July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


JANE WELSH CARLYLE'S JOURNAL, October 1855–July 1856 ; 2002; DOI: 10.1215/ed-30-jane-welsh-carlyle-journal; CL 30: firstpage-30-195-lastpage-30-262

JANE WELSH CARLYLE'S JOURNAL, October 1855–July 1856

JWC's Journal, 1855–56. MS: 21 Oct. 1855–14 April 1856: privately owned (MS A); 15 April–5 July 1856: NLS 533 (MS B). Pbd: Froude, LM 2:254–73 inc; A. Carlyle, NLM 2:87–109 inc. Both Froude and A. Carlyle have omissions and replace some proper names with dashes. Froude used MS A for his “Extracts from Mrs. Carlyle's Journal,” LM 2:254–73, ending with a few extracts from MS B, and introducing them with his explanation of JWC's jealousy of Lady Harriet. MS B was selectively published by A. Carlyle, NLM 2:87–109. TC notes his belief, 3 July 1866, that none of JWC's diaries survived unburnt except “a bit of a Private Diary” for 1856 (Carlyle, Reminiscences 157). A. Carlyle also notes that when TC was writing his reminiscences of JWC, July 1866, the first part of the Journal (MS A) had not been found; evidently it came to light soon after.

MS A is a black, hard-backed notebook, 4½ × 7 ins. (11 × 18 cm.) with 138 faintly lined, unnumbered pages. A small piece of paper is attached to the front of the book on which TC has written “Diary of Hers, / 21 Octr 1855–2 April 1856.” The first lined page is the reverse of the front endpaper and is blank. The next page has been cut out. All the rest of the pages have been written on, including the endpaper (recto). A letter from Jewsbury to Froude, 22 Nov. 1876 (see 263) has been attached to the inside front cover. Several other letters have been glued into the notebook, probably by JWC, including two from James Baillie, the first of which JWC says she is putting in the Journal (see JWC's Journal, 28 March). These letters are given below in footnotes at the point where they are attached to the MS. At the back of the notebook there are two notes; on the left endpaper: “Part of this journal was taken out by Carlyle and placed in his own Memoir of Her the transcript is here so that nothing is wanting”; on the right endpaper: “Note in pencil on the opposite p. is by J. A. Froude. / A. C.” Froude is mistaken; no pages have been taken from the end of MS A.

A soft leather-bound notebook, 4 × 6 ins. (10 × 16 cm.), covered with brown paper (NLS: MS 532), is contained in a box with MS B. On its front cover A. Carlyle has written “The Jewsbury Notebook / ‘Mythic Jottings’ / & / T.C's Commentary.” The first 126 pages contain Jewsbury's stories from JWC; she heads them “In Memoriam / J.W.C. / ob: Aprl 21–1866” (pbd: Carlyle, Reminiscences 41–66). Immediately after Jewsbury's narratives (ending “Chelsea May 20–1866 / G.E.J.”), TC writes a letter to Jewsbury, 22 May 1866 (see Carlyle, Reminiscences 66), then, on 128, he begins his reminiscences of JWC with “25 May 1866. Geraldine returns me this little Book of Myths.” He fills the rest of the notebook (to page 142).

MS B is now bound into a flexible white notebook, 5 × 7½ × ¾ ins. (12 × 19 × 2 cm.) with leather ties. The first page (recto) has a piece of card taped on with a note: “Mrs. Carlyle's Notebook (and the first half of her Journal)” (in an unidentified hand); “VOL II. (Notes &c on the mythic jottings, contind ((ended, and tied up (28 july 1866)” (TC's note on a separate, attached fragment). Overleaf (verso) JWC has written “Vol 2d”; this is crossed out and, in TC's hand, is added: “(Her poor Notebook at one time; contained nothing but some leaves from 1856; whh I have shifted to a place farther on (approximately their place in time;—and do now, as sequel to Geraldine's mythic jottings and my critms on them, again mark in such altered circs, as, what it was originally called, / ‘Vol. 2’.” Below is a pencil note: “Imperfect. The first part of the original was not sent to me / JAF” (meaning unclear). TC's reminiscences continue from 1–146. MS B is then sewn in at the end of TC's entry for 3 July 1866. A. Carlyle notes: “Carlyle removed the covers from this Note-book, ‘No. 2,’ and introduced the leaves bodily, at their proper date, into the larger Note-book in which he was writing the ‘Jane Welsh Carlyle,’ his intention evidently being that this part of his Wife's Journal should be read along with his own narrative” (NLM 2:87). At the top of the first page of MS B, TC writes: “— — — mournful to me while I live—(end of page, whh this is to follow / July 6 1866[)]”; this is a repetition of the last line of TC's reminiscences, dated 3 July (Carlyle, Reminiscences 158), making clear where he wants the Journal inserted. It was presumably sewn in later; the pages of TC's reminiscences of JWC in this notebook were numbered continuously from 1 to 198 by Mary Aitken Carlyle, while the inserted pages of JWC's Journal (MS B) were numbered in pencil 147* to 206*, presumably by A. Carlyle. Any pages missing (see below) were cut out before MS B was numbered.

Two further, unnumbered leaves in TC's hand (24 July 1866, 28 July 1866) and one leaf in Jewsbury's hand [late May 1866] are attached to the white notebook (Carlyle, Reminiscences 196–99). The last page is blank except for a small note by TC, “Insertion II. (put in, july 25).”

There are other items stored in the box with the notebooks, including a small piece of blue paper with what look like some of TC's jottings on Frederick; on the back is written, in an unknown hand, “attached to p. 72 Mrs Carlyle's notebook,” and two loose leaves, numbered 1 and 5, on the back of which TC has written notes; on 1: “rudimts of PREFACE”; on 5: (rudiments of PREFACE) / (Novr 1868)” and, in another hand: “Found loose in this notebook / HWM.” For the rudimentary preface; see Carlyle, Reminiscences 40–41.

Footnotes below indicate where passages have been cut or pages removed from the original MSS.



21st of October 1855

Neither my birthday nor newyear's-day this; anniversaries on which I “feel it my duty,” usually, to bloom out into the best intentions, beginning and ending always with the intention to resume my old journal.1 But if “carried out” to the extent of a few pages, it has “gone,” even that smallest of good intentions, “to the greater number,”2 before a week was out! Decidedly I am no longer the little girl who used to say over her most difficult tasks, “I'll gar myself do it”!3The mother of Invention has garred me do so much against the grain,4 that I am too fatigued now to gar myself do anything I can get let alone— And after all; one may keep a journal very minutely and regularly and still be a great fool!—all the greater perhaps for this very labour of selfconsciousness which is so apt to degenerate into a dishonest striving “to “make a silk purse out of a sows ear”—for posthumous admiration or sympathy—from one's Executors; or even for present self-complacent mistification of oneself! I remember Charles Buller saying of the Duchess de Praslin's murder;5 “what could a poor fellow do with a wife who kept a journal, but murder her?” There was a certain truth hidden in this light remark. Your Journal “all about feelings”6 aggravates whatever is factitious and morbid in you; that I have made experience of; and now the only sort of journal I would keep should have to do with what Mr Carlyle calls “the fact of things”— It is very bleak and barren this “fact of things” as I now see it—very! And what good is to result from writing of it in a paper-book is more than I can tell. But I have taken a notion ‘TO’; and perhaps I shall blacken more paper this time, when7 I begin “quite promiscuously,” without any moral end in view but just, as the Scotch Professor drank whiskey “because I like it, and because it's cheap.”8

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Bath House, London (1942)

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22d I was cut short in my Introduction last night by Mr C's return from Bath House.9 That eternal Bath House! I wonder how many thousand miles Mr C has walked between there and here, put it all together? setting up always another mile-stone, and another, betwixt himself and me! Oh, good grasious! when I first noticed that heavy10 yellow House without knowing or caring to know who it belonged to, how far I was from dreaming that thro' years and years I should carry every stone's weight of it on my heart! (about feelings already!—well I will not proceed—tho the thoughts I had in my bed about all that, were tragical enough to fill a page of “thrilling interest”—for myself; and tho' as George Sand has shrewdly remarked, “rien ne soulage comme la rhétorique” [nothing soothes like rhetoric].)11 In spite of my sleepless, tormented night, I came down in the morning pretty peaceable to outward appearance, and “the breakfast passed over smoothly,” like the better sort of breakfasts in Deerbrook!12—Repaired my black merino gown against winter— Wrote to Mrs Welsh13 about the lodging she wants— Carried John Ruskin's book14 to St George's Terrace, but found the Countess just gone out, and she “had taken the boy with her”; Kitty said in a tone of personal injury.15 Went next in search of a new bonnet, but of twenty I tried on not one would stick on my head. Returning I saw a miscellaneous crowd collected about a sewer; a workman just taken out dead! “suffocated by the earth falling in”—! When I went out for my walk that man had been hard at work—as I returned they were taking him home dead! Here is the fourth man, to my knowledge, killed in this horrible manner, close by here, since they began to make new sewers.16 What atrocious negligence somewhere! The last victim has left a wife and seven children.

No visitors today, no letters, no anything. The evening and good part of the night has gone in reading—a French Novel; nothing worse— Le Pays Latin it called itself,17 amusing rather, and immoral—of course. But I have got a moral proverb out of it “Ne rien faire est mal faire” [to do nothing is to do ill].

23d— A stormy day, within doors; so I rushed out early and walked, walked, walked! If peace and quietness be not in one's own power, one can always give oneself, at least, bodily fatigue—no such bad succedaneum after all!— Life gets to look for me like a sort of kaleidiscope; a few things of different colours (black predominating) which Fate shakes into new and ever new combinations, but always the same things over again! Today has been so like a day I still remember out of ten years ago! The same still, dreamy October weather—the same tumult of mind contrasting with the outer stillness—the same causes for that tumult; then as now I had walked, walked, walked, with no aim but to tire myself; and when I came home at dusk, Providence had prepared a little innocent consolation for me, in shape of a present of ‘own work’ from a female friend—a beautifully embroidered black satin apron from Mrs Newton18 it was— Today also there was a present awaiting to give a turn to my thoughts—a beautifully embroidered black satin threadcase from Countess Pepoli!— A well-timed present is often more to the purpose than a well-chosen one.

24th Rehabilitated two old bonnets having failed to find a new one large enough

Went to thank the Countess, but did not find her—called at the Ferrars; if that poor old woman19 don't lose her eyes, it will be a wonder! The American Mr James,20 with the cork leg, who used to be so often here ten years ago, turned up again tonight, and welcome! American tho he be. He was very amusing about the Spirits. On their side of the water, he said the “spirits” had outbreaks of devilishness, which made them less tiresome than our Spirits “on this side.” An acquaintance of his, having been answered gravely by a Spirit for some time, was going on with “but there is one other thing I wish to”— “Go to Hell you infernal idiot”! said the Spirit—and the words came with the more startling effect that they were spoken; the Medium being a little sickly innocent child!— A gentleman who married Dr Parkman's sister had a conversation one time with the spirit of Parkman, who told him he was getting on capitally in the other world, and that Webster (the man who murdered him because he owed him money) had paid up his debt.21 “How? asked the brotherinlaw where did he get money?” “Oh said Parkman he keeps a boardinghouse, and I went to live with him and boarded out the whole amount.”

“As poor as Job's turkey”22—picked up that too from Mr James.

25th “Oh good gracious alive”! what a whirlwind—or rather whirl-pool of a day!—Breakfast had “passed off” better or worse, and I was at work on a picture-frame,—my own invention and pretending to be a little “work of art”—; when Mr C's bell rang like mad, and was followed by cries of, “come! come! are you coming?”— Arrived at the second landing, three steps at a time, I saw Mr C and Ann in the spare bed room, hazily, thro' a waterfall! The great cistern had overflowed; and it was “raining and pouring down” thro' the new ceiling, and plashing up on the new carpet! All the baths and basins in the house and even “vessels of dishonour” were quickly assembled on the floor, and I on my knees mopping up with towels and sponges. When the water ceased to pour thro the ceiling, it began to pour thro the roof of the bed! If the water had only been clean! but it was black as soot, and the ground of the carpet white! At last it faired in the Spare Room, and I retired to change my shoes and stockings, which were soaked, as if I had been fishing while doing this, I became aware of a patter-pattering in the drawing room; and looking in, perceived a quite romantic little lake on the green Brussels carpet! There too the water had flooded half the ceiling. More mopping with towels and sponges, and another pair of shoes and stockings soaked. Finally, after three hours of this sort of thing, I came down to the parlour fire; and the first thing I saw was great black splashes of wet on the parlour ceiling!— What am I to do with all these spoiled ceilings and carpets? And how is ‘the water’ to be prevented coming again when it likes?

On the later question I held an hour-long discussion with Chalmers and Mr Tait—relieved by practical experiments all resulting in advice to “find out the cause of the overflow and then to take steps to remove it.”

