A Celebration of Women Writers

"Vol. I (Section 3)."
From: New Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle (London and New York: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1893) ed. Alexander Carlyle.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 156] 


To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.

Chelsea, Monday, 27 Dec., '1844.'

My dearest Mrs. Russell - I send a money Order for a sovereign, and I know you will not grudge the trouble I impose on you. I send also a collar for Margaret and a worsted handkerchief for old Mary. Such handkerchiefs are probably more common in Thornhill than in London; but Mary will find one sent to her all the way from London and direct from me, infinitely superior to a better bought at her own door. And old Mary is not the only person in this world who thinks that "far fowls have fair feathers."

I have still to thank you for your last interesting Letter. If you only knew with what eagerness I read all sorts of news about Thornhill, you would think nothing that happens there too insignificant to tell me.

Here we are going on as usual, except that for the last five weeks I have been shut up in the house, having speedily fallen a victim to "the inclemency of the season." But I am now so far recovered that I feel no other inconvenience from my illness but some cough, which hinders me from breathing with all the freedom I would wish, and for which, besides keeping me in the house, I "feel it my duty" to breakfast in bed, - a thing I mortally dislike doing, as it knocks the eye out of one's day. Another inconvenience I may mention, which you, a good housewife, will sympathise with me in, viz.: that I find myself running out of everything, even to tapes and threads. My Husband, not being one of those ladies' men who can do my shopping for [Page 157]  me, and there being no one else at hand just now to do it! My Husband truly would almost as soon have an affair with a mad dog as with a Cockney shopman! To such a pitch of sacred horror had he brought this reluctance that I used to have to order even his own coats and trousers at the tailor's! till some four years ago that being sent to choose him a coat I chose one sky-blue with glorious yellow buttons, which made him "an ornament to society in every direction," and quite shook his faith in my judgement, he said, so far at least as the dressing of him was concerned. Since then he has bought his own clothes very nicely, for it was not the want of judgement which hindered him so much as the want of will. Nay, the other day he had the incredible audacity to buy me a cloak for a Christmas present! And a very world-like cloak it is, I assure you: warm and sober, and a good shape! So in case of necessity he may even by and by learn to buy tapes and threads.

I had a Letter from Liverpool the other day, with good enough accounts of my Uncle. He seems to be standing this Winter better than he did the last. Jeannie and Maggie are gone to Glasgow, and will soon, I suppose, return home. You did not tell me anything about Margaret Hiddlestone in your last Letter. Let me know how she is going on, and if her little girls grow rapidly big. I never renounce the idea of having her about me some time or other if we both live long enough. At all events, she must bring up one of her little Daughters to take care of me when I am old[1]! should I live to be old, which, to say the truth, I do [Page 158]  not think very probable. I have still the same little Helen for servant, who tugs on better or worse; never within many degrees of being a perfect maid-of-all-work; but tolerable on the whole; and I always go on keeping her longer, chiefly because I have kept her so long.

What is your Husband saying to this new Gospel of Animal Magnetism? We here are sick of hearing about it. Harriet Martineau expects that the whole system of Medicine is going to be flung to the dogs presently; and that henceforth, instead of Physicians, we are to have Magnetisers! May be so; but "I as one solitary individual" (my Husband's favourite phrase) will in that case prefer my sickness to the cure. One knows that sickness, at all events, comes from God; and is not at all sure that such cure does not come from the Devil. The wonder is that sensible people who have heard tell, ever since they were born, of Witchcraft and Demoniacal possession, and all that sort of thing, should all at once fall to singing Te Deums over Magnetism as if it were a new revelation! Nay, anybody that had ever seen a child tickled might have recognised the principle of Animal Magnetism without going further!

Ever yours affectionately,



To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.

Chelsea, 12 July, 1845.

My dearest Mrs. Russell - I wonder how you are all going on at Thornhill, it is so long that I have had no [Page 159]  news of you. Do write: there is nothing you ever tell me that is not deeply interesting; there is not a tree or a stone about Thornhill that I should not like to hear about, never to speak of the people!

For us here, we go on in much the old fashion: my Husband always writing, I always ailing, which is perhaps the most laborious business of the two, tho' yielding less result. I was confined four months to the house during Winter and Spring, taking care of a cough; but it went when the warm weather came. Since then, however, I have never felt to have got back my usual limited amount of strength and spirits; so I am going to try what people call a "change." My Husband is going to Scotsbrig, so soon as his weary Book[1] is completed, - which he expects will be in the course of next month, - and he has been very urgent on me to go to Scotland also, and even without waiting his time, which will be rather late in the season. But I do not fancy the object of my going from home would be attained by encountering so much painful emotion as a visit to a country made so desolate for me would excite. I have tried to bring my mind to it, but it will not do. So I am going to Liverpool some ten days hence; and then to Seaforth, a place in the neighbourhood belonging to a favourite friend of mine[2]; where I enjoy the inestimable advantage of being let alone. My Uncle and Jeannie start for Helensburgh again on the 1st of August and would have had me go there with them; but on one hand there was the sea voyage which occasions me such [Page 160]  horrible suffering that only the hope of seeing my Mother at the end of it ever could make me undertake it; - or if I went by land I must have passed thro' Dumfriesshire, staid some days at Scotsbrig; and the notion of all that was too sad. If there were any positive duty to be accomplished by going to Scotland, I hope I would not be so weak as to let the pain of it withhold me. But going there merely to recover my strength and spirits! No, no, it would be labour worse than lost.

