The Collected Letters, Volume 28


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 3 July 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530703-JWC-TC-01; CL 28: 182-183


20 Maryland Street [3 July 1853]

All right, Dear,—no collisions, no nothink of a disastrous nature since I started on my travels. Did you hear what my male fellow passenger said, when I appealed to him about Nero? “I assure you sir, he will lie quite quiet. Will not give you the slightest trouble.”— “I sincerely HOPE he will not”! From that specimen you may fancy how courteous he was likely to be! It was by the strongest protest I succeeded in keeping one fourth of window down— which there being four of us I maintained was my right. He put them both up, the Brute, without asking by your leave—and would have kept them so all the way. Helen was waiting for me, and the instant the door was opened at Liverpool Nero leapt out, tho' he had never stirred at any other stopping— The sense of that Dog!!—nobody asked for his ticket and I rather grudged the 4/- They were all very glad to see me here—especially my dear old Uncle— He is much changed inconceivably changed in fact; but—for the better!—a more beautiful old man I never set eyes on! He looks eighty in age—and so frail that he can hardly get accross the room—but his face is spiritualized into perfect beauty! with his blue silk nightcap, sitting there, you would take him for an old Poet or Divine—never for a man who had passed his Life in business— I look at him with reverence, and think how few grow old like that I do not see him for long at a time; he tries to speak to me, and speaking is extremely difficult for him—but he looks so benevolent on me, so content, so away in another world, while yet here; that the tears rise into my throat when I look at him, and think what good must have lain in him always, that he can look thus under his infirmity now.— Helen seems pretty well in health, but more skeleton like and more misshapen than ever. Geraldine came over to see me yesterday. and is to stay till to morrow— Helen took a bed for her in the street. She is the same, outside and in—she amuses us all with her manchester stories, and her confessions of her strange feelings in seeing her new Sister-in-law in her place— The Sister in law behaves “very much like a Lady” to her as yet;1 but she thinks “her own sinful human nature won't let the thing go on long well”—

I wrote to Mrs John yesterday that I would be with them on Tuesday Helen accompanies me which will make the journey less sad—

I have been quit of my sickness which neither you nor any one knows the constant horror of, ever since I got into motion—and except during last night, I have been free from toothach also. If it continue tonight, I will have the tooth out tomorrow, where the operation can be performed for 5/-

I forgot to say if Griffiths2 be about the house, to bid him fasten the top on the little chesstable under the little cupbord—and to put a screw in the shutterfastenings of my bedroom window. I brought a wedge away with me in the idea my friends might also have rattling windows and it has done me already excellent service. For the rest—“there cocks crow; here also crow cocks!” but I sleep thro them and the carts too—And—thankS God! there are no—“what shall I say?— —bugs—upon my honour!” / Ever affectionately yours JWC