In spite of this disaster on the premises, and the shocking bad temper induced by it, I have had to put on my company-face to night and ‘receive’— Lady Lyell Mrs George Welsh (now lodged in Oakley Street) Darwin and Dr Perz were the party.23 Decidedly I must have a little of “that damned thing called the milk of human kindness” after all; for the assurance that poor Mrs George was being amused kept me from feeling bored.

And I have no notion of bed; would rather go on writing—ever so many pages “about feelings”; my heart is so very sore tonight! But I have promised myself not to make this Journal a miserere. so I will take a doze of morphia and do the impossible to sleep


My morphia a dead failure last night—gave me neither sleep nor rest; but only nausea. So much the better perhaps. If morphia had always, instead of only at long intervals, its good effect on me—making me all whole, for the time being, like a cracked dish boiled in sweet milk, I dont know what principle would be strong enough to keep me from slowly poisoning myself with it. Today then I have been up to nothing, naturally. A dawdling walk with Mrs George, a little speech with Ballantyne in the evening—voila tout [that is all]! It is not always a compliment to a man to make oneself agreeable to him. I am studiously agreeable to Ballantyne, just because he is so very ugly, and so inveterately plebeian, that I can't help fancying he must be sore about himself, and ready to mistake silence for slight.—24 Now for bed! What a mercy Life is not all daytime, nor always in the perpendicular!


Finished my little frame. not the “work of art” I had hoped it would be; a mere work of elaborate idleness. Answered a note from Ruskin.25 Went and sat an hour with Lady Sandwich Bought coffee at Fortnum & Mason's26 and took a book at the London Library (a novel. Cooper's Pathfinder27 I ought to be ashamed of myself, but I'm not.) On the way home I left a card at the Farrers. The King's Road was enlivened by a party of five men, all young and well-looked, all dressed in snow-white Linen jackets, all having lost an arm, and all singing a doleful ditty, for hapence! Taking them for victims of “the Russian war,” I stopt in an effervesence of mingled pity and patriotism to give them—sixpence?—or a shilling?—(the moment was to decide which)—; and while I was getting out my purse, Mr C chanced to come up, and asked one of the five: “What are you at all? are you soldiers”? “No Sir—we are factory-men—were all hurt by the explosion of a boiler.” The man's countinance was so prepossessing, that I believed him,—just for the moment: but is it credible that the explosion of a boiler should have blown off five arms, to five men, without doing them any other apparent damage? I should have liked to bring these five one-armed men home with me and to make them tell their histories; which I dare say would be as amusing as those of the three one-eyed Calenders.28— For the rest I have well amused myself this evening with The Pathfinder.

28th (Sunday).

Up to nothing all this day but to consuming my own smoke, with exception of a black puff or two— Mrs George spent “a long day” with me; diversified with a call from Mr Tait, and with Neuberg at tea,— Mrs George confided to me that she had kept herself (with John every day at dinner and tea) for eleven months on 70£—her lodging included. Now I call that cleverer than writing a “successful novel” or even “reconciling the Physical Sciences”! Neuberg told us of a German translation of Shakespear in which “all hail Macbeth!”29 is rendered by “ALLE Hagel [pellets of ice] Macbeth!” (Zounds! Macbeth!)

29th— Was sent by Mr C to New Cross, to “see into these old women.” (the Miss Lowes, the eldest of whom is Dr. Johnson's God Daughter and was left a hundred pounds by him in his will) Mr C found himself last summer related to “these old women” much as the old gentleman of the omnibus to the baby given him to hold; and has taken no end of trouble to get them handsomely provided for; “out of respect for Johnson.” The letters he has written about them and to them, and all the other pains he has taken are more than England expected of him, surely!30

But neither Lord Palmerstons hundred pounds, nor Miss Coutts twenty pounds, nor the Bishop of Oxfords31 annual ten pounds nor any addition Mr C has procured to their income putting an end to the goddaughters written applications to him; he wished me to ascertain the real State of their affairs and “at all rates relieve him of the correspondence.” So I travelled by steam-boat and Railway to New Cross, taking Mrs George along with me, and brought my “Schu-ping-sing faculty32 (as Mr C used to call it, when there was no Lady A to take the shine out of me, in his eyes) to bear on the Low-concern, and it was as plain as a pikestaff to me that the two old creatures had no management, and no independence or they might keep themselves decently on what they already had without “asking for more,” and that ‘the god daughter’ for the rest, was a greedy conceited fantastic little Body—whom in describing as “highly interesting” Mr C has shown, how far “respect for Johnson” could carry him!

In passing from the station to the Chelsea omnibus we were drenched with rain, and getting separated by some carriages we (Mrs George and I) lost each other!! I had hardly put on dry clothes, when Lady William Russell and Arthur33 came. My room looked horrid; the fire all but out, and the blinds yellow with fog. Myself too so tired and so hastily got up! Always exactly at the wrong moment one's aristocratic visitors arrive! Mrs George was all safe, at her Lodging when I sent to inquire. Finished The Pathfinder; in tears just think!34 A novel of a thousand that! for “making the heart beat” and taking one out of oneself.


Ruskin has sent an answer to my answer; and in this instance the man's Letter is ten times as long as the woman's was.—35 How charmingly amiable Ruskin shows himself since his wife divorced him! Is it “out of vengeance”?—the motive which induced Mrs Leblanc,36 (in Mrs Farrer's opinion) to turn her little house in Belgravia into a private hospital for Incurables; “for, don't you see all this fuss of goodness is to make people believe her husband alone to blame for their separation!” (Oh! oh!)— More likely it is satisfaction at having got out of his complication on any terms that gives Ruskin this ineffable air of “peace and goodwill towards men”,—and women—ay and dogs too my little Nero, as you know!

It has been all day “raining whole water” (as my old Helen37 use to express it) and I had “too much of water” yesterday, so I have kept by the fire, doing little or nothing. Kate Sterling came in upon me like a burst of sunshine, and staid an hour, kneeling at my side, and kissing my hands! She will be “of age” in a month, and no particle of “down” has “the rude hand of Time” yet “swept from the cheek of that beautiful enthusiasm”!38 “How is a girl like me, she asked impetuously, “to spend seven hundred a year; now that it is no good to lay it all at the feet of Mazzini?”39 I consoled her with assurance that the difficulty would not be in spending it; but in making it do.—

Having nothing “thrilling” or “absorbing,” or “enshaming” to read in the evening; I sewed at a pair of white sleeves. Tho' “being an only child I never wished to sew.” Ay de mi!

31st Rain, rain, rain! “Oh Lord, this is too ridiculous”! (as the Annandale Farmer exclaimed, starting to his feet, when it began pouring, in the midst of his prayer for a dry hay-time.) I have no hay to be got in, or anything else to be got in that I know of; but I have a plentiful crop of thorns to be got out, and that too requires good weather—

Today's post brought the kindest of letters from Geraldine, inclosing a note from the Lady de Capel Broke she is staying with, inviting me to Oakley Hall.40 This Lady's “faith in things unseen” excited similar faith on my part, and I would go, had I nothing to consider but how I should like it when there. I had to write a refusal however; Mr C. is “neither to hold nor to bind” when I make new visiting acquaintance on my own basis. however unexceptionable the person may be. And there were other reasons, “which it may be interesting not to state.”41

The only other incident of today was “a—what shall I say?”—prosaic one “upon my honour.” While taking a few minutes walk with Mr Tait, under Umbrellas (“for the good of my health” he said) I became sensible of a growing impossibility about my legs, which perplexed me exceedingly, and then of a white line betwixt my black dress and the mud. Was it?—could it be?—oh yes decidedly it was my—flannel-petticoat coming down! But in the gloaming, it (the petticoat) did not perhaps catch Mr Tait's artist-eye; and I got out of it (not the petticoat but the difficulty) in making believe to stand still voluntarily, and send him away voluntarily. What I did then I pass over in modest silence.

The evening devoted to mending; Mr C's trousers among other things! “Being an only child” I never “wished” to sew mens trousers—no never!—

1st November42

At last a fair morning to rise to! Thanks God! (Mazzini never says “thank God,” by any chance; but always “Thanks God.” And I find it sound more grateful!) Fine weather outside in fact; but in doors, blowing a devil of a gale! Off into Space then! to get the green mould that had been gathering on me of late days brushed off by human contact.

Mr Twislton met me in Sloan Street and walked with me to the Farrers, and back wards and forwards, for twenty minutes, before the Farrers windows; our discourse being of physical pain! Sir Philip Crampton43 the Army Surgeon had told him (Mr Twislton) a touching fact under this head. Three common soldiers, in his hospital were to have each a leg amputated; on the same occasion. Cloquet (?),44 an eminent French Surgeon, happening to be in Dublin at the time, Sir Philip invited him to attend; and they went together; Sir Philip and Cloquet, into the ward, of the three soldiers. Then, Sir Philip going a little in advance whispered to the three soldiers separately, “This is a French surgeon come to see your leg amputated; show him how englishmen bear pain!” The Operations were performed; and not one of the three moved a muscle or uttered a sound; and one after another, as the surgeon finished with him, took his cap off and said “thank you Sir”!—

Cooper45 has pronounced the disease in Mrs Farrers eyes cataract. She told me so today with a composure! I suppose I looked shocked; for she held out her hand to me, gave mine a strong squeeze, kissed me, and said; well, my Dear, at my age, I may expect to be gone before both my eyes are entirely sightless.” She then turned the discourse on common things, and chatted away quite cheerily. If that is not heroism I don't know what to call it.

From Chapel Street,46 I walked on to Queen Ann Street— Found Darwin, and Mrs Wedgwood into the bargain. She drove me to the London Library in search of a book, and put me down after at Fortnum & Mason's, whence I walked the whole way home. Pretty fair for a woman! Considering that “we women” (so Mrs Austin47 told Carlyle!) “are not intended by nature to walk like men, being less favourably ‘constructed about the hips”!—Did you ever?— No, I never!—

Mr C presented me today with a novel of Cooper's (Lionel Lincoln)48 which he had picked up on a stall for ninepence!Dear I should say. But in spite of its badness I have read at it till flesh and blood can stand no more.


Not having slept one wink all last night; I came down today in a mood!— No use trying to work at anything. To live under the circumstances was the most England could expect of one! Nevertheless I went by appointment to see dear little Mrs Twislton in her sick room— They gave me luncheon, and warmed me with their kindness. Mr Twislton then accompanied me to Lady Sandwich's, and from South Street home to my own door. Lady S speaking of Lord Elgin today told us that on his Fathers death her (Lady S's) relative Lady Olivia Sparrow fell to work to console the widow,49 on christian principles; hoping her grief might be made the means of her conversion. “Oh dont trouble me with all that”, said Lady Elgin, one day impatiently—“there is no,—no consolation for me but in— Euclid!””50

Mr Fairie51 this evening, when I was already so spent! The Fates are never above “pouring water on the drowned mouse.”52


Sewed a little— Walked with Mrs George to the Countessa's—who as usual was “gone out.[”] While sitting with my feet on the fender in the darkening the room door opened and a veiled Lady walked in. It was Geraldine, my Stars! just arrived— Things will go better now; with my Consuelo53 in the next street. She staid only a few minutes. But I went and spent part of the evening with her.

4th (Sunday)

Geraldine here all the fore noon— Mrs George at dinner and tea— Lady Sandwich for an hour between the two— Heaven and Earth! What a day of talking!

“How the pretty Ladies talk!
Clitter clatter!
Like their pattens when they walk;
Pitter patter!”54

Mrs Schwabe, the rich Manchester-German-Jew Merchant's widow55 has been getting up an apotheosis of her late Husband; in the shape of a picture by Ary Scheffer—56 no less! Schwabe's face, (a rather strikingly ugly one) is given to a large Angel, whom other angels are carrying to— Heaven, of course; Mrs Schwabe in expensive weeds, with hands crossed on her fat breast, is standing on the terra firma of the picture, gazing up at him; while the whole lot of children, from the grown up son to the Baby, stretch away behind her, in different attitudes, like the children of Niobe,57 with their eyes all lifted in one direction—towards the Angel meant for their Papa! The idea of the picture was Mrs Schwabe's own; it was bad enough in Scheffer to be bought by her money to paint it. They say he particularly begged her not to exhibit it.— This is little short of that apotheosis of a Husband that somebody saw in a german country town; where the Defunct was represented ascending to Heaven in a blue overcoat and top-boots! his widow in blue-satin desperately clutching at the boots!

5th— Wrote a note to Ballantyne about his Book. Then off to Coutt's Bank on the Miss Lowe-business— Geraldine accompanying me—then to Cheapside where I helped Geraldine to choose a Persian hearth-rug. Walked to Charing Cross on the way back, and home by omnibus. Not much good in all that

Alone this evening. Lady A. in town again, and Mr C of course at Bath House.