I had my Uncle Robert's eldest son here for two or three weeks lately. He wrote me a Letter about "natural affection" and all that soft of thing, which was taking me on my weak side; and as he stated moreover his intention of coming to see London, I was simple enough to invite him unknown and unseen to take up his quarters here, - tho' pretty well aware in the secret of my heart that the sudden development of his "natural affection" for me had just this for its object, to get himself invited! And so he came; and in my life, I was never more thankful when a visit ended. For a young gentleman full of self-complacency and Edinburgh logic, and without the faculty of being still for two minutes of his existence, was no joke in a household like ours. He is not a bad fellow at heart, nor stupid; but he has grown up in the idea that he cannot possibly be de trop in any environment; and that his pleasure is to be the law of the Universe - so far as he can make it so - and his opinion the dominant opinion of the times! Then he was out and in, in and out, at all hours, like a dingle-doosy![1] sight-seeing, alas, by night as well [Page 161]  as by day, and taking it as the most natural thing that I should sit up for him night after night till two in the morning, while he frequented the House of Parliament, the Theatres and what not! Oh Heaven defend me thro' all coming time from young gentlemen educated in Edinburgh, who come to London to see sights! Hating sights myself, I have no sympathy with the passion some people put into seeing them.

I saw a very curious sight the other night, the only one I have been to for a long while, viz.: some thousands of the grandest and most cultivated people in England all gazing in ecstacy, and applauding to death, over a woman, not even pretty, balancing herself on the extreme point of one great-toe, and stretching the other foot high into the air, - much higher than decency ever dreamt of! It was Taglioni, our chief dancer at the Opera; and this is her chief feat, repeated over and over to weariness, - at least to my weariness. But Duchesses were flinging bouquets at her feet; and not a man (except Carlyle) who did not seem disposed to fling himself. I counted twenty-five bouquets! But what of that? The Empress of all the Russias once, in a fit of enthusiasm, flung her diamond bracelet at the feet of this same Taglioni - "Virtue its own reward" (in this world)? Dancing is, and singing, and some other things still more frivolous; but for Virtue? "it may be strongly doubted" (as Edinburgh people say to everything one tells them).

Monday is my birthday; how fast they come, these birthdays of mine! and how little are they marked by any good done! I cannot even balance myself on the point [Page 162]  of my great-toe! but that perhaps is not much to be regretted. - I send remembrance for Mary and Margaret; - for Mary tea, - to Margaret perhaps you had better give the money, in case she might like some other little thing better.

God bless you, dearest Mrs. Russell, - you and all that belong to you. My gratitude for your kindness to my Mother in her last days, is as strong now as it was in the first moment I read that Letter in which she so touchingly expressed her gratitude to you and your Husband. May your kindness to her be returned to you when you most need it!

Ever your affectionate



To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Seaforth, Wednesday, 20 Augt., 1845.

My dear Husband - I "did intend" that you should have had plenty of Letter to-day, but the pigs have run through it - and be hanged to them. A Letter has come from Jeannie, which I have had to answer in the first instance, and the post leaves so ridiculously early. Jeannie might have waited so far as she herself was concerned, so that my Good had the benefit of her waiting. In her present apathetic phasis anything like "anxiety" might have been a wholesome emotion for her; but my Uncle had taken it into his head to be anxious about me, and had ordered her to beg that I would send "one line," which of course means many, [Page 163]  and my Uncle takes impatience after the true Welsh fashion, - so as to be tormented with it himself, and to torment everybody about him. Besides he is an old man, and my one Uncle, and very fond of me withal. So I have written them a satisfactory Letter, and my Good must content himself with a hasty one.

This is the Fencham day[1] and according to use and wont I have broken down, - thanks to Geraldine chiefly, who put me into such a passion yesterday afternoon, when "for reasons which it may be interesting not to state," a passion was peculiarly hurtful to me, that I could not sleep for hours after I went to bed, - the first sleepless night I have had since I came here. Up to yesterday she had behaved like an angel; but verily yesterday she "had a devil," and, as usual selected me for the object of her fury, "because," as she tells me when it is over, she "loves me better than all the rest of the world put together!" I had my experience of last year to guide me in this last emergence. Ignoring her impertinence then only served to prolong it for three days; so this time I put her down par vive force. So long as she merely cried and sulked in rooms by herself, looking daggers at me whenever I appeared, I took no notice; but when she set herself down beside Mrs. Paulet and me in the evening, and fell to speaking at me the most inconceivable rudenesses, I rose up abruptly and said in a good hearty rage, "Geraldine, until you can behave like a gentlewoman, if not like [Page 164]  a woman of common-sense, I cannot possibly remain in the same room with you," and walked off to the Library. Mrs. Paulet also left her. And in half an hour's time she came to me drenched in tears, and making the humblest apologies. I had "hurt her feelings" in the morning; she could not say how; if I "were told ever so particularly" I "could not understand it; nor Mrs. Paulet either: it was a something in your manner that grated on my soul!" When I saw her penitent I felt no more angry, but I told her that I could not pretend to feel towards her exactly as if this new folly had not occurred. This morning she has been making new apologies such as I really could not bring myself to make, except to God Almighty; and caressing me with kisses and tears. Decidedly she is more "powerful" in the Christian virtue of humility than I am! - But all that does not give me back the sleep I lost thro' having had to get in a rage. Now, as I do not sleep the first night in a new place, and felt little mission for doing a glass-manufactory to-day, I took the resolution to stay at home provided the rest would go without me. And Mrs. Paulet always does the really polite thing, - lets one have one's way whatever that may be.

The "pierced Letter" you sent on Sunday was nothing less than a Plague-letter from Cairo - from the Egyptian, of all people on earth! He writes to express his "favourable sentiment," and to continue (with "the reciprocity all on one side") the conversation "memorable" which he held with me at his last visit; and to [Page 165]  request with due modesty that I would write a Book on "femme, dégagee de toute influence masculine quelle qu'elle puisse être!!!" He demands also "des nouvelles de l'excellent Monsieur Carlyle à que vous prie de faire agréer mes salutations les plus affectieux. Parmi mes amis il y a beaucoup de personnes qui le connaissent maintenant et leur admiration lui est acquise!" If your head can stand that it must be superhumanly strong! ...

