October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 18 July 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570718-JWC-TC-01; CL 32: 188-189


Sunny Bank—Saturday 18th July [1857]

Ach! my Dear! Let him, especially her, “who standeth on the house-top1 &c &c”!— Since writing to you how well I was; I have demonstrated the truth of Miss Jess's observation that I was “as easy as possible to over-set.” Returning from putting that letter in the post office, I was caught in the rain—and rather damped—that was all! for it was just a few drops, to save the honour of St Swithin2— Well—the consequence was that I took cold in my head and passed the whole night in such agony of—what used to be called toothache—but now goes by the name of “Tick” or “Neuralgia,”—as I never experienced before in all my life! not only I couldn't close my eyes, but I couldn't lie in my bed— Tho I applied chloroform—to the verge of danger; it did not relieve me in the least! about five in the morning I took a blue pill!— —and finally the pain left me suddenly, just when it was time to dress and come down to breakfast! How “overset” I was all yesterday, by the fierce pain I had suffered and the want of sleep, and, worst of all, (I think) the chloroform I had swallowed, I cannot describe.—I was not even up to my usual drive! Last night I was quite free from pain, and slept, by snatches; but I am very weak in body and mind—would rather like to be in my own bed at Chelsea!— Not that I lack any comfort here I could have there—and certainly I am more MADE OF here than I should be anywhere else in the world! but that very MAKING OF worries, when one has got disused to it.

But really, if I have nothing to tell you but this sort of Peesweep-thing, it were as well to let alone writing— And you cannot get a letter tomorrow in any case— Only—I thought if I posted one today, you would get it the first thing on Monday morning.

Eliza3 does not arrive till next Wednesday which is certainly very good of her. And I dont think I shall leave here till the week following— At the least allusion to my departure, my dear old friends fall to fluttering on their chairs, like birds frightened in their nests—and utter such plaintive almost sobbing protests, that I havnt the heart to pursue the subject. So it still rests in the vague, the day of my departure.

While I was feeling to be gaining strength—I was easy in my mind about leaving you alone— It was more important for you to avoid a repetition of my last winter's illness or worse—than to be a little solitary and even a little put about by my absence at present—but these two last days I am always thinking, “IF I have taken this long expensive journey—and left things at home to Providence, for no permanent benefit to my health, which would reflect itself on “others”!— if!”— And then I assure you I am tempted to “drop a tear over myself” like Peesweep—4

Yours affly JWC 5