“When I think on what I is,
And what I use to was;
I 'gin to think I've sold myself
For very little cas.”58

6th Mended Mr C's dressing-gown and washed some “finery” (as the Laundress calls it—lace-caps and collars) Then off to Geraldine who gave me a nice little “early dinner—Sedille59 “never did the like o't”! “Peacefully sated with revenge and food,” we streamed off to Pimlico60 and bought clogs; As usual staying out till twilight. I am very idle just now, and cause of idleness in others—at least one other (Geraldine). But it is not wilful idleness exactly. Much movement under the free sky is needful for me to keep my heart from throbbing up into my head, and maddening it. They must be comfortable people those who have leisure to think about going to Heaven! My most constant and pressing anxiety is to keep out of Bedlam—that's all! Ach!— If there were no feelings; what steady sailing craft we should be (as the nautical gentleman of some novel says.)61

7th— More family-needlework— Miss Anderton62 came, and I walked with her and Geraldine and Mrs George— Two too many, being all of one sex. I saw today for the first time in my life blood-red blanketts! A shop-window in Leicester Square was full of them. Horrid!—they looked to me made expressly to be murdered in! Nevertheless Geraldine and I are going to have scarlet Petticoats! Dear! Dear! What a sick day this has been with me! Oh my Mother! Nobody sees when I am suffering now; and I have learnt to suffer “all to myself.” From only childness to THAT is a far and a rough road to travel!

“Oh little did my mother think,
The day she cradl'd me,
The Lands I was to travel in,
The Death I was to dee!”63

8th Wrote a long letter to Betty64—and dined at Monckton Milnes's—a pleasant dinner-party—very. which means that I myself was (as Geraldine's landlady 65 would say) “appreciated.” And then we had the Lowes66 in the evening—the first time I had met them since their return to town. The Lowes are “hand-made,” both; which so few people about me are; and so I like them tho' the man “has no tenderness,” (Lady A says) and the woman less than none!— Lady Duncannon67 says Mr Lowe “always reminds her of the negative of a photograph”—very good—

9th This morning brought an income-tax paper which requires to be ‘appealed’ against— I had to go up in the drizzle to Chapman & Halls for a note of sums paid to Mr C in the last three years—had to see a tax commissioner &c &c— That sort of thing frets me like a file—Lewis68 came to tea, looking ill and low—I am ill and low myself.


Mended some stockings. Took Mrs George to visit the Contessa, who was adorably kind to her. Went to various shops after, and came in lamed with my new clogs, went to Geraldines after tea and made her walk with me in the dark. My scarlet petticoat came home, about a quarter of a yard too short. “The troubles that afflict the just &c”!

11th “S'exagérer sets droits, oublier ceux des autres, cela peut être fort commode; mais cela n'est pas toujours profitable, et on a lieu souvent de s'en repentir— — Dernout, il vaudrait mieux souvent avoir des vices qu'un caractère difficile.— Pour que les femmes perdent les familles, il faut qu'elles aillent jusqu'à l'inconduite, jusqu'au désordre. Pour les y pousser, il suffit souvent qu'un homme gâte toutes ses bonnes qualités et les leurs par des procédés injustes, de la dureté, du dédain” [To magnify one's own rights, to neglect those of others is perhaps very convenient but it is not always profitable and sometimes one has cause to regret it. It is often better to have vices than to have a difficult character. For women to lose their families, they have to be guilty of the most disorderly and extreme conduct. It often just takes a man to ruin all his good qualities and hers by injustice, harshness and contempt to drive her to it.]

lhomme du bien et
l'homme de rien [the man of goodwill and the man with nothing].

Godfroid Cavaignac69

It is not always however that unjust treatment, harshness and disdain in her Husband drives a woman “jusqu ’au désordre” [to disorderly conduct]; but infallibly it drives her to something, and something not to his advantage any more than to hers.

Today has been like other days outwardly— I have done this and that and people have come and gone—but all as in a bad dream.

12th Our Laundress, a politician in her way, declares the new rise on sugar, “a scandal to the Annals of History”! “Six such Laundresses and we were a saved nation”!

A day of immese70 walking this. Walked to Coutts's Bank with money for the Goddaughter, thence to Queen Square to see the Sterling girls. How these girls do love me, poor Innocents! Indeed I exercise, and have exercised an attraction on the whole family of Sterling, Male and Female, old and young, that seems to pertain to witchcraft! Hang me if I can comprehend it the least in the world!— Miss Williams Wynn at tea here—71

13th— Mrs George came to say goodbye; her time in Oakley Street being expired. Then Mrs Hawkes72 to say she had got a studio in Sloan Street; where I might find her “like Marius, amidst the ruins of—her furniture73 ready to paint portraits.” Then I went and sat half an hour with Mrs Twistleton— Then went and dined with Mrs Wedgwood at Darwins, and was taken by her to Lord John's Lecture at Exeter Hall. The Crowd was immense, and the applause terrific, the Lecture ‘water bewitched’!74 One thing rather puzzled me; at every mention of the name ‘Christ’ (and there was far too much of it) the clapping and stamping rose to such pitch that one expected always it must end in “hip hip hurrah!”— Did ‘The Young Men's CHRISTIAN Association’ take his Lordship's recognition of Christ as a personal compliment? or did it strike them with admiration that a Lord should know about Christ?—A question for the Garrick Club,75 as well worth discussion as “Who cut Joe Langford's hair”?76

14.77 A dull pain in my head all day—from the shocking atmosphere of Exeter Hall. I went only to Roope's for some ribbon.78 Two of the shop-girls had sat before me at the Lecture, with butterfly-Bonnets and an opera glass between them! I asked how they liked it? “They couldn't hear, they said. Did they know what the people were applauding so much? “Well said one, we fancied it because he had been hissed at the Mansion-House, and looked so downhearted. But after they had made a bit of a noise didn't he brighten up!” These girls attended the Lectures of ‘The Young Men's Christian Association—regularly— “hadn't missed a night all last year”: “Then you must like Lectures very much”—?— Well Mam, to say the truth, we like the getting out—much better than the Lecture.”79

The Wedgwoods and Darwin in the evening— Dullish all of us; except Nero who dearly likes a tea party—contriving always to coax a considerable of cake out of it.


Re-fitted a bonnet. Left a card for Mrs Barlow80—ditto for Mr Monkton Milnes—The worst fog this year. No getting a mouthful of air anywhere!— Two little children, one 12 months, the other 5 years old, have been picked out of the River tonight at the bottom of this Street, and brought to life by ‘the Doctor’— Three caps have been found by which it would seem a third child has perished. The present story is that a man and woman were seen to leave Battersea Pier in a boat with three children. Did the man and woman take the children to drown them? Are they drowned themselves? The only thing certain is, two small children have been picked out of the Thames, restored to life and taken to the Workhouse.— Where I should like excessively to follow them and bring them home. But “Man does what he will woman but what she may.”81

16th There was neither ‘boat’ nor ‘man’ in the case; but a woman did take her three children to drown them—and no doubt but the eldest is drowned the two babies were saved by miracle— They floated poor little things; one all the way from Cadogan Pier82 to opposite the bottom of this street, the bigger of the two, about half that distance and never ceased screaming so that the watermen were guided thro the fog to first one and then the other little terrified thing. Our greengrocer who “undressed them at the Magpie83 never he said, saw lovelier children in his life. While the Doctor was busy with them, their Father, turned into the Magpie, in passing, to see what it was all about—and it was about his own drowned and half drowned children, and their Mother his own wife, the murderess! He carried the saved babies to his house in Paulton Square (He is General Ticket Collector for the Steamboats84—a situation of trust, and well paid) & put them into their usual bed; After two in the morning their mother came home, and went to the bed weeping, and kissed the children. This morning she underwent her examination before the Magistrate or rather appeared before the Magistrate. For the Magistrate, being a man of singular sensibility it would seem, declared, he “would not have asked her a question for the whole world”!!

— She is “a tall, grave, lady-like woman” (the Butcher's wife tells me). At her Examination she never spoke a word but wept incessantly. The feeling Magistrate remanded her—allowing her to find bail!! It is generally believed, she was led to murder her children by jealousy! Jealousy of a pretty apple-woman, who has a stall on the Cadogan pier! and what astonishes me is, that these tradespeople, my informants, in lyrically recognising the “dreadful thing” she has gone and done, dont seem to find it unnatural—but speak pityingly of her, as if the drowing of ones children were an unavoidable, tho' ‘dreadful’ consequence of one's husband's infidelity; expressed or understood. Decidedly, what Mr C calls George Sandism must be spreading downward.85

At a Soirée at Monckton Milnes's tonight—in the character of Chaperon to Geraldine. Heard from Kate Sterling that her Uncle was to be home in ten days— Nothing else of the slightest interest to man or Beast. “What a deadly dull party! I wish I hadn't gone!” was my thought as Geraldine and I drove from the door. “Oh what a delightful party!” exclclaimed86 Geraldine. “I am so indebted to you for taking me”! Geraldine had conversed mostly with Mr Maurice, I with Mr Maurice's wife.

17th— Writing all the morning— “Jane,” said Mrs Montague87 years and years ago, “everybody is born with a vocation, and yours is to write little notes”! I have sadly belied my vocation then latterly; for weeks together I write no notes, neither little nor long.— Went and sat an hour with Mrs Twisleton.—In the evening made up two caps. Ah!— “Time brings” caps as well as “roses”! What a pity!

18th (Sunday) Wrote a long letter to Plattnauer. Did not walk—but instead talked; with Geraldine, over the fire. So Mr Maurice has “always considered Mrs Carlyle a brilliant woman of the world”! “Maybe's ye're nae great judge”!

Mr Whitworth of Manchester dropt in to tea, as from the moon. An interesting man, for once; Thank God for all his mercies! Whitworth is still the mechanic in appearance and bearing; all the perfumes of—the Bank of England cannot wash that out of him—88 And besides he looks cousin once removed to a Baboon; but then he knows what he says, that man; and says what he knows; and is lucid as spring water, and natural as a gowan. He has been employed by Government to make a model rifle, and has made one that will send a ball about two miles!

The usual, Sundaynight, not “pleasant, additimental” Neuberg talked patronizingly to Whitworth, that did he! He (Neuberg) grows more insufferable every week— It is a positive horror for me to take the cold, fat, slippery hand he offers—like a bunch of pork sausages! faugh!

19th I hardly know a more curious sensation than when having taken one's handsome sable boa from its summer quarters, and shaken it to shake the dust out, one sees the fur itself take wings, like riches, and flee away!— “They are troubled that hae the worl and troubled that want it”! (as Mr Cs grandmother89 moralized over her one-pound note which she couldn't find a safe enough place for)— “Gloomy month of November in which the people of England hang and drown themselves”90 I wish you were over; this constant drizzle overhead, and glaar under foot, and fog round and about is more than human spirits or even human principles can bear up against for long!

I just managed to get across twice to see Geraldine, who was in bed with a sore throat—for the rest, I dusted and brightened up what Mrs Clough called my nicknacks.— She “never saw a house with such a heap of nick-nacks” she, Mrs Clough, never did! She would be all the better of a nick-nack or two herself, to break up the hard, cold, Smithian uniformity that surrounds and pervades her.91 Reading a continuation of Margaret Maitland.92

20th Half the day spent in redding up boxes and drawers Sat an hour with Geraldine who tho better is still in bed— I have been fretting inwardly all this day at the prospect of having to go and ‘appeal’ before the Tax Commissioners at Kensington tomorrow morning.93 Still it must be done. If Mr C should go himself he would run his head against some post in his impatience, and besides, for me, when it is over it will be over—whereas he would not get the better of it for twelve months—if ever at all!