I was sitting at dinner, alongside of Geraldine, when your packet came that day; and as she keeps a sharp lookout on everyone's correspondence, she recognised first the Letter of the Egyptian, her declared lover for the moment, and then the other; while I was innocently reading your Letter, thinking only of that, I was startled by Mrs. Paulet exclaiming "Miss Jewsbury, what have you, in the name of God?" She had turned first pale as milk and then all over crimson; while her eyes were fixed on the Egyptian's Letter as if reading it thro' clairvoyance! "Who can that be from," said I. "I can tell you," gasped Geraldine: "it is from the Egyptian, and why he should have written to you instead of to me is a mystery I cannot pretend to fathom." "And now, can you tell me who that is from," said I, handing her Robertson's Note, which had no signature as usual, and I could not for the moment tell whose handwriting it was, - only that I ought to have known. "Yes, it is from Robertson." The whole of us even to little "Pup" burst into laughter - such a complication! Next day she also had a Letter from her Egyptian, but it was short "because he had spent all his time in [Page 166]  writing to Mrs. Carlyle." We fancy this "because" was at the bottom of the phrenzy of yesterday. "I could understand," said Mr. Paulet, "that if I made much courtship to a particular lady my Wife might be jealous; but to be jealous of a little old decrepit glass-eyed Egyptian with one Wife already! - that I can not understand!" -

Your Own



To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Seaforth House, '22 August, 1845.

Dearest - I was [in my last] going to tell you that if you came here, Mr. Martineau will show you something we fancy you might like to see - Oliver Cromwell's Writing-desk, "perfectly authenticated" - a queer old wainscot thing ornamented with plates of gold. It belonged to Charles I. originally, then came into the possession of Cromwell, and was again given by him to Ireton, whose name is on it. It is now the glory of one Dr. Shepherd.

What do you think now about coming here on your way to Scotland? I can answer for the strong desire to have you and to entertain you like Beauty in the Castle of the Beast!

"Speak your wishes, speak your will,
Swift obedience meets you still."

I fancy you might spend a few days here, - until you were "detected,"[1] - agreeably enough. Nevertheless, I would [Page 167]  not have you put the least force on yourself to do it by way of obliging me, Only if you are not coming I must know in time to spend some days at home with you before you leave. I have already been absent a month past on Thursday. They are not tired of me here nor I of them: I could remain another week or two in expectation of your coming; but if I am not to have a deliberate view of you here, I must have it at home.

In any case I should not leave Helen long by herself. There is plenty lying for me to do at home; and I cannot go on long in idleness, - however speculative and ornamental. You may say my life at home is vastly like idleness, so far as you can see into it; and in truth, it might be busier, - at least busy to better purpose.

I promised Geraldine to go home by Manchester, and spend a day or two with her, - her Brother being in Ireland. For the Wales visit, I am afraid it must remain a devout imagination. The enthusiasm which enabled me to regard it as possible, has gradually evaporated. I should need first to have it (my enthusiasm) lighted up again by a new interview with Miss Wynn, or a Letter from her. Darwin's ominous statement that ... has thrown "a dark brown shad" over the Welsh mansion.

Here is your Letter this instant come, and with it news that the gig is waiting to take me a drive, - I also being in the valley of the shadow of headache to-day.

Had I not better come home to you, Dear? My "human speech" is not the most edifying that might be desired, but it is better than none. I feel quite comfortless [Page 168]  in thinking of these carrots, and you going out to seek Craik, and all that.

God keep you.

Affectionately yours,



To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Seaforth, Monday, 25 Aug., 1845.

Ten hours of "fresh air" at one pull! - if that is not doing the Country! First we drove to Liverpool in the carriage; then crossed to Rock Ferry, in the steamboat; then wandered about in quest of what Mr. Paulet persisted in calling "some donkey," the people hardly deigning to answer him, imagining evidently that he wanted it to eat! Eventually we realised an Irish-car, and were trundled in that three miles on the road to Eastham; the fourth mile we walked, thro' a wood, and then we were at Eastham, the favourite place for Liverpool picnics. Why favourite, I cannot imagine; for it is merely a large Gin-palace-looking house facing the sea, with a small garden all dotted over with arbours, - in the style of our Chelsea Tivoli! and swarming with Liverpool cockneys from the "chiefly merchant" class down to sailors and their - let us hope - wives. "The only cold fowl had just been bespoke," so we had to dine on ham and eggs, - which rather obscured my sense of the picturesque. It was just half after two when we finished our repast; and till six, when the next steamboat should sail, we were to enjoy nature, - very hard [Page 169]  work! For my part I thanked Heaven, when "Pa -sion" broke for a moment on the ennui of the scene, in the shape of a matrimonial quarrel betwixt an Italian called Angelo and his Wife, who seemed to be partially drunk. The Wife made repeated flies at him, and was held back by two or three young women who were perhaps the cause of her ill-humour. Angelo endeavoured to pacify her in broken English; and when she would not be pacified he broke into Italian, made that movement with the hands on the nose, which is the last insult with an Italian; snatched up his umbrella and struck her over the back with it, and stalked off towards the wood. One of the girls followed, calling "Angelo, Angelo!" but he would not stop till she laid hold of him, and then (Mrs. Paulet's dog having been unfastened), we heard gentle remonstrances and invitations to "cider," to "ginger beer" even. But Angelo would not go back then; he "would come to them in the garden after he had made the round of the wood; - he would indeed, upon his honour." So the girl went back; and Angelo, having inquired of Mrs. Paulet the road to Rock Ferry, posted off in that direction to go back to Liverpool by another boat!

