October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


JWC TO ELIZA STODART; 9 March 1833; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18330309-JWC-EA-01; CL 6:340-342.


[9 March 1833]

My Beloved Cousin

It would have been hard to conjecture how the flight of Sapio the Singer1 to the Abbey could produce any perceptible effect on the destinies of Thomas Carlyle and his amiable and excellent wife! Yet so strangely are things woven and warped together in this world— We who never saw Mr Sapio with our eyes, or heard him with our ears are proved to have had a lively interest in his running in debt— the consequence of which has been his running to the Abbey2— and the consequence of his running to the Abbey has been the evacuation of a furnished house belonging to my old schoolfellow Mrs Blacky— and the consequence of the evacuation of the furnished house, has been an offer on the party of Mrs Blacky of the said house to me at any rent I liked— and the consequence of the offer has been my acceptance of the same—and thus thro the intervention of Mr Sapio or rather, to go to the root of the matter, of the Devil who tempted Mr Sapio—we find ourselves on the eve of removing to No 4 Great King Street—with the blessed prospect of remaining in Town two months longer than the appointed time—and what may be the consequence of our remaining so long—no Mortal can predict!

Our charming young friend up stairs has been creating such an infernal disturbance of late that we were resolved should any resourse [sic] present itself to leave her the house to herself— Accordingly, so soon as I had heard of and seen the Kingstreet floor and found that we could make it do I dispatch[ed] a highly diplomatic note to Mrs Colquhoun stating our grievance and “making no doubt that she would allow our agreement to terminate at the end of the present week.” The Lady called next day—I was out but Carlyle received her—she was in the most accommodating mood—“we were quite at Liberty to leave whenever it suited us”— She made no secret of her participation in the Matter—“She was quite aware of the night-noises” “Had left the house in consequence of having such disagreeable and disreputable Neighbours!” So you and I know what to do dear when we happen to have a house we can no longer occupy ourselves—just swear it is all right and tight and let it to some innocent third party—

No further word from Templand—I wrote again today— It is not so much matter now when she3 comes—but no thanks to her for the respite.

We are invited to dine at your Cousins John's4 on Friday— I must send an apology to the Thomson's5 tonight— I have been very ill for two days. on Thursday Night the pain in my head was so intense that I fainted entirely away under it—

But “it will not be permanent” as Carlyle tells me— as if I could fancy it would be permanent without instan[t]ly cutting my throat—

I am sorry to leave this sweet neighbourhood and nice well aired house— But “what could the fellow do Sir”?6 just that night I was so ill— there was a bacchanalian party over me till three in the Morning[.] I wonder if Mr Sapio has left any bugs behind him? that is my next terror—

I went into a sale of furniture the other day and partly for the fun of hearing myself bid— I bade for an easy chair— and to my infinite surprise it was knocked down to me at 17 shillings— For a moment I was pleased with my bargain when my Aunt Ann7 asked “God bless me Jeanie what do you want with that[?] are you sure there are no bugs in it?” a mortal fright came over me, but just then a Lady thought proper to affirm that she also had bade 17/ for the chair—and according to the rules of the sale it must be put up again—next time I was more prudent and kept my tongue quiet—and saw the foolish people bid it up to 28/-

Did I leave one of my bracelets at the Square8—if not I lost it on the road home—the more's the pity— Mr Fletcher9 was here the other day—very charming— “Mrs Davidson10 from the Country”—! just the old compound of levity and sentimentality[.] I like Cooper[']s Novels— Jeffrey writes to me that he has seen Harriet Martineau and does not like her at all— “first because she is most excessively ugly— a[nd] secondly because there is nobody good enough for her to admire”—not even himself I presume11— And now God bless you— Love to your Uncle—Your affectionate

Jane W Carlyle

18 Carlton Street