The body of the third child has been found at Vauxhall Bridge— The wretched mother is in Prison (our Postman says) Her Husband declining to avail himself of the Magistrate's security in allowing bail.— “If she were mad,” he is said to have said, “better that the Law should have charge of her than he”

21st O me miseram! [misery me] Not one wink of sleep the whole night thro'! so great the “rale mental agony in my own inside,94 at thought of that horrid appealing! It was feeling like the ghost of a dead dog that I rose and dressed and drank my coffee, and then started for Kensington. Mr C said “the voice of honour seemed to call on him to go himself”; but either it did not call loud enough or he would not listen to that Charmer. I went in a cab to save all my breath for the appealing. Set down at 30 Hornton Street95 I found a dirty private like house, only with Tax Office painted on the door. A dirty woman-servant opened the door and told me the Commissioners would not be there for half an hour, but I might walk up. There were already some half-score of men assembled in the waiting room—among whom I saw the man who cleans our clocks, and a young Apothecary of Cheyne Walk96 all the others, to look at them, could not have been suspected for an instant, I should have said, of making a hundred a year—never to say more— Feeling in a false position I stood by myself at a window and “thought shame” (as children say). Men trooped in by twos and threes till the small room was pretty well filled; at last a woman showed herself. “O MY”! Did I ever know the full value of any sort of woman, as woman, before! By this time some benches had been brought in, and I was sitting nearest the door. The woman sat down on the same bench with me, and, misery acquainting one with strange bedfellows, we entered into conversation without having been introduced, and I had “the happiness” (as Allan termed it) of “seeing a woman more miserable than myself”! Two more women arrived, at intervals. one a young girl of Dundee97 (!) “sent by my Uncle that's ill.” who looked to be always recapitulating inwardly what she had been told to say to the Commissioners: the other a widow, and such a goose poor thing! She was bringing appeal against—no overcharge in her individual paper—but against the doubling of the Income Tax! “She had payed the double tax once,” she said, because she was told they would take her goods for it if she didn't—and it was so disgraceful for one in a small business to have her goods taken; besides that it was very disadvantageous! but now that it was come round again she WOULD give up.” She seemed to attach an irresistable pathos to the title of ‘widow’ this woman—“and me a widow Mam!” was the winding up of her every paragraph! The men seemed as worried as the women, tho they put a better face on it, even carrying on a sort of sickly laughing and bantering with one another. ‘First-come Lady’! called the Clerk, opening a small side door & I stept forward into a grand peutêtre [great perhaps].98 There was an instant of darkness while the one door was shut behind and the other opened in front; and then I stood in a dim room where three men sat round a large table spread with papers, one held a pen ready over an open ledger another was taking snuff—(and had taken still worse in his time, to judge by his shaky dazed appearance). The third who was plainly the cock of that Dungheap was sitting for Rhadamanthus. A Rhadamanthus without the justice. “Name”?—said the horned-owl-looking individual holding the pen.— “Carlyle”— “What?”— “Ca-r-lyle”—seeing he still looked dubious, I spelt it for him C-a-r-l-y-l-e. “Ha”! cried Rhadamanthus, a big bloodless faced insolent looking fellow “What is this? Why is Mr Carlyle not come himself? Didnt he get a letter, ordering him to appear?— Mr Carlyle wrote some nonsense about being exempted from coming and I desired an answer to be sent; that he must come—must do as other people.—”“Then sir,” I said, “your desire has been neglected, it would seem— My Husband having received no such letter—and I was told by one of your fellow commissioners that his (Mr Carlyles) personal appearance was not indispensable”— “Huffh! Huffh! What does Mr Carlyle mean by saying he has no income from his writings, when he himself fixed it in the beginning at a hundred & fifty?”—— “It means sir, that in ceasing to write one ceases to be paid for writing—and Mr Carlyle has published nothing for several years.” “Huffh! Huffh! I understand nothing about that”—“I do whispered the snufftaking Commissioner at my ear— “I can QUITE understand that a Literary man does not always make money— I would take it all off—for my share—but (sinking his voice still lower) I am only one voice here and not the most important.” “There” said I handing to Rhadamanthus Chapman & Halls account—“that will prove Mr C's statement”—“What am I to make of that? Huffh! we should have Mr Carlyle here to swear to this, before we believe it.”— “If a gentlemans word of honour written at the bottom of that paper is not enough; you can put me on my oath. I am ready to swear to it.”— You! “You indeed! no no! we can do nothing with your oath.”— “But sir I understand my Husbands affairs fully better than he does himself.”— “That I can well believe!—but we can make nothing of this”; flinging my document contemptuously on the table.”— The horned-owl picked it up, glanced over it, while Rhadamanthus was tossing papers about and grumbling about “people that wouldnt conform to rules” then handed it back to him saying deprecatingly. “But sir this is a very plain statement.” “Then what has Mr Carlyle to live upon? You dont mean to tell me he lives on that”? pointing to the document— “Heaven forbid, sir—but I am not here to explain what Mr Carlyle has to live on; only to declare his income from Literature during the last three years.” “True, true”! mumbled the “not most important voice” at my elbow, “Mr Carlyle I believe has landed income.” “Of which,” said I haughtily, for my spirit was up, I have fortunately no account to render in this kingdom, and to this board”— “Take off—fifty pounds—say—a hundred— take off a hundred pounds” said Radamanthus to the horned owl— “If we write Mr Carlyle down at a hundred and fifty he has no reason to complain I think! there—you may go!—no no! Mr Carlyle has no reason to complain!”— Second-come woman was already introduced, and I was motioned to the door; but I could not depart without saying; that “at all events there was no use in complaining, since they had the power to enforce their decision.”

In stepping out into the open air, my first thought was what a mercy Carlyle didn't come himself!—— For the rest, tho it might have gone better I was thankful it had not gone worse. When one has been threatened with a great injustice, one accepts a smaller as a favour.

After walking home with the news of my half-success, I walked to Regent Street! for buttons— The fever from want of sleep is as good as ablebodiedness for some purposes. Sat a while with Geraldine— Went back to spend the evening with Geraldine, when Mr C set forth for Bath House. Her Ladyship in town for two days.

22d— Called at the Crawfurds99 and the Farrers—made window curtains after tea—very brashed with yesterdays exertions.

23 The Sterling girls came soon after breakfast— Full of Sir Colin Campbell—his visit to Windsor—where the bagpipes were ordered to play the “Campbells are coming,” and the Princess Royal to sit next him and coax him— His interview with Lord Harding &c &c— He had resisted all arguments and persuasions and bribes to go back to the Crimea— When at last the Queen “stood at his elbow,” in Alberts private room and besought him to go as a personal kindness to her “it would make her so happy”— “In that case I will go” said honest Colin, still not disillusioned on women and queens, “If your Majesty ordered me go carrying a musket, I should do it.”100 It is doubtful now if Anthony Sterling come home, even on leave; sir Colin returns so speedily—

I had been feeling it very odd for some days, to realize that there was no impossibility in the Captain's coming smack on one at any street corner. For it was in the Newspapers he had arrived.

Chaperoned Geraldine to a large Party at the Lowes—where I was mistaken by Mr Farrer101 for—Mrs Booth!102 If that don't take the last lingering spark of conceit out of me I must be incorrigible! I can't say I “enjoyed myself” the least in the world. Perhaps in part because I was put in bad humour at starting by Geraldines want of punctuality.

I saw Miss Wynn today for the first time in her new house.103 the walls of her drawing room are watered lavender colour! hideous! Henry Reeve104 was trying to get out of me at the Lowes “what Sir Colin was to have”—that he might put it in the Times next morning of course. Didnt he leave me much the wiser!

24th But for the persuasion I have that the unrest in my nerves would go to my brain, if I did not work it off outwardly; I should hate myself for the life I am leading,—all the available hours of the day spent in walking, in making calls, and things that leave no trace, except on the soles of my shoes. Even as it is, I have misgivings enough whether I ought not to force myself to sit still, and “do something for my bread.” People, who have advice for every need, tell one, that in bad nights, one has only to force oneself to lie still and sleep will come— But I have tried that forcing oneself to lie still, very resolutely too, and the result has been only to add torment to wakefulness. That does not encourage me to force myself to sedentary employment. Why has everybody such horror at the idea of going mad? insanity is not necessarily a state of suffering. “My Dear”; Mazzini once said to me “there are happy Mads.”— I know there are; I have seen several and read of more; happy “Mads,” as well as unhappy Sanes! No—it is not the sufferings of Insanity that are so full of terror for me—it is the unconscious disgrace— To be kept, treated, hidden away! to be a thing of horror for ones friends—if one have any—of disgust for the world at large! It is that I would walk myself to death to stave off!

Another day of glaar and drizzle— Got no further than Geraldine's, with two turns in The Walk—attended by Mr Tait—who to the wittiest things I could say to him answered “unch-hum”!

Mr Ruskin to tea—very amiable and ecstatic. One feels somehow that he ought to die young that man! A certain humour is the only thing perfectly human in him. All the rest I find to be either below or above humanity. Nero had been washed and combed for the occasion, and had curled himself very winningly on the party coloured round cushion with his head pillowed on an end of my red shawl. “Look” I said to Ruskin, “Isn't he beautiful so?”— “Very” said Ruskin with grave emphasis—“very beautiful indeed! I find just one—I can hardly call it fault, but one objection to that dog; which is, that one never can tell which is head and which is his tail”!

Guizot (according to Mr Carlyle) a “pallid pedant, expecting the second coming of Louis Philippe.”

25 Sunday

Took Goethe's Life to Mr Tait Called at Darwins where I saw Robert MacIntosh—105 looking like a Man fresh out of a Madhouse. Spent a few minutes with Mr Brookfield on the way home—then an hour with Geraldine. No Neuberg this evening “thankS god”— I have lain on the sofa, dizzy with a blow I gave myself on the brow, against the drawing room mantlepiece.


Last night there was a lump on my brow as big as a plover's egg and I felt all, heels over head—like “a Drunk.” But a spoonful of henbane did wonders in composing me to sleep; and this morning the lump is nearly gone, and I feel no bad effects from my blow. I am getting ‘accomplished’ in knock-my head against mantle-pieces as William Forster pronounced me in falling out of gigs “as if I had been brought up to it.”106

Spent the after-breakfast in sewing a beautiful row of steel buttons up the front of my old dressing-gown! partly out of tender interest in that dressing-gown, which “has seen better days,”—107 like myself, and partly out of justice towards the buttons, which have “waited seven years”—to be found a use for. Mrs George came as I finished my job—for a call merely. When she had gone I went and sat an hour with Mrs Twisleton—(able to be in the Drawing room now)— Meant to sit as long with Geraldine, but she met me with a little cankered look that sent me off in a huff. “Boppery Bopp”! It is tiresome too that I should have to walk thro Mrs Huxham (so to speak) every time I would get at Geraldine! “The mixing up of things is The Great Bad” (as Reichenbach once said to me) Geraldine never will understand that.

Finished the Private Life of an Eastern Prince, which was left the other day by its Author108 very good reading, as times go; tho' loose, and diffuse. I am meaning to ask the author to tea.

27— A horrid accident occurred today. In crossing one of the streets out of Kings Road, a little boy of seven, was killed in one moment by the wheel of a great Waggon crashing over his head. The waggon had turned the corner very fast and sharp—and the Child had missed his footing. What a ‘one moment’ for the poor Mother, to bear in mind, all the rest of her life. Mrs Huxhams Agnes109 saw her (“one of these women who go out to wash”) and she seemed sadly put out”; Agnes said. The Scotch Pedlar wasn't so far wrong when he described the Londoners as “fine ceevil folk; but terribly aff for a langage”!110 and my poor “white whiskers111 quite right in finding them ‘grand at Mem and Siring ain anither, but real insipid about deth”!!— Geraldine and I met the Waggon, driven by a Policeman; who had “taken it in charge.” It was curious the loathing horror I felt at the inanimate mountain of a thing and even at the unconscious horses.

Paid a long visit to Miss Wilson,112 who received me “in her choicest mood.”113 Miss Wilson dislikes me, I was told last year, by a credible authority, and speaks ill of me behind my back. And yet she looks glad to see me always, and presses me to stay. And the best is that I dont like her a whit the less, for that superfluous warning,—but rather strive to please her more than I used. I need to love people terribly well, that I should hate them for not loving me.

Read a Novel called Malvern114 all the evening. I often remind myself of the two old Sisters Mrs Robinson and Miss Hay115 whom, when I was a girl of sixteen, I used to look at with mingled horror and compassion sitting opposite each other, day after day and from morning till night, in tall-backed arm chairs, reading, reading, reading Circulating-Library Novels— Each with a large tiger-like cat, of a sort one never sees now, perched on her chairback, dozing away its life! They had been Beauties once, these Sisters—Edinrtoasts,’ no less! had lived each her own three-volume Novel, “of thrilling interest”—to herself; we may be sure— And now both had reached the Moral, and there they sat, with little black silk bonnets on the top of their frilled caps—and little shawls pinned over their breasts—reading thro' Neil's Library,116 till their hour should strike! I used to think it the Saddest Enchantment I had ever seen! I, in my learned teens!—and now!! Let him, (and more especially her) who standeth on the housetop &c, &c.”117


This morning I have been “in my duty,” like the Fish in the Frying Pan;118 rehabilitating a lot of old frames for Mr C's Prussian portraits. It will be work for several mornings. Took the black silk Lady A presented me with last Christmas to Catchpool;119 that it might be made up for The Grange. “Did you buy this yourself Mam?” said Catchpool, rubbing it between her finger and thumb “No—it was a present—but why d'you ask?”—“Because, Mam, I was thinking, if you bought it yourself, you had been taken in. It is so poor! very trashy indeed! I don't think I ever saw so trashy a Moire”!

Finished Malvern—with one good result; that I have been reminded of the Miss Gullys.120 Decidedly I will write to them.

29th— Smearing away at these frames, with china ink121 and varnish. A splashy day for walking, in my new scarlet petticoat; so I went no further than the Farrers. Too sick all the evening for doing anything but look from my book to the fire, and from the fire to my book, without finding much comfort in either. Ay de mi! A nights sleep would be welcome now! “Don't I wish I may get it?


