The Collected Letters, Volume 28


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 31 March 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530331-JWC-TC-01; CL 28: 93-94


Cheyne Row / Thursday [31 March 1853]

Several letters for you; but nothing to tell—except that we have had a—what shall I say?—second fright with the cat! He or she (whichever be its honour-worthy sex) disappeared this time for a whole day and night together, and having gone away over the garden wall returned by the front area! A clever cat, this one, evidently, but of an unsettled turn of mind.

The weather is beautiful now—the wind in the East I fancy from the roughness of my general skin; but the sun cannot be shining more brightly even at the Grange. Sir J Stephen and his inseparable long son left a card yesterday—I saw them from the top of the street and slackened my steps, till they were clear off— “The fat Boy” also made an ineffectual call one day; surely in a moment of “too much elth”!1 I was in the house, but “engaged”—reading the last pages of Jeanne de Vaudreuil, which, if Lady A felt down to reading a pretty religious book, you may safely recommend to her—it is worth a dozen Preciosas.2

When I was paying a bill at Wain's3 on Monday, he asked with an attempted solemnity “had I heard the news?” “No—I had heard nothing; what was it?”—“The Queen?”4—“Well?”—“Premature labour!”— “Well! what of that?”— “but—accompanied with death!!”—“the child you mean?” No The queen! very distressing isn't it Mam— So young a woman? is there anything I can have the pleasure of sending you today?”— I hardly believed the thing—and by going a little further satisfied myself it was “a false report” but was not that way of looking at it; “so young a WOMAN,” noteworthy?—Mr Wain being a model of respectable shop keepers. What a difference since the time of the Princess Charlotte.5

Tell Lady A that I think there is no great harm in Oranges in the forenoon—the rubbish at desert is what you need to be withheld from.

I should be glad if you would ask for a bouquet for me when you are coming away— Ever yours J W C