We sailed all the way from Eastham, - an affair of half an hour, - found the carriage waiting at the pier, and got back to Seaforth at eight. And there lay your Letter, thanks God; and there was great joy over all Israel at the prospect of your coming. Are you aware that you did not enclose FitzGerald's Letter? So I cannot send back any part of it. I could not sleep for fancying myself assisting at getting you off, in the first instance, and then assisting at [Page 170]  your instalment here. I felt in two places at once, which is not a feeling favourable to sleep. I hope you will be suited with cigars ... My Cousin Alick does not smoke enough to be knowing in the article; besides he is not a person to take any trouble for "the welfare of others." So I applied to Mr. Paulet, who knows good tobacco from bad and is besides in the way of all sorts of dealings. He knew of some cases of cigars of "quite superior quality," which had been in the possession of a friend of his for two years; and the length of time they are kept is as great a point almost, he says, as the quality of the tobacco to begin with. ...

Whom do Dickens and Fuz expect in all the world to get for audience in September? five hundred friends still left in London at that season?

Geraldine is going home for a couple of days tomorrow; I fancy to compose her mind that she may be able to write a sufficiently penetrating Letter to the Egyptian. As Mrs. Paulet says, "Well, I would sooner die at once than go on living as Geraldine does on faute de mieux!" The rain is splashing away to-day as bad as ever; and the fatigue of yesterday, together with the patter-pattering on the window make me as stupid as an owl. So I will have done and go and hear Mrs. Ames singing! She has come through the tempest of wet to give Julia her music lesson, just as if it had been the finest Summer day. God be with you.

Ever yours,


[Page 171] 


To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Seaforth House, 28 Aug., 1845.

My Dear - I find you excessively provoking. Now that you are done with your work, why cannot you appoint a day for coming off? I made sure of knowing by to-day's Letter when you would come: and not a word on the subject!

I have been to Liverpool. Started before the post came in, and was flying back faster than the horses to get your Letter; and voila! speculations about dining with Scott, Browning, etc., etc. I am quite angry, and that is the truth of it; for if I had thought you were to dawdle so long, I would have been at home with you by this time. The worst for you is, that I have not time to subside; for the starting hour of the post is just at hand. Certainly I did not expect you this week; but I expected to have got by this time a "fixed point" for my expectation.

I would not have written at all till I could write in better humour and with greater deliberation, but you said something about "morbid fancies," and I am not disappointed enough to wish to inflict such on you while there is a minute's time left to hinder them.

Yours, in breakneck haste,

J. C.[1]

[Page 172] 


To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Seaforth House, 29 Aug., 1845.

Dearest - To-day I am restored to my normal state of - amiability. ... I am sorry now that I did not repress my little movement of impatience yesterday. ... It is more important just at present that you should be instructed of the state of - the tides! With that beautiful spirit of divination which characterises a good Wife, I had been propounding this subject at breakfast - before you had said a word of sea-bathing - and it happens quite fortunately that next week is the best bathing time throughout the whole year. I am afraid you would not be permitted to bathe here naked, any more than at Ostend,[1] - at least if such a thing got wind all Bootle and Seaforth and Waterloo would turn out to look at you; but there are nice machines, constructed for the purpose, to be had at a short distance. And the water looks clear, and there is a nice sandy bottom. There will be possibility of bathing every day next week, - at convenient hours. So make haste, - so many delights are awaiting you! - the chiefest a sublime box of cigars. [Page 173] 

Poor old Sterling. I feel sincerely sorry for him: surely, surely Anthony ought at least to have seen him brought home to his own house before streaming away on objectless travels. ... Pray bring a Past and Present for Mrs. Paulet. Telo borrowed the one she had bought, and will not, or cannot, return it, in spite of repeated Notes. Besides she heaps kindnesses on me till I feel almost ashamed. She brought me down an old bonnet the other day to save me going up for my own, and the shape happening to be very becoming to me, off she sent for the seamstress who makes all her things, - even her velvet gowns, - and set her to making me a beautiful new bonnet on the same principIe; - "because she wished me to look particularly well when Mr. Carlyle came, that she might have some credit in me." To-day she is gone to Liverpool in an Omnibus to seek something else - Heaven knows what - which she wishes the seamstress to make for me.

You are to be sure to let us know the train you will come by, that we may go with the carriage to meet you.

Maggie is coming to-day. She starts for Scotland next Wednesday, so that there will remain only Alick whom I have never seen since I left. Tell Helen, with my kind regards, to keep up her heart, for I shall only stay over your time here, and then take up her thread.

Yours affectionately,      JANE CARLYLE.


To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Chelsea, Monday, '15 Sept., 1845.'

... Nobody knows that I am here except Helps [Page 174]  and Elizabeth Pepoli, who had called and been told by Helen last week. Accordingly I was surprised by a visit from Helps yesterday forenoon, and in the afternoon I walked with John to see Elizabeth. He (John) went on to Mrs. Fraser's to tea. ...

I find that with servants, washing, and one tag-rag and another, my Journey has cost me ten pounds and some shillings. The rest of the handsome donation you made me may lie over for future travel, or if I should take a notion to have a "zweite Fliege" in your absence, I shall let no prudential terrors withhold me; or perhaps I may dip into it for some little matters of household rehabilitation.

Poor Isabella! for once I do wish a trial of animal magnetism could be made on her. What a life for herself, and also for poor Jamie, who deserves all sorts of good things in his lot! - Give my kind regards to them all. John seems quite peaceable, with no "plans" for the present so far as I hear.

I must write a Note to Duffy, to thank him for his beautiful little Book, - and still more for his "sincere respects and regards." To be respected by Young Ireland at two seeings is a compliment I feel duly touched by. - And so, Goodbye to you, for the present. Mr. Paulet was waiting for me in Liverpool with a bottle of eau de Cologne, - his last delicate attention - how kind they have been to me from first to last!