“Too much of smearing hast thou poor Mrs Carlyle”!122 But they are finished now, these weary frames, and there only remains to hang them up.

Mrs George called while my hands were still sticky with varnish; it was no light effort of good will to look glad to see her. There was nothing in the larder,—absolutely nothing but raw potatoes; so I took her to Granges123 and gave her a basin of soup for her lunch.

While sitting over the fire in the dusk before dinner: a carriage drove up, and Anne announced, “Mr Foxton and Mr Brixton” who proved to be William Forster, and his Cousin, Mr Buxton. Forster met me uneasily, as he well might; and his furtive side-glances, with the red glare of the fire on him, suggested the old idea when I was not remembering it—Tawell!124

1st December.

Hung the new portraits— Took my scarlet waistcoat and a parcel of gloves to Latours125 in Bond Street to get cleaned. “Annie—drawled Mr Mitford126 on seeing me in that waistcoat, “doesnt Mrs Carlyle look like robinreadbreast”? While Mr Brookfield inquired “Madam! are you part of our National Defences”? How witty some people are, good god!—My light Literature of this evening unusually good, being no 1 of Dickens's new Story Little Dorrit.127 What a faculty of “writing lees for diversion,” that man does have!

2d (Sunday)

Wrote a pretty long letter from Nero to Mrs Twisleton.128 Miss Farrer129 and her Brother came for a long call. Walked part of their way home with them— Neuberg to tea. Ach!—


The chief business of today has been going to Catchpool to have that dress fitted. “Oh dear! you do grow so thin Mam!” said Catchpool snappishly; as if I were unjust to her, and could help it!

Walking is no pastime in these days; the streets being inch-deep with a sort of bird-lime; Fancy crossing Regent Street or Piccadilly at some momentary gap in the Stream of carriages, and in the midst, finding ones clogs stick fast to the ground like the things in Scotland we children called Sookies! “A false position” “rather exquisite! One may say of London in damp weather what the child said of the Land of Canaan—“overflowing with milk and honey”—130 “Oh how sticky”!

Hemmed four pocket handkerchiefs There!—


I hardly ever begin to write here, that I am not tempted to break out into Jobisms about my bad nights— How I keep on my legs and in my senses with such little snatches of sleep is a wonder to myself— Oh! to cure anyone of a terror of annihilation just put him on my allowance of sleep! And see if he dont get to long for sleep—sleep— Unfathomable and everlasting sleep, as the only conceivable Heaven!

Went to Bramah's about a stove for Mr C's study. The streets stickier than ever! and Piccadilly swarming with “independent Englishmen” and women come out for to see the ugly King of Sardinia who was lunching at Palmerston's131

That woman who threw her three children in the water is mad; poor creature! She has been “out of her mind” for more than a year, (a person who knows her told me) “Her Mother was mad before her.” “Up to a year ago she was the tenderest of Mothers and a good wife.” Then she took a fixed idea that her three sound beautiful children were “all eaten up with scurvy”; that they would grow up hideous to look at, and in frightful sufferings— To save them from which it was her duty as a Mother, she said, to make away with them. On her last Examination (the 4th!) her husband went up to her and asked how she was? “Oh quite well; and you? (said she) how are you? You dont look so well as you did”! “No”—said the husband; “it isn't to be expected I should look very well under the circumstances.” “Ah! yes!—true”—said she “I had forgotten”! When he told her the Baby was dead (it died a few days ago from the effects of its half-drowning) “she said. “Poor little thing! it is a great mercy for it!— What good could have come to it in this world—all eaten up with scurvy as it was”!—What a dense mass of lies one must hustle thro' to get at the truth of any smallest transaction here! My informant (our Baker's wife)132 a sensible little old woman—scouted the idea of “jealousy” in the business— “Nonsense—downright nonsensical nonsense! Mam— They were as loving a couple as you could find—never a word between them!”

The man is so broken down that the Bakers wife was “sure he couldn't live.” It was over the wall (!) at the pier, that the woman threw her children. The eldest boy, she said, “struggled dreadfully poor thing before she could get him over”! She is distressed at being separated from her Husband and at having to appear before the Magistrate, but born up with the conviction that she has done a meritorious thing! and the best thing for her children.

5 There are certain persons whose characteristic it is to be always mal a propos [inopportune]. Poor Mrs George Welsh is one. I had set myself seriously to getting ready a cap or two for the Grange (everything is for the Grange just now) when in walked that illtimed woman and kept me idle till it was time to keep an appointment with Miss Farrer. The evening was the fastest I have had for some time. Geraldine and I started at half after four to drink tea at Miss Anderton's, and go after to Drury Lane Theater;133 and Edward Sterling who happened to call drove us there in his cab. The first part of the lark if not the whole of it was overshadowed by an imagination (only an imagination it proved) that I had left the sideboard locked, and so Mr C would have to go without wine for his pudding! Miss Farrer joined us at Miss Andertons and then we all walked to the Theater. We had the best box in the house. And Charles Mathews played in ‘Used Up’—134 Then we had a “Lady” kissing Lions and a big black Bear, the latter eating sugar out of her mouth! If one day it don't eat her! Then the horrid Egyptian Piece in which poor Miss Anderton has to play a Nubian Boy!135 Edward came from a party to our box; And Miss Anderton, when her part was over, came. It was one in the morning when Edward left me at my own door. Miss Anderton is getting to have a swollen nose and ugly flushings; when one's bread depends on one's looks, what a trial that must be! I am heartily sorry for the good clever little soul.


Again made “a fly” at the cap; and again interrupted by Geraldine first, and then Mr Brookfield. Went with Geraldine to Sackville Street to her dentist.136 Mr Bridges and his unutterable randy of an Irish wife137 at tea this evening. A woman that makes one quite poorly. I have heard several samples of wit today which I meant in hearing them to write in my journal, and lo! they have “lost themselves, quite.” This however I remember; When Charles 1st was living at Holyrood;138 he used to amuse himself in shooting sparrows!—and the wee boys of the neighbourhood got into the way of attending him in his sport—and would cry out to him “Eh King! King,! look! There's a sparrow!”

7th— — — first hiatus.

8th — — — — !

9th (Sunday) Sat in the house all day. Mr Neuberg in the evening—uglier than ever! What will that man come to?— “His Excellency” Robert Macintosh came in late, and brought new blood into our stagnation Geraldine most of the day with me.

10th Walked to Brook Street to the dyers—139 dined (Geraldine and I) at Darwins, and went with Mrs Wedgwood and Mr Tait to Julien's— “Oh my! how EXPENSIVE”! and what an infernal noise!140 and what a headach from it! I drank six tumblers of cold water on coming home


In a great hurryscurry all morning—letter about the Toys (“God particularly damn them”!)141 to be written to my Lady. dress to be fitted on—all before half past twelve, when I started by appointment to lunch with Miss Williams Wynn. Home only in time to dress for dinner at the Wedgwoods, where were Newman142 and James Martineau whom I hadnt seen these six years—

Oh dear I wish this Grange business were well over It occupies me (the mere preparation for it) to the exclusion of all quiet thoughts and placid occupation (reading novels for instance—) To have to care for my dress at this time of day, more than I ever did when young and pretty and happy (god bless me! to think that I was once all that!) on penalty of being regarded as a blot on the Grange gold and azure143 is really too bad. Ach gott! If we had been left in the sphere of life we belong to how much better it would have been for us—in many ways!

12th Off early to shop. What a lot of little trumpery things it takes to make me into a “Woman of England”—144 for a month! Met Miss Farrer coming here, and lunched at her house on my way to Mr Tait's where I had appointed Lady A's ex-Lady's Maid to meet me and help about the Toys. Waited in vain for her an hour and quarter! Walked home in a rage—re infecta [nothing done], but got my fan (!) from the Mender, and bought a warm petticoat. Also left a message for Sadler145 at Bath House. Consoled myself after tea with a “thrilling” Novel called The White Chief.146

13th Mrs Strachan147 to fit on a white waistcoat and Kate Sterling, with a heavy cold in her head. Obliged to hurry her off that I might keep an appointment with old Mrs Farrer—Geraldine with me, and Miss Anderton there.

Colonel Sterling arrived this morning. Actually arrived! And now—what next? Will he come to see me? Yes?— No?—probably no. He comes for one fortnight and we go, on Monday, for a month! No time for indecisions!

14th Yes. The Colonel has come, but I was out. He staid an hour with Mr C, and engaged to dine here tomorrow. Either he still cares for me,148 enough to desire to see me once more—or he has found the centre of indifference149 and likes to show it. “Likes to show it”—? that is a questionable liking. When one is really and heartily indifferent; one is not at the pains to parade it—one parades nothing that one really and heartily is. the being it is enough for one,—can be left on its own basis. It is only what one is but halfly, unwillingly, that one tries (and vainly) to confirm oneself in, by making a show of it to “others.”

Tomorrow I shall see in the first five minutes how it is with him, on my subject, Ay! and much good may that do me!



A month at the Grange where I DRANK a gargle! On my return home sprained my side.150 Recovered from that I took cold.

24th of March, 1856!

Heavens!— My poor dear Journal! I have used you shamefully! I took you to comfort me in a time of need—something to hold on to in the darkness and loneliness; and the first will o' wisp (of distraction) that crossed my path, away I went after it—full drive towards the bottomless quagmire, without even a goodby to you my poor Journal! as if you had been merely so much waste paper that might be taken to light the fire with; for any further use that was in you, or for anything I cared! Pardon dear Journal! I return to you penitent and punished. What more can I say? Ah! and you are so good! so discreet! are content always that bygones should be bygones. I don't need then with you to begin, where I left off—which would be an insuperable obstacle to beginning at all. We are now at the 24th of March 1856. and from this point of time let us resume our daily intercourse without looking back—looking back was not intended by nature, evidently; from the fact that our eyes are in our faces and not in our hind-heads. Look straight before you then Jane Carlyle, and if possible not over the heads of things either, away into the distant vague! Look, above all, at “the duty nearest hand”151 and what's more do it! Ah the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!152 and four weeks of illness have made mine weak as water. No galloping over London as in “seven league-boots”153 for me at present! Today I walked with effort one little mile and thought it a great feat! But if the strength has gone out of me so also has the unrest; I can sit, and lie even, very patiently doing nothing. To be sure I am “always going on with the story in my head” (as poor Paulet154 expressed it); but even that has taken a dreamy contemplative character, and excites no emotions “to speak of.” In fact Sleep has come to look to me the highest virtue, and the greatest happiness—that is, good sleep—untroubled, beautiful, like a child's— Ah me!

I have done something today which I wonder it never occurred to me to do before— I have put a child to school. It is surely a charity that, which anybody in the rank of a gentlewoman can afford—and it gives no trouble, and is at the same time an unquestionable benifit to the receiver— I wonder I never thought of it, till I heard Hanah Freeman's155 little boy was becoming a plague to the neighbourhood; Hanah being “too poor to pay his schooling.” The Dame I have placed him with is 74 years old and brisk as a bee. much brisker than I am. Mem: to persuade her into letting a little fresh air into her schoolroom, which would be a great advantage; I was ready to faint from three minutes of it—had to beg her to come out with me into the passage.

25th March.

A pupil of Dr Parr's156 came in to him one day, and said laughing, “I have just passed three men in one gig; it reminded me of The Trinity”— “Pooh!” said the Dr “you are a fool. If you had seen one man in three gigs; that might have reminded you of the Trinity”! The wind has blown strongly from the East today, and I have not ventured out. For the rest my activity has confined itself to talking; and even in that I have exceeded my poor strength First I speculated with Geraldine then made conversation with Eliza Snowden157 who took this inauspicious day for her yearly visit to me; bringing with her my tall god-daughter and a son, a fine intelligent boy of fifteen,158 who when I had kissed his mother and sister held up his face to be kissed too! the same ceremony at parting! to the astonishment of Mr Tait who had come in towards the end of their visit of two hours! Alone with him I fairly broke down—lost my wits—lost my voice—thought him every minute more like the figure-head on a Thames Steamer—and felt an inclination to scream! So has gone my day— “Le plus grand malheur est bon à quelque chose” [The greatest misfortune is good for something].159 I have just read that; certainly not for the first time; but for the first time I have taken it in, as a consolation—of a sort.

Four or five years ago John Robertson brought here a Man of whom, it seems, I said (aside) to Robertson; “that is a born natural; where did you pick him up?”—four or five days ago Kate Sterling brought here the same man to introduce to me as her fiancé!!160what a waste!” (as Dwerkanauth said of the sixteen girls burnt in a suttee161)— That brave, passionate-hearted girl the wife of such a nauseous creature!—nauseous is the word for him! Oh dear oh dear! what misery awaits her, when she shall awake from her bewitchment,—bedevilment!162 I never saw a case of love that made more in favour of Dr Carlyle's opinion; “love is merely a disease of the nerves—a mild delirium”! Really one should pray for the gift not only “to see ourselves as others see us”163 but also to see our Lovers as others see them.


