—can I do any thing else?— Young Ann I have got to be House Maid with Lady Lytton who has taken a cottage all to herself— Sarah is now out of place, and a burden on her mother—besides the child7— Love to your Mother and the rest yours affectionately


I actually continue to take a cold Bath and walk before breakfast