Ever yours,


[Page 175] 


To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Chelsea, Sunday, 28 Sept., 1845.

Well, if yesterday was rainy and dreary enough to set one on reading The Purgatory of Suicides (had there been time for it), to-day I have had, as Gambardella would say, "some pleasant excitements" - as pleasant almost as his last feat, - which appeared in the Times, - running a race with Green's balloon and being in at the Descent! To-day I have sat an hour with - Lady Harriet![1] and a quarter of an hour with old Sterling!

Last night I received a Note from Lady Harriet stating that she was in Town for only a few days; not able to go out, but would send the brougham for me to-day, at two if "perchance" I could come and see her. Of course, to-day at two, I was all in readiness. I was rather surprised to be set down at a great Unknown House,[2] and conducted thro' large Halls and staircases by unknown servants. If it had not been for the indubitability of the brougham, I should have begun to fancy myself kidnapped, or in a Fairy Tale! "Eventually," in a large dressing-room at the top of the house, I found the Lady on a sofa; a gentleman was just coming out, - Irish I should fancy from the fact of his leaving his hat behind him! On search being made for it by a servant some five minutes after, it was found, with difficulty, under the chair I had sat down upon! The Lady was ill only in a modified sense: "My Dear, I [Page 176]  am not up to going out, just at present"; but she "would be able to return to the Grange on Tuesday." She spoke of being to dine at Lansdowne House on Monday. - She was very gracious and agreeable; repeated pressingly the invitation to Alverstoke. I told her all about the Play,[1] which she had heard of with immense applause, from - Lady Holland! who was there! It seems that a great many of the aristocracy assisted at the tom-foolery, - "entertained (by me at least) unawares." I thought it rather a "rum-looking" gathering! The German Books had reached her safely; - if you wrote about them, that Letter had not yet reached her; the one you wrote on your arrival, she bade me say, was duly received, and she would have answered it before now, "if she had not been moving about more than she had anticipated." When she got back to the Grange, she expected to rest for a while, and would then write. It was to Richard Milnes I owed the pleasure of seeing her; he had been there the same evening he called on me, and mentioned having just seen me in an unprecedented state of confusion.

I recommended her to read Cecil (which I like immensely), and she recommended me to read Blanco White's Memoirs, about which she was all agog. She asked what I had heard said about it, and I told her Darwin's criticism: that "it greatly took away from one's sympathy with a man's religious scruples, to find that they were merely symptoms of a diseased liver." To which she replied, very justly, that "until the dominion of the liver was precisely ascertained, it were safer to speak respectfully of [Page 177]  it!" - The brougham was waiting to take me back again, and she was on a sofa; so for both reasons I was careful not to make my visit too long, although she did ask me in a sort of way to stay and dine with them at five o'clock. On the whole our interview went off quite successfully; and I dare say, in spite of Mrs. Buller's predictions, we shall get on very well together; although I can see that the Lady has a genius for ruling, whilst I have a genius for - not being ruled!

On my return Helen met me with the surprising intelligence that old Sterling had called! - a lady in the carriage with him. "Not very lady-like," she fancied it must be his landlady. "So thin she could not have known him; and so glad that he even shaked hands with her!" It was "most waesome to see him!" - John also had been down and left a Note on the table, in French - longer and more genial than he is in the habit of writing in English. Decidedly he should stick to French! So soon as I had swallowed-in a mouthful of dinner I went off again to see the poor old goose, whose visit under such circumstances quite melted my hard and stony heart. I called for John on the way, in case he chose to walk up with me, but suggested he should not go in, in case Sterling fancied we wanted to make a job of him. "Better not stay above five minutes, you may bring on another fit if you do," were John's rather alarming last words. But I seemed to do the old man nothing but good. Physically he is stronger than I expected; can walk alone, staggering a little. I do not know whether it be his thinness, or the consciousness of death being quite near him, but he has much more [Page 178]  dignity in his appearance than ever he had in his best days. In the first minutes I thought he looked more intelligent, too, than I had ever seen him. He made me less of a scene than was to have been expected; - merely stretched his arms towards heaven as if "thanking God for having created friendship - the consolation of the unfortunate." Ah, but he is not laughable any more. - "I am very glad to see you so well as this," said I. "And I am very, very glad to see you - at all," said he. He offered me the easiest chair, offered me wine, with a courtesy that reminded me of the German Noble (what was his name?[1]) who took off his hat, when dying, to his Bishop. None of the old bluster, but a quiet painful eagerness to do all that was polite and kind by me. After a few minutes' talk about his illness, he said in a whisper, pointing to his head, "It is here that all is over with me! gone, gone, gone!" and then tears ran down his cheek; almost down mine too; for he said that, not as he used to say such things, but with the simplicity of truth. The thought about his head seemed to produce confusion in it; for from the minute he spoke of his head, he talked quite incoherently: could not remember any name or any date; began mysterious sentences and left them unfinished. - John was waiting in the street to go home to tea with me: he got afraid that I would stay till I "brought on another fit"; so had himself shown up. I promised to go to him again to-morrow evening; and kissed his brow; and he gave me his blessing, which really sounds now as if it were worth something. - [Page 179]  And here I am (John long gone) writing at half after eleven, - which is not wise. But to-morrow will bring its own businesses. - I will send you a Letter I have had from Julia Paulet; read it pray, and judge if it be not promising for a girl of fifteen. - Kind regards to all.

Your own,



To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Chelsea, Sunday night, 5 October, 1845.