Today it has blown knives and files! a cold, rasping, savage day; excruciating for sick nerves. Dear Geraldine, as if she would contend with the very elements on my behalf, brought me a bunch of violets, and a bouquet of the loveliest most fragrant flowers!

Talking with her all I have done or could do. Mr Fairie called but I despatched him in no time.

“Have mercy upon me o Lord; for I am weak: O Lord heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed; But then, o Lord, how long? Return o Lord deliver my soul; oh save me for thy mercies sake.”164


In bed till after midday, overpowered with the morphia I had to take in the night. Thereby missed the call of Miss Williams Wynn. Today, the sun has shone!! I walked, slowly, by my own unaided strength to Mrs Hawkes's,165 and found her, as white as a ghost, painting at a little comic picture for the Exhibition. She had had a strange sort of seizure. She was standing one day with her arms up, combing her long hair, and was suddenly fixed, rigid, in her attitude. She was perfectly conscious, and “felt as if she must fall”; but “couldn't move or cry.” This lasted, as well as she could compute for some four or five minutes. Afterwards she “trembled violently” and “had been nervous ever since”; tho she had “never had a feeling of nervousness in her life before.” Poor woman! she thought to defy her complication of griefs; “it shouldn't break her heart,” “shouldn't depress her spirits”—but all the while it was destroying her nervous system.

Mr C took Nero out with him to night, and half an hour after he opened the door with his latch key, and called in; “is that vermin come back?”— Having received my horrified, “No!”—he hurried off again; and for twenty minutes I was in the agonies of one's dog lost—my heart beating up into my ears— At last I heard Mr C's feet in the street and (oh joy!) heard him gollaring at something—and one knew what the little bad something was!— Ach!—“we could have better spared a better dog”!166


No outgoing for me today—too cold, and my chest (as they call it) too sensitive. Darwin came and contrary to his habits told me a story—of some length.— Here it is— A young English woman, with virtues and talents went to be a governess in Germany, where she “gave the highest satisfaction”; till unfortunately she got herself seduced, under promise of marriage (of course); and a baby ensued. Whether the baby lived or died I don't know. But the young woman gathered herself together, returned to England and managed to get the charge of a Nobleman's children, and house; the Parents being absent on the continent. For more than a year she filled this situation to the high contentment of all concerned. Was regarded as “a Treasure.” But the affair of the baby lay heavy on her conscience, and one day she presented herself to the Minister of the Parish, and asked; was it not her duty to confide that fact to her employers. What could a Minister say (whatever he might think) but that it was her duty—accordingly she “made a clean breast” to the Lady who had engaged her, the children's guardian, in the absence of the Parents; and what could she do (whatever she might wish) but “feel it her duty” to dismiss her— She was “very sorry” but “being responsible to the Parents, &c, &c”—so this martyr to conscience found herself planted;167 her only family even rejecting her.

Darwin thought her sublime. Geraldine and I called her weak. Having committed a fault or error—what you will—; it behoved her we said to accept the consequences thereof patiently and bravely, in so far as they were inevitable; and as every failure had a lesson in it, it behoved her to read the lesson in hers, and turn it to practical account. But holding herself responsible for her past to people who had to do only with her present, and pouring herself out in confession, to her own injury and the discomfort of all about her—that we could recognise neither obligation nor sublimity in; only narrowness—and weakliness and woman's commonest defect, a want of reticence.

Meanwhile this Lady has got into the philanthropic hands of John Allan,168 the Protector of Unfortunate Females, Juvenile Delinquents et hoc genus, and has been shown as a Martyr to “honourable women not a few”— whom she has intrested169 to a pitch of enthusiasm by declaring that should any Husband offer himself in Australia; (they speak of sending her to Australia) she would tell him of her ‘misfortune’ the very first thing. Bravo!

Today I have written a letter and two notes—and read all sorts of odds and ends in The Polar Star.170


I insert a letter171 received this morning from “my handsome Cousin,” Capt Baillie—a remarkable document for those who knew of him in his days of London Celebrity; when he was Chief Dandy, spending his Capital at the rate of fifteen thousand a year, on fine clothes, horses carriages and King Charles spaniels. I wish I had preserved (that I might have placed it beside this letter) his Taylors bill as it figured in the newspapers some 25 years ago: and an Article upon him in Frasers Magazine a few years later, in which he was described as “a mixture of Mars and Adonis,” “perfuming the air of Rotten Row with his embroidered handkerchief, as he rode along on his splendid black horse.”—172

And now it has come to borrowing half sovereigns, with him. Alas! and he had talents as well as good looks; and a heart “not bad” by anymeans. I went myself during an hour of sunshine to assure myself he was really ill; before sacrificing another halfsovereign, which as Tommy Grierson173 said of the halfpenny he bestowed on a beggar, “was a great deal for a wee fellow like me!” I found him in a poor but decent looking house in a mean street. Having sent my name by his Landlord I was shown up; and the mixture of Mars and Adonis received me at his door, with as stately a grace, as he had ever displayed on his famous Black Horse. He is still very handsome, and his dress tho' threadbare was as clean and peculiar as of old. a sort of short blouse made of an old yellow Indian shawl much darned, had taken place of the fifty-guinea brocade dressing-gown. Half of his shirt sleeves were left uncovered, tho of the coarsest cotton; but they were white and well starched. The room he was in, very small, served evidently for parlour bed room and kitchen— In one corner was a fourposted bed, the posts rising desolately to the ceiling, without a morsel of curtain— The floor was well scowered, with a bit of darned carpet in the middle. Two or three deal chairs,—one of them a sort of arm-one, with a bed-pillow in it without cover, for the Invalid,—a table with a cover, on which lay a book (one of Gleig's)174 and other civilized items—some cooking utensils a basin stand— Ah heaven! There was not even a toilet, on which to have laid out his beautiful gold & silver dressing-case, had it been to the fore! a very thrifty poorperson's fire with a large brass-nail knocked into the mantleshelf—to serve the purpose of roasting. All that I noticed—and I dont think there was much besides—and on this ruins of his Carthage sat “the elegant Jim Baillie” doing the Marius of Dandyism as well as it could be done— Not a word of apology for his environment—not an alusion to it—not even recognition of it by look—A more perfectly unembarrassed courteous reception I never met in my life! I asked where was his—“wife”? He answered “why, here to be sure!” Then I understood that air of comfort in the midst of exigence! only a woman could have compassed it; and even a woman could have compassed it only thro love! “Ah,” I said “I might have known it, by seeing how well you are cared for”— “Yes” he said, “that poor soul has had a sore time of it trying to keep me straight; for five & twenty years now I have been a heavy handful to her, and she has never wearied never relaxed—god bless her! there is not a better woman”! and the fine eyes filled with tears till they ran over. That was his only approach to sentiment.

Poor woman indeed! ruined by him in fortune and reputation and still holding on in her unselfish love. And the virtuos would frown on her—she is not his wife.— I wish I had seen her to shake hands with her, and express my—admiration!175

“My Dear,” said Mr C this evening, “your visit to your handsome Cousin to day has done you no good.”— I dare say I shan't sleep for it. But anything that takes one's sympathies out of oneself is to be sought rather than avoided—is it not?

My cousin Maggie176 arrived at dinner-time to stay a week or fortnight. I dont well see my way thro it—“unaccustomed as I am to public speaking”!

30th Sunday

When I receive (as they call it—tho, to my idea, there is more of giving than receiving—one gives oneself—in the form of minced-meat!) First came Plattnauer, long before the general calling hour, and took me for a little walk in Battersea Fields177 (The little cousin had been disposed of at church with dear considerate Geraldine) The sun shone brightly, and Plattnauer talked pleasantly so brüderlich [brotherly]! He told me the end of the Romance of Major Tighu and Madame Schmid—178 that is to say the latest news of them. The Major was become “a shepherd on Horseback”— Madame Schmid was on the streets!—(of Melbourne)” sic transit—!179 He told me also how the grande passion between Herr Schüzd and Miss Bell180 had gone—to the dogs utterly—the general recipients of grand passions

“O Waly Waly love is bonnie
A little while when it is new
But when it's auld
It waxeth cauld
And melts awa like morning dew”181

Beautiful verse! sweet and sad, like barley-sugar dissolved in tears! about the “morning dew,” however? I should say goes out like candle snuff would be a truer simile—only that wouldnt suit the rhyme.

After Plattnauer came Countess Pepoli Mr Tait, Mr Barlow, Mrs182 and Miss Anderton, and in the evening we had Fitzgerald who was charming in his genial sleepy way.


This living continually in the presence of a fellowcreature is very trying—a female fellowcreature too and so—what shall I say?—undeveloped! I wouldnt for a great deal, my good little goldenhaired Cousin, that you knew how much you fatigue me!

I took her this forenoon to call with me on Miss Wilson and on the Farrers. Geraldine kindly invited her for the evening.

Another letter from James Baillie183

Meanwhile I read The Polar Star.

1st April

Began the day by making an April fool of the gentleman next door.184 He had defied me. My young Lady off to “the Gulden Lecture”;185 what ever that may be!

Called on Mrs Lowe, who embraced me, and gave me coffee. Walked a good spell today; Thank Heaven my strength is returning.

2d My young Lady in bed till dinner time, ill from her yesterdays fatigues of pleasure hunting. Dr Carlyle and his ward the sailorboy186 at dinner. A most wearing uncomfortable day—Mr C “bilious,” and aggravating. Geraldine gone to Lady Brooke at Sydenham. Young women—that is young Ladies are wonderful upon my honour! It never seems to occur to Maggie that elderly people may have things they like better to do than leading her about. And she makes conversation for me—me! yes and for Mr Carlyle himself, as if she were sure we must like it;




6th !


8th !!

9th ——

10th —— !!!

11th I really couldn't help it! There was no time for you my Journal—poor passive friend! In the mornings there was Maggie to be looked after, and at nights I was so dished! Now I am alone again; I took my little cousin to the Liverpool train the day before yesterday and her sweet good face smiling on me thro' tears as she shot away went to my heart like a remorse. But could I help being so weak and nervous that the continual presence of a fellow creature especially a young lighthearted fellow creature irritated and fagged me beyond measure? all the more that in common kindness I had to repress any outward expression of my feelings!

Today I called on “my Lady”;187 come to town for the season—she was perfectly civil—for a wonder. Today also I lighted on an interesting man.188 It was in our Baker's shop. While the Baker was making out my bill he addressed some counsel to a dark little man with a wooden leg, and a basket of small wares—that made me look at the man to watch its effect on him. “Ill tell you what to do” said this Jesuit of a Baker “go and join some Methodist Chapel for six months; make yourself agreeable to them, and you'll soon have friends that will help you in your object” The man of the wooden leg said not a word, but looked hard in the bakers face, with a half perplexed half amused and wholly disagreeing expression. “Nothing like religion” went on the tempter “for gaining a man friends— Dont you think so Mam”? (catching my eye on him.) “I think said I that whatever this man's object may be he is not likely to be benefited in the long run by constituting himself a hypocrite”! The man's black eyes flashed on me a look of thanks and approbation. “Oh” said the Baker I dont mean him to be a hypocrite—but truly religious you know!”— “If this man will be advised by me, I said, he will keep himself clear of the true religion, that is purposely put on some morning to make himself friends.” “Yes” said the poor man pithily “not that at NO price”!— In my enthusiasm at his answer and the manner of it, I gave him—sixpence! and inquired into his case— He had been a baker for some time—met with an accident and “had to let his leg be taken; after trying for eight years to keep it meanwhile his grandfather died leaving him a small property worth 40£ a year—which he was still kept out of for want of money to prove his right to it. I did not understand the law part of the story; but undertook to get some honest lawyer to look at his papers and give him advice for nothing. I called on Mr Chalmers in the evening and he has promised to do this piece of benevolence for me.

12th Sorted up accounts &c— Called at the Contessa's. Read a Novel called the Ring & the Veil189 till two of the morning— And life is short!

13th Sunday

Walked with Plattnauer in the new Battersea Park.190 Received till dinner time. Geraldine Mr Barlow Mr Tait. Mr Fitzgerald at tea— Mr B told me a new version of the eleventh commandment, “Thou shallt not be found out The Germans make the eleventh commandment Lass dich nicht verblüffen [Thou shalt not be deceived]

14th Lay on the sofa most of the day feeling “too ill for anything”— Nevertheless towards seven o'clock took myself up stairs, and dressed myself very fine, and was driven to Bath House to a dinner party. The Twisletons Milnes ‘The Bear,’ Goldwin Smith191 and Delane. Came home with virtues own reward in shape of a sore throat—my throat fairly made sore by telling Lord A French Criminal Trials all the evening out of a book he hadn't seen. He was so unwell! and since he was there; instead of where he should have been viz: in his bed, I “felt it my duty” to amuse him without letting him talk.192

15th April 1856193

I am really very feeble and ailing at present. And my ailment is of a sort that I understand neither the ways nor outlooks of; so that the positive suffering is complicated with dark apprehensions. Alas, alas and there is nobody I care to tell about it! not one! poor ex-spoilt Child that I am!

