The Collected Letters, Volume 28


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 31 July 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530731-JWC-TC-01; CL 28: 237-238


Maryland Street / Sunday [31 July 1853]

I was sure of it! that you knew nothing about the cab-strike when you wrote on Thursday! Here, it has been the main topic of conversation—since Wednesday; news about it coming daily by electric telegraph—“There is great social freedom in Chelsea”!— I intended writing today whether I got another letter or no—to tell, under these rather exquisite circumstances the train I should arrive by—that I might not be thrown out with my trunks “sang froid to Charity”— The Times of Friday gave it as its belief that the whole thing would terminate yesterday; but the Times not being infallible, it would be safest I thought, that your eyes should be opened to the great fact you were unconsciously living in—and precautions taken against all contingencies— If you find tomorrow that the Cabs are at work again you need not mind bringing a Fly—if the strike continue the Fly will be very welcome—at the same time it is possible that Fly-keepers may be making hay while the Sun shines and exacting an extortionful price for their Flies— In that case just come yourself and help me with the luggage (I don't mean in carrying it) and I can walk. But I hope the cabs will be all a-going again— In any case I shall lookout for the brown wide a wake and remain by my baggage till it come to the rescue. I have been this morning to James Martineaus Church1—close by here—and heard not James Martineau but a perfect blockhead2 whom I could hardly help ordering to sit down and hold his peace.— all about “virtue” being its “own reward”—“with the same relish!”3—“not only God” he said but (what he seemed to consider infinitely more important) “all people were merciful towards the merciful man.” As if it were not plain to me and to everybody of common sense that the merciful men gets himself made into mince-meat by “all people”—and serve him right, for being such a spooney as to expect any good to himself or “others” out of following the profession of mercy at this time of day!

There never was such a stock of pens as this house presents unless at Chatham Street—

Mercy! I had as near as possible forgotten the one thing that needed to be said—

I intend to leave by the eleven o'clock train which reaches Euston Square at 7 of the evening Nero bids me say not to feel hurt should he shew little joy at seeing you, as his digestion is all deranged since he has been here with the constant crumbs of “suet plums” that fall to his share— When I came in from Church today, tho' it had been the first hour he had been separated from me since we left home together, he could hardly raise a jump

Have some tea for me—nothing else—I shall eat at Birmingham

Ever your