... Yesterday evening I dined at the H----s'; dining there is like seasickness; one thinks at the time one will never never encounter it again; and then the impression wears off, and one thinks perhaps one's constitution has undergone some change, and this time it will be more bearable. They had been sending me invitations, ever since I came home, and this one could, I thought, be accepted in even an economical point of view, as Craik was to be there and could escort me on foot. And on this principle was the thing transacted, with no harm done except the dreadful boring while it lasted. The only thing I heard worth mentioning was that your horse was lately seen in good health, "living upon apples and pears!" They thought it much "out of condition when it arrived, and that it would take a while to get up its flesh again." The favoured individual who had made your horse's acquaintance, "quite promiscuously," was Spedding. He dined with us yesterday, of course, and the C----s', male and female; and a Mr. Roupelle, the Son of somebody and [Page 180]  the Brother of somebody else, - "a man of immense humour," but unluckily "not in force" when I saw him. Who ever is in force in that house? Thomas Wilson perhaps, who "sways a leaden sceptre in society" might "come out strong" in the H---- element, - nobody else! Fancy me in the drawing-room with Mrs. C. and Mrs. H. talking the whole time of their children! My old idea of vanishing in a clap of thunder, was getting to be a fixed idea, when the men came up, and introduced a bagatelle board. At a quarter before ten I waved my lily hand and took the road. Mrs. C. told me with a charming air of condescendence that she "had been so long meaning to call for me, - "if she were not such a sad cripple!" "Indeed!" said I; and snatching up one of the small children carried it off to romp with it in the back drawing-room. Mrs. C. is some dozen years younger than I, - and a hundred years stupider; is new-married, whilst I am old-married; in fine is Mrs. D. C. whilst I am Mrs. Thomas Carlyle; - for all which reasons she had better wait to be called upon.

Did you know that Alfred Tennyson is to have a pension of £200 a year after all? Peel has stated his intention of recommending him to Her Gracious Majesty, and that is considered final: "A chaqu' un selon sa capacité!" Lady Harriet told me that he wanted to marry; "must have a woman to live beside; would prefer a lady, but - cannot afford one; and so must marry a maid-servant." Mrs. Henry Taylor said she was about to write him on behalf of their housemaid, who was quite a superior character in her way. [Page 181] 

Will you write a Note to Mrs. Russell before you leave; they might think it mere forgetfulness, if they heard of you being at Dumfries without going to see them.

John has been here to tea to-night again, and kept me from writing till too late. He had Scott [1] dining with him yesterday. ... He (Scott) has seen his Translation of Dante, and finds it "quite a surprising thing." I also am to pass judgement on it.

Darwin is returned; was here the day before yesterday, "most thankful to find himself in London again after his country experiences: two such months, good Heavens!"

Ever yours, J. C.


To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Chelsea, Friday night, 10 October, 1845.

I wish Dear, you had got the Letter which was lying at the point of my pen for you last evening when Mr. Browning came and sent it all to "the Back of Beyond." This evening I am too tired "for anything."

... The dinner at the Pepolis' "went off with effect": well-cooked, well-served, and well-eaten; it was really a little "work of art" the whole thing, - no incongruities, no verfailed attempts. Never did a new house bring a more marked blessing with it. Elizabeth in her new atmosphere of order and cleanliness, looks herself again; even Pietro has bloomed up into a Christian waiter! I do not pretend to get much "good joy" from witnessing "the happiness of others," but it was really a sort of pleasure for me to see the light and order [Page 182]  which Elizabeth has managed to bring out of the chaos given her to rule, and to hear her innocent genuine thankfulness for her small mercies! Darwin remarked as we drove home, that "things seemed to be going on there very nicely indeed; a little too much disparity in the ages still; but as Pepoli was growing regularly older and Madame younger, even that too would come right at last!" - I have made no other visit, - not even to old Sterling. He came to-day while I was out; but as he forgets that he has seen me, so soon as I am out of his sight, it did not matter. Last Sunday I walked up to see him, and sat with him half an hour; and before I was well home again, I received a visit from him here, "anxious to know how I had been."

... Another little bit of quite obscure news I heard from Elizabeth: she was in a carriage with her Cousin, old Mr. Rhoid, the other day, when he showed her a man walking along, who he said was once the reigning Dandy of London; "he had seen that man following the hounds, in silk-stockings and pumps and always taking the lead of the whole hunt, nevertheless." Elizabeth asked his name. "James Baillie!"[1] "He has been sadly reduced since then," said Mr. Rhoid; "but I am told he is now getting up in the world again, by speculating in Railway shares!" Don't you remember my predicting that course of industry for him? What a curious whirligig of a world after all! And people go on expecting to find "the solution." One fancies sometimes that if the solution be not "immortal [Page 183]  smash," it will be "better than we deserve." "That minds me" (as Helen says) of something Browning told me last night: An old gentleman of 84, a Unitarian, had been disputing a whole evening with an old gentleman of 92, a Something-else, - let us call him a Carlyleist, - of course they could come to no agreement on their respective Creeds. "Well," said 84, in conclusion, "at least we are both in pursuit of Truth!" "Pursuit of Truth!" repeated 92, with an intensely Middlebie accent, "By the Lord we would need to have got it by this time!" Yes, indeed! one should try if possible to get it, to "lay salt on its tail," a good way on this side of 92; or, if one cannot get it, - to do without it. ...

Here has just been John Mill; but hearing you were not at home, he would not come in, - "would call again." "If I promised to spend the whole Winter with Lady Harriet!" Bah! When did you know me to do anything so green - so pea-green as that? She told me I had promised it formerly; that was all. Oh depend on me for "taking in my ground wisely" in that matter, - with a wisdom equal to the solemnity of the occasion! I have already taken in a bit of my ground very wisely, in stipulating that when I did next time visit her I should have some little closet "all to myself" to sleep in.[1] ...

Ever yours, J. C.