To keep up the appearances of being alive is just as much as I can manage. Every day I get up with the wish to do ever so many things; but my wishes are no longer “presentiment of my powers”—if they ever were so! At the days end I find I have merely got thro' it, better or worse; not employed it; all strength for work of any sort being used up in bearing the bodily pressure, without crying out. I am in arrears with even “the needle work of the Family.” In fact, look at it which way I will, I dont see why, If I did die, I should “regret the loss of myself” (as Mr Davis's beggarman said)194


Geraldine and I went to day to St Lukes to witness a Confirmation performed by the Bishop of Oxford.195 Heavens, how well he DID it! Even I was almost touched by the tears in his voice and the adorable tenderness of his exhortation!196


Wrote a long letter to St Thomas;197 in answer to one received from him the other day—such a darling letter! (I mean his not mine)

Went with Geraldine to look at the Marlborough House pictures198 but was too tired and sick to do anything but sit about on chairs. Came home half dead and lay on [on the Sofa till Miss Williams Wynn came to tea; “very much detached;”199 as that Lady generally is now. Hithering and thithering among the Stump-orators of every denominatn; threat—]200 threatening to deteriorate into a mere dingle-doosie in fact!201

18th Baked! Went with Geraldine to see the Chelsea Commission at work on Lord Lucan.202 Could not get near enough to hear. The Commissioners looked very sleepy and Lord Lucan very weary. No wonder! Charles Villiers was siting among the red coats203 looking like Mephistophales. And the back of Lord Lucan's head is bald—hair black. These are all the particulars I gleaned. The large Hall was beautifully carpeted and fitted up for the occasion; and the Table at which the Commissioners sat was covered with a white table cloth; as if for the Lords Supper— How sick I have been all this day! “Be thankful you are not in Purgatory”! (as the Annandale man told his complaining friend)204


Wrote a business letter to Mr Adamson.205 Dragged myself to Sloan Street, to see Mrs Hawks. She looked more suffering than myself; and as usual made melancholy fun of her sufferings. She told me that Mrs Hooper, the Authoress of The House of Raby,206 is going blind. Poor creature! All her faculties needed to make ends meet; and going blind.

Read Miss Mulochs new novel John Halifax207 all the evening. They call it her best book; I find it sickly and rather wearisome.208 The wonder is that the poor young woman can write at all with her body all “gone to smithers”!

20th Sunday

Plattnauer in the morning. I was too poorly for walking with him, so we talked intimately over the fire. Except Geraldine, no other callers. I fell asleep while Geraldine was here and again after she had gone! This weakness is incomprehensible—if I had any person, or any thing to take hold of, and lean my weight on!

Mr Neuberg at tea. But Mr C fled off to Bath House209 and walked him out. I would advise no man to creep into another's favour by making himself “generally useful”; he is sure to get kicked out of it, when the other has got blasé on his subserviency. If one don't like a man for what he is; neither will one ever like him for what he does for one, or gives one. Neither should any man—or woman—get up a quasi-liking for another on the ground of his subserviency—“obligingness”—and that sort of thing; for when the other has gained the end of his subserviency—a certain favour or at least toleration—he tires of being obliging, and sets up for himself, and complains perhaps, like the Colonel, that he is “made a convenience of”!


I feel weaklier everyday; and “my soul is also sore vexed”.— Oh “how long”?

I put myself in an omnibus, being unable to walk, and was carried to Islington and back again. What a good shilling's worth of exercise! The Angel at Islington! It was there I was set down on my first arrival in London; and Mr C with Edward Irving was waiting to receive me.—210 “The past is past; and gone is gone!”

At night I sewed a lace border on the Mexican pocket handkerchief Mrs Arbuckle211 gave me; in the view of wearing it as a head-dress!


I heard a man explaning to another what “the Chelsea Commission” was after “They are trying to find out—and can't, you see, for all they're trying and trying, find out what they have gone and done!”— Ladies take their crochet work to the sittings of the Commission!!

Not up to even a ride in an Omnibus today. Mrs Twisleton came. Speaking of a complication that some people had said should have been righted in this way, and some in that way; “I wonder,” said the little practical woman, “that it never occurs to any body, that in such cases a little self-controul and a little self-denial would keep all straight.”

Miss Farrer dropt in before tea, and meeting Mr Fergus212 staid the evening—

23d The Countess sat an hour with me in the morning. she is sure I “dont eat enough” I could not walk further today than half way to Sloan Square! Oh dear oh dear! this living merely to live is weary work!

24 Soon after breakfast I went by two Omnibuses to Hampstead; with Nero, and a book, and spent several hours sitting on the Heath, and riding in a donkey chair The pleasantest thing I have tried for some time and the fresh wind up there has revived me a little. Mr C told me at dinner that the unlikeliest of all living men to be met in the streets of London had got out of a carriage to speak to him in Piccaddilly, “an iron-grey man, with a bitter smile; who do you think”? “George Rennie”!213 I answered without a moments hesitation. And it was! and how on earth did I divine him? I had not a shadow of reason to believe he was not still Governor of the Falkland Islands!214 Not the shadow of a shadow of reason! And he was not “an iron-grey man” when I had last seen him.

25 while talking philosophy with Mr Barlow today, there drove up a carriage and I heard a voice inquiring if I were at home; which I knew; tho' I had not heard it for ten years!—Mr Barlow I can see is trying to “make Mrs Carlyle out”!215 (dont he wish he may get it?) what he witnessed today must have thrown all his previous observations into the wildest confusion. “The fact of being descended from John Knox216 had explained much in Mrs Carlyle he (Mr Barlow) hadn't (he said to Geraldine) been able to make out.”217 Did it explain for him my sudden change to day, when flinging my accustomed indifference and the “three thousand punctualities”218 to the winds; I sprang into the arms of George Rennie and kissed him a great many times! Oh what a happy meeting! for he was as glad to see me, as I to see him. Oh it has done me so much good this meeting! My bright, whole-hearted, impulsive youth seemed conjured back by his hearty embrace. for certain; my late deadly weakness was conjured away! A spell on my nerves it had been; which dissolved in the unwonted feeling of gladness. I am a different woman this evening! I am well! I am in an atmosphere of home and long ago! George spoke to me of Shandy219 while he caressed Nero! It was only when I looked at his tall Son he brought with him, who takes after his Mother,220 that I could realize the life time that lay between our talks in the drawing room at Haddington, and our talk here in Cheyne Row Chelsea.

Dear me! I shouldnt wonder if I were too excited to sleep, however.


All right! I slept all the better for my little bit of happiness—and I really am strengthened body and soul I have walked more today than anyday these two months George said his wife would call today, to arrange a meeting at their house but she hasn't come.

My poor man of the wooden leg brought tonight his “papers”—(a copy of his Grandfathers will and other documents) to be examined by Mr Chalmers. The result was hopeless. Not a shadow of claim on his part to dispute the present disposition of the property and moreover the property like a highland man's breeches.221 I gave him a shilling and advice to put the thing out of his head, which of course he wont do.


27 All the world has been down at Chelsea today hearing Charles Kingsley preach!—222 Much good may it do them! Kate Sterling came from him here, and then Mrs Wedgwood.

Kate came to bid me farewell— She will be Mrs Ross when we next meet,223 D V [Deo volente: God willing]— (There being as Venables remarked, “two D—'s)—224 She went off without a symptom of emotion—was that well? or ill?—at all rates it is well that if she have no “finer sensibilities”225 she do not pretend to any.


Mrs George Rennie came to insist on our dining with them on the 7th May. Would send the Brougham for us—and it should take us after to our soirée at Bath House. In short it was dining made easy—and Mr C said finally, with inward curses, that “there was no refusing her” She looks very well, and was kind in her cold formal way. I had been fretting over the need of a new dress for the Bath House affair; but now I went after it with alacrity. George should see that the smart girl of his Provence226 wasn't become a dowdy among London women of “a certain age.”—

dined at Forsters. The two Mr Speddings there.227 A slow dinner.


Walked a good spell today. Called at Bath House.

30th Walked to Alabasters and bought a bonnet. and took some things to be framed at Watsons—228 dined at the Wedgwoods. such a large party; “distinguished females” “not a few”! Mrs Gaskell229 said; “Mrs Carlyle! I am astonished to meet you here; Miss Jewsbury told me last week she thought you dying” “She was right”; I said, and there our discourse ended. “I do not like thee Dr Fell, The reason why &c &c”—230 What is that quality in the skins of some women, both in pictures and in real life which always suggests nakedness—striptness? Mrs G for instance reminds me always of a servant girl who has pulled of her gown to scrub her neck at the pump!

1st May

such a first of May for bitter cold! All day in the house, shivering. Lady Stanley and her Mother231 came—and we engaged to go to Lady S's party on Saturday night.— When I had sent off for Mrs Strachan to consult about new trimming my white silk gown; I reminded myself of the “Bairns” of the “wee wifie that lived in a shoe”

“She went to the Butcher to buy a sheep's head
When she came back they were all lying dead
She went to the Wright's to order a coffin
When she came back they were all sitting laughing!”232
Last week I was all for dying; this week all for ball dresses!

— — — — — — — — — — — —

— — — — — — — — — — — —

15th May—Alack!—hiatus of a whole fortnight! for no particular reason; only a general indisposition to do anything today that could possibly be put off till tomorrow. Perhaps it is a symptom of returning health this almighty indolence; or is it a premonitory symptom of apoplexy? I'm sure I don't know; and sometimes don't care.

Our dinner at the Rennies' was like everything looked forward to with pleasure an entire failure! The Past stood aloof; looking mournfully down on me while the clatter of knives and forks, the babble of the guests, and the tramping of waiters confused my soul and senses. It was a London dinnerparty! voilà tout! [that's all] And the recollection, which I could not rid myself of, that the gentlemanly “iron-grey” man who as Landlord offered me “roast duck” and other “delicacies of the season” had been my Lover,—my fiancé—once on a time—served only to make me shy, and in consequence stupid; And it was a relief when Ruskin called for us, to go to a great soirée at Bath House. There I found my tongue—and used it. “not wisely, but too well.”233 There too I felt myself remarkably well dressed— At the Rennies I was always pulling my scarf up to my throat, with a painful consciousness of being over smart—

No other party since except a little early tea-party at Geraldines where I met, for the first time Mrs de Winton Authoress of Margaret & her Bridesmaids.234 I have not for years seen a woman who so captivated me at first sight; or indeed at any number of sights. There is a charm of perfect naturalness about her that is irresistable. When she went out of the room I felt quite lostlike to cry!— I said to Geraldine when she returned from seeing her off “what an adorable woman!” Geraldine burst out laughing and said her (Mrs de Wintons) remark on me had been “I could adore that woman”!— I might well tell Mr Ross when he spoke of his first “remarkably disagreeable” impression of myself: “of course—these things, you know are always mutual”!

I must see her again; tho chi sa [who knows]? perhaps it were better not!

Thomas Erskine writes to me that poor Betty's son is dying—her only son!235 Another reason why I should make an effort to get to Scotland this Autumn—the sight of “her bairn” might comfort her a little

Mr Kneighton236 told us last night that when Sir Charles Napier237 was about going to India a person was dispatched to his house late one evening to tell him it was of the greatest importance he should start soon; “when did he think he could be ready” “Let me see” said Sir Charles taking out his watch, “what time it is now—well— I can be ready in half an hour—will that do.” And he spoke in perfect good faith. The messenger smiled and told him he believed a fortnight hence was as soon as he was expected to go.

What a capital man!238 it reminded me of my Father, who was just as prompt—nay would probably have said “in a quarter of an hour”!


Remarkable for being the day of my second Oratorio! Oh goodness me! how my sensibility to music must have diminished, or how my sense of “the fitness of things” must have increased, since my first Oratorio in Edinr Old Parliament House! Jeptha's daughter in The Parliament House239 carried me away—away into the spheres! at the first crash of the chorus, I recollect a sensation, as of cold water poured down my back which grew into a positive physical cramp! The Messiah at Exeter House,240 tho' perfectly got up—“given,” they call it—left me calm and critical on my rather hard bench; and instead of imaginary cold water I felt stifled by the real heat—of the place! Geraldine said her sister (“the religious Miss Jewsbury”—241 in contradistinction from Geraldine)” wouldn't let her go to the Messiah when a girl, because “people she thought, who really believed in their Saviour would not go to hear singing about him.” I am quite of the religious Miss Jewsbury's mind. Singing about him with shakes, and white gloves and all that sort of thing, quite shocked my religious feelings; tho' I have no religion. Geraldine did a good deal of emotional weeping at my side; and it was all I could do to keep myself from shaking her and saying “come out of that”! For my share, I was more in sympathy with the Piper's cow!

“The cow considered wi' hersel
Music would ne'er fill her.
Gie me a lock of wheat strae
And sell ye'r wind for siller.”242

Such a set of ugly creatures as the Chorus women I never did see! I grew so sorry for them, reflecting that each had a life of her own, that perhaps “somebody loved that pig”243 that if I had had any tears in me at the moment, I should have cried for them all packed there like Herrings in a barrel into one mass of sound!

I am afraid it is a truth what Madame Malbére the Milliner,244 said of me to Geraldine; “Vraiment, votre ami Madame Carlyle est trop defecile” [Truly your friend Mrs. Carlyle is too hard to please].

17th— Kate Sterlings Marriage-day—poor girl!— And it has thundered and it has hailed and it has pourd. My most interesting occupation reading Palmers Trial245

18th (Sunday)

Mrs de Winton came to lunch here by invitation. Mr C being to spend the day at Addiscombe I had taken the liberty of inviting her! Perhaps I shall go this summer to visit her at her Castle in Wales.246 She has asked Geraldine and me, for a long visit. Geraldine came with her and staid all day. and we had Mr Munro,247 Mr Tait, Edward Stirling and George Cook248 here all at once. Now, there is not a sound in the house but the ticking of the clock— Anne out—and Mr C not to be home till tomorrow.

Double line of centered em dashes

29th Day of the Celebration of the Peace—249 Nothing written then here since the 18th! And yet there has been “nothing very particular to prevent me.” Only general debility and despair! Only!

I went to Richmond one day—and caught a fresh cold which has made an inroad on the poor strength I had left—so that I have been, and still am little up to “distracting myself” with walking and visiting. Old Mrs Dermot250 said to me the other day when I encountered her after 2 years— “Yes Mam my daughter is dead!— Only Child, House and everything gone from me! and I assure you I stand up in the world as if it wasn't the world at all, any more, I understood that odd expression so well! Palmer is convicted after a horridly interesting Trial lasting twelve days. From first to last he has preserved the most wonderful coolness, forcing a certain admiration from one, Murderer tho' he be! Mr Barlow says “nine tenths of the misery of human life proceeds, acording to his observation from The Institution of Marriage!” He should say from the demoralization—the desecration of the Institution of Marriage and then I should cordially agree with him.251 Colonel Sterling is returned for good—may he be happy with his friends and they with him! for me; I am no longer his friend. and, alas for him, neither am I his enemy— I am simply and honestly indifferent to him.

Went, well muffled up, in a cab to Bath House to see the fireworks,252 and saw them as well as they could be seen. But of all spectacles fireworks are the most unsatisfactory to me—the uppermost feeling is always “what a waste”!—of money of time, of human ingenuity and labour and of—means of destruction! The spectacle while it lasts gratifies no sense but the eyesight—and then it is so transitory—and there remains of it nothing! Francis Baring said every rocket that went up the only reflection he made to himself was; “there goes half-a crown!”—253 Mr Carlyle compared the fireworks to “Parliamentary-eloquence.” The thing that pleased me most in the whole business was a clear broad light that from time to time spread over the street underneath and the swarm of people in it—and the neighbouring buildings—and the demon-like little figures moving about in the Park, kindling the fire works; it was a thing to paint if one had been a Cuyp.254

30th Too cold “for anything” Mrs George here in the forenoon—and Mrs Gaskell later— Dr Carlyle presented himself at tea time. A most useless tiresome day.

31st Countess Pepoli came at twelve “with a fly” and her sister's footman to boot,255 and invited me to a drive about the streets. I went and waited at various shopdoors while she did her shopping and took the opportunity,256

[1 June. Sunday. Allingham “staid a long while telling”]257 me all about himself. But that is a sort of thing I am getting used to, and which every woman must get used to, I suppose, when she has become elderly—decidedly. When I was young and charming; men asked me about myself, and listened with interest real or pretended to whatever I pleased to tell them—Now they compensate to themselves for the want of charm in my company by using me up as a listener to their egotism. A woman who will accept and exploit that rôle may still exercise an influence—of a sort. and if she cannot do without influence with men she had better accept it. For my part I think “the game isn't worth the candle.”258 At least that is my profound belief tonight after my dose of Mr Allingham's early difficulties with an un-poetical Father and an ill-tempered Step mother,259 and an unsympathizing public. The man whom every body calls “George Cook”260 came as Allingham went, and he, to do him justice, talked very pleasantly on “things in general,”—but then, it was but his second visit, and he had still to make his place good. He staid two hours and a half! not busy, it would seem!261

6th262 Lunched at Darwin's—who drove me to call at Mrs Rennie's and Lady Broke's.263


18th Another break! on the 7th went to Addiscombe and stayed till the 11th. The place in full bloom and her Ladyship affable! Why? What is in the wind now? As usual at that beautiful place, I couldnt sleep.264

Last Sunday George Rennie called. We talked about prayer (the “impertinence” of it according to George) about Palmer, finally “launched into Eternity,”265 (as the phrase is), and about the prospects of War with America!266 Nice topics for dear friends meeting after a dozen years!

This morning 18th I got up with a dertmination [determination] to “make an effort,” at least; and achieved a short walk before breakfast—sorted about in drawers and presses. I am like the old Manchester woman267 who “could never kneel down comfortable to say her prayers, till she had swept the floor and whitened the hearth, and given herself a good wash.” The first thing with me always, when I “take a notion” of living a more “purpose like” life, is to make a general “ridding up” of my drawers and presses &c!

Dined at the Pepolis'—a Mrs Hughes268 and Mr Fergus the only company.

19th. Baked—with interruptions, first dear little diamond eyed Mrs Twisleton came to say goodbye—for this season. Then Mr Barlow. Both these said beautiful things to me—things equally flattering “to my head and hort,269 but no flatteries stick just now. It is as much as I can do to let alone answering like C's Father, short and grim, “I don't believe thee”!

Dined at old Mr Richardsons.270 A pleasant party as parties go. The Milmans. Aldersons Lord Minto, (eyes much too close) Dr Lushington;271 and a good many intelligent looking men dropt in after dinner, besides Mary Stanley of Crimean notoriety (a very considerable of a goose I think)272 and a Miss Lushington, whom I asked, “Who is that old gentleman who talks in such pathetical tones, they called him Judge of the Ecclesiastical Court; but what is his name?” “Oh—that is my Father!273



A thunder-showery day—did some trifle of needlework and finished Laportes Memoirs of his Valetship—274 A short walk with Geraldine— A call from Darwin— Oh— I had nearly forgotten the one bit of amiability I have done for weeks. I wrote a little complimentary letter to Miss Kelly or Kelty,275 the unseen old Governess, who sends me from time to time a little book “all out of her own head.” Poor lonely old soul! this time she has burst out into poems!Waters of Comfort” so-called! for the ‘Comfort’ it may be strongly doubted; tho' nobody can deny the ‘Water’; but the fact of a lonely old exGoverness pouring herself out in Waters (even only meant to be) “of Comfort” at an age when most of us harden into flint, or crumble into dry dust, is of itself beautiful and touching! And I wrote to tell her this, as I know she is very sensible to sympathy

21st The contessa276 made me a very morning call, and a very kind one. She is a truehearted woman Elizabeth Pepoli, and I am wrong not to cultivate her more.

As she took her departure a message came that “Miss Jewsbury and the Bishop277 were waiting for me.” Oh my Stars! how boring is this intrigue with nothing in it of anything that constitutes an intrigue but the mystery!—boring and ridiculous! If Mr C had let the poor old ugly man come here in peace278 I might have sewed while he stayed, or otherwise enlivened our talk. Went all three for what the people here call a ride on the water in a steamboat. Landing at Paul's Way279 we were caught in the rain, and I returned by myself in the cabin of the next boat, prefering being stifled to being soaked—under the circumstances.

Dished for the rest of the day

22d (Sunday).

Saffi, George Rennie and his son, Geraldine George Cook and Edward Sterling in the forenoon; Dr Carlyle Mr Allingham, Tom Taylor and his wife and Geraldine (again) in the evening. If that isn't society enough for one day!

Today is the first time I have felt natural with George Rennie the presence of Geraldine helped to give me possession of my present self. He looked at me once as if he were thinking I talked rather well. In the old times we never thought about how one another talked nor about how oneself talked! one had things to say and said them, just!


Did a little mending. Called at Bath House— “Ladyship “gone in the carriage to Addiscombe” Called at Grosvenor Street “Lady ship280 gone in the carriage to Norwood”; came thro' Wardour Street281 and flung away 18 shillings on a piece of nonsense! Mr Barlow left me a pretty German Bible in my absence— Miss Farrer told Geraldine today that whenever she mentioned my name to the Colonel his exclamation was “if she would only leave me in Peace! I desire nothing but that she would leave me in peace!” Can there be a phantom of me haunting the poor man? for as for my living self; I have left him in the most unmitigated peace these three months—taken no more notice of him than if he were dead and buried! He has dropt into the place in my mind appropriated to ‘shot rubbish’—and may lie quite undisturbed there for any chance there is of my raking him up!—282


At Kensington Palace to see the old German Picture. Mr and Mrs Barlow had assembled quite a Party. We had tea after, some of us, in Mr Barlows appartments.283 Mrs Grove284 whom I there met for the first time drove Geraldine and me home. At night Mr C and I went to a small very family party at Lady Charlotte Portal's285 I like that Lady better than any aristocratic young Lady I have yet seen. She has a sort of look of what I remember my Mother in my childhood286—complexion like a rose-leaf: but her eyes are poor in comparison with my Mothers. She is a decidedly human woman, She said “I cant speak to Lady Ashburton; it isn't that I am afraid of her cleverness— I have known cleverer people that did not produce that impression on me. but if I were merely wishing to say to her “I have enjoyed my visit,” or “thank you for your kindness,” it would stick in my throat

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Grace Welsh (ca. 1813) From a drawing by Jane Baillie Welsh

Reproduced by permission of Joan Gillan


[26th. The chief interest of today expressed in bluemarks on my wrists!]287


Went with Geraldine to Hampstead; preferring to be broiled on a heath to being broiled in Cheyne Row. dined at the Spaniard,288 and came home to tea—dead weary, and a good many shillings out of pocket.


Dined at Lord Goderich's with Sir Colin Campbell whom I hadnt seen for some fifteen years.289 He is not much of a Hero that; he may be a [he may be a brave man, and a clever man at his trade; but beyond soldiering he knows nothing, and is nothing I think. In fact Heroes are very scarce.]290 In fact, Heros are very scarce

29th (Sunday).

Nobody but Geraldine this forenoon. In the evening I was surprised by the apparition of Mrs Newton, just arrived from the East.291 Nobody need complain now that she looks “too handsome and Ladylike” for her calling. She is as like a “Monthly Nurse as if she had been born and bred to it! Stout, coarse active looking and with an eye that struck fire when speaking of her “enemies.”292


Lunched with Miss Williams Wynne and then to Stokes293 to get a tooth filled He spoke to me of Mrs Tierney's marriage on which Annie Farrer294 had been strangely communicative to him. I expressed my disgust at selling oneselfso cheap! “Ah yes Mrs Carlyle” said the Dentist “but you are a Lady of such exquisite feeling”! at the moment, he was probing the nerve of my tooth! I wanted to say “Oh yes, my feeling is exquisite enough just now indeed”! And my mouth was gagged with295 his fingers!

1st July

Went in an omnibus to Coutts's Bank to pay my rent. Returned on foot, stopping in Pall Mall to pay the fire insurance. “How provoking it is, I said to the man, to be paying all this money every year, when one never has anything burnt.” “Well Mam, said the Man, you can set fire to your house and see how you like it.”

Called in at Mrs Farrers and heard a good deal of insincere speech—about the Colonel, &c

At two parties this evening.296

4th297> Called for Mrs Montagu who is “breaking up” they say. but her figure is erect and her bearing indomitable as ever. “the Noble Lady” to the last! Browning came while I was there and dropt on one knee and kissed her hand, with a fervour! and I have heard Browning speak slightingly of Mrs Montague. To my mind Browning is a considerable of “a fluff of feathers”298 in spite of his cleverness, which is undeniable. He kissed my hand too with a fervour and I wouldnt give sixpence for his regard for me.299 Heigho, what a world of vain show one walks in! how cold and hard I get to feel in it. Sir Colin Campbell came in the evening, and even he, great Crimean Hero left me cold! “Simple” they call him—I dont believe it. he is full of soft swader300 as an egg is full of meat!

5th spent the forenoon reading in Battersea Fields.

In the evening alone, as usual, A very sick and sad day with me; like many that have gone before and many that will come after if I live to the age that the Prophetess foretold for me 72.301

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