[Page 184] 


Addiscombe Farm, in the Croydon suburbs of London, and Bay House, at Alverstoke on the South shore of Hampshire, were residences of the first Lord Ashburton's Son, the Hon. H. B. Baring. The Grange, near Alresford, in central Hampshire, and Bath House in London, were Lord Ashburton's residences. In May, 1848, Lord Ashburton died and Mr. Baring succeeded to the title, - the Grange and Bath House becoming his property. Mrs. Carlyle had met Lady Harriet Baring, probably for the first time, at Bath House (as we have just seen), in September, 1845, while Carlyle was away in Scotland. She "owed," as she says, "the pleasure of seeing" Lady Harriet, not to Carlyle directly, but to Richard Monckton Milnes (afterwards Lord Houghton). She and Lady Harriet "took to each other" and at once became fast friends. Mrs. Carlyle was soon invited to one or other of Lady Harriet's Houses. She went with Carlyle to Bay House for a visit of six weeks from the middle of November, 1845. And at the date of this Letter, she is at Addiscombe Farm alone with Lady Harriet, - Carlyle remaining at Chelsea, busily engaged on the Second Edition of Cromwell, and coming out to Addiscombe only from Saturdays to Mondays.

To Mrs. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Addiscombe Farm, Sat., '28 March, 1846.'

My dear Mrs. Carlyle - Carlyle has sent me the enclosed Letter, with a hint to forward it to you. For me, I am so used to Lady adorers of all sorts turning up for him, that [Page 185]  the fact of a new one, or of a new half dozen, occasions me no particular emotion. My chief thought about them is whether they will not sooner or later be left on my hands; for he makes no conscience of turning them over to me whenever he finds them becoming bores to himself. This one, however, seems a good woman enough: "an owl innocently" as she modestly says of herself. At all events, her Letter gives me a natural occasion for giving you my kind regards at first hand.

I am glad to hear that you have got over the Winter so well. I also have been unusually well, - in the matter of colds at least; and for the rest - the headaches and all that sort of things, like the pigs to having their throats cut, one gets used to it. I have been here for a week with Lady Harriet Baring, whom you have doubtless heard Carlyle speak of with enthusiasm, a very clever woman, and very loveable besides, whom it is very pleasant to live with - if she likes you - and if she does not like you, she would blow you up with gunpowder rather than be bored with your company; so that one clearly understands one's footing beside her. I am to stay three weeks longer until she returns to Town. Carlyle comes on the Saturdays and goes back on Mondays, - generally Charles Buller also. The Second Edition of the Book[1] will soon be done, it is to be hoped; for Carlyle has worked too hard at it, and is got quite out of strength and spirit. His horse is to return next week, and that will at least force him to take more exercise, - being too much imbued with our national [Page 186]  virtue, thrift, to let it stand in the stable eating off its own head, as the phrase is.

Kind love to Jamie and Isabella, and all the rest. With true affection, ever yours,


In the early Summer of 1846, Mrs. Carlyle's health broke down, and she again accepted an invitation to Seaforth House, near Liverpool, the residence of the Paulets. She left London on Saturday, the 4th of July, much depressed in mind and body, and, if we are to believe Mr. Froude, filled with jealousy against Lady Harriet Baring. There was, at this time, it is true, a trifling misunderstanding between Mrs. Carlyle and her Husband regarding their intimacy with Lady Harriet; but it was only a fleeting cloud, and was almost immediately dispelled. Mr. Froude, in his Life of Carlyle, has made a mountain of a molehill in writing of the Lady Harriet episode. Nothing could exceed his exaggeration, inaccuracy, and, I fear I must add misrepresentation, in treating of this affair. To make his story a plausible one, he cites largely from Carlyle's anxious Letters to Mrs. Carlyle, whose long delay in writing to him he mistakenly attributed to unwillingness to write instead of to the real cause, illness and want of the proper postal address; he misdates some of Mrs. Carlyle's Letters, gives garbled extracts from others, and entirely suppresses some very important ones.[1]

I give in this Collection the whole of the unpublished Letters of 1846, including some of those from which Mr. Froude has published extracts, and they tell the true [Page 187]  story without need of comment. They seem to me cordial and kindly Letters to have been written by an invalid; and not such as a jealous and aggrieved Wife would be likely to indite to her Husband. They justify Carlyle's anxieties about his Wife; they excuse her for seeming neglect in writing to him; in common fairness they ought not to have been suppressed by any one making such charges against Carlyle and his Wife as Mr. Froude has made.

That Mrs. Carlyle was sometimes displeased with Lady Harriet cannot be denied (there are few of Mrs. Carlyle's friends in whom she did not at times find serious faults); but that there was anything between them deserving the name of "jealousy," in the ordinary sense of that word, there is no reason to believe.

Mrs. Carlyle's ruling passion throughout life was to be thought clever; and it is tolerably plain from her Letters and Journal, that her chief grievance against Lady Harriet arose from chagrin at unexpectedly finding herself much inferior to her in witty and brilliant conversation. Mrs. Carlyle was herself a clever talker, and she knew it and prided herself upon it. It may well be that she overestimated her talent in this line; for she had been, as she says in a Letter of 1823, "stuffed with adulation ever since" she "left the boarding-school"; and at a later date, she writes of Carlyle's "little well-timed flatteries which roused" her "from inactivity.". Indeed, Carlyle appears to have been (unintentionally) one of the chief sinners in this respect himself, - having from their first acquaintance lavished such flatteries upon her as led her to believe that she was unquestionably a genius of the first order, - a natural feeling in a man all his life in love with her. However that may be, she had, up to the time of meeting Lady Harriet, been accustomed to reign supreme among all the ladies of her acquaintance and in any circle of society she had hitherto entered. But once in the presence of Lady Harriet, who was "out of sight the cleverest woman she had ever met in her life," this fond illusion of [Page 188]  being supreme among intellectual women, was quickly dispelled. She found she was no match at all for this highly gifted Lady; and she was pained at, and perhaps in a sense, jealous of, the admiration Lady Harriet was wont to receive. The following sentences from her Journal and Letters indicate her feelings on this point: "My Shuping Sing[1] faculty (as Mr. C. used to call it, when there was no Lady A. to take the shine out of me in his eyes)" (MS. Journal, p. 9). "He (George Rennie) looked at me once as if he were thinking I talked rather well" (post, p. 373 [ii, p103]). And in 1860, writing of the "Second Lady Ashburton," she says: "a really amiable, loveable woman she seems to be; much more intent on making her visitors at their ease, than on shewing off herself and attracting admiration" (post, letter 204). These give a clue to the origin of her occasional fits of pettishness and spleen against Lady Harriet Baring.

It seems, according to Mr. Froude, that Mrs. Carlyle was made uncomfortable at the Grange, etc., "because she was not accorded the social rank of her Husband." But Mr. Froude forgets that he has devoted a large part of his Life of Carlyle to show that Mrs. Carlyle's "social rank" was much higher than Carlyle's. He calls her, again and again, the "cousin" of Lord Jeffrey, whilst Carlyle is always the peasant's son.

Then Mr. Froude argues that it was Lady Harriet's "little ways" that irritated Mrs. Carlyle. Why, it may be asked, should Lady Harriet have gone to the trouble of inviting Mrs. Carlyle to the Grange, merely to torment her by "little ways"? Mrs. Carlyle herself says nothing about "little ways," tho' she hints, in the following passage, that if she had not been liked by Lady Harriet, she would have been disposed of in anything but a "little way": "I have been here," she wrote, "for a week with Lady Harriet Baring, ... a very clever woman, and a very [Page 189]  loveable besides, whom it is very pleasant to live with - if she likes you - and if she does not like you, she would blow you up with gunpowder rather than be bored with your company", (ante, p. 185). Of the two ways of getting rid of poor Mrs. Carlyle, worrying her life out by "little ways" and "blowing her up with gunpowder," I decidedly think Lady Harriet would have chosen the gunpowder plan! But she liked Mrs. Carlyle; and there is not a tittle of trustworthy evidence to show that she treated her otherwise than kindly and magnanimously. And after all that has been said, or insinuated, to the contrary, Mrs. Carlyle must have enjoyed herself at these great Houses; for she never refused an invitation thither, when it was possible for her to accept, but on one occasion, and then she was engaged on a particularly interesting house-cleaning. She was oftener, and for longer periods at a time, a visitor at Lady Harriet's Country Houses, than Carlyle himself was. She did not even eschew the "eternal Bath House," but went there often, as her Journal shows.

Carlyle did not "insist on her keeping up an intimacy" with Lady Harriet. She was not even introduced to her by him (tho' she had the honour of being invited to the Grange, etc., in the first instance, solely because she was Carlyle's Wife): she went thither, or to Addiscombe, etc., again and again of her own free will whilst Carlyle was away from home, - in Scotland, or elsewhere. It even appears from Letter 67 (ante, p. 183n.), that Carlyle thought it necessary to warn her against staying too long at Lady Harriet's. He wished her to go to the Grange, etc., now and then, simply because he knew that she could find enjoyment, amusement and instruction there, and that she would return home in improved health and spirits. But that he forced her to go there unwillingly and would "allow her to visit nowhere else," is purely a figment of the disordered imaginations of Mr. Froude and Miss Jewsbury.

[Page 190] 


To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Seaforth House, Monday, 6 July, 1846.

My Dear - I was not up to writing yesterday. ... To-day I am more awake, and entertain a devout imagination of going to see my Uncle and Cousins; but something whispers to me that it will be no go.

My journey was highly prosperous; the Bubechen and Madechen [little boy and girl] who were in the carriage with me felt no temptation to address me in articulate speech, nor to address one another; so that we came from London to Liverpool in profound silence. Before the train had well stopt, the Navigator's[1] face was grinning welcome in at the window on me, and Betsy waited a few yards off, that she might not fuss me till the Navigator had possessed himself of my luggage.

Seaforth looks heautifully calm and green, except when it thunders and lightens, which it almost continually does. Betsy has got a cough, and seems to be rather out of spirits, for her. Paulet has renewed his age, and has two clear eyes, and is, with the best intentions, always wearisome as heretofore. I shall do quite well here for a while, as I have the amplest tolerance granted me to be as ugly and stupid and disagreeable as ever I please, - the only satisfaction in life which I aspire to for the moment. For you, you must [Page 191]  feel as if a millstone had been taken off your breast.[1]

My kind regards to Helen. I will write to herself soon, giving her some directions for her practical activity, which I had not head for before I left. ...

Ever affectionately yours,



To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Seaforth, 10 July, 1846.

My dear Husband[2] - Your two Letters, the one dated Tuesday and the other Wednesday, are both come together this morning. The Seaforth Post does not appear to do its duty so well as England might expect. The Newspaper which you only received on the same day with my Note [i.e. Letter 69] was sent off on Sunday in good time for the Post.[3] [Page 192] 

... My Cousins Helen and Mary spent the day here yesterday. My Uncle I have not yet seen, - he was out when I called. They all find me looking shockingly, especially Betsy, who told me the other night (with the same want of tact which put her on telling Geraldine that she "had lost her looks very soon") that I had "got exactly the look of her Sister Marianne before she died of brain fever!" I suppose I shall improve in appearance, however, since I am certainly "eating above two ounces a day," and taking Dr. Christie's medicine very faithfully. My cough is still very tiresome; but I have no pain with it, so that it may take its time.

The horse department is in the greatest confusion still; but I do not see that it would be at all remedied by the addition of Bobus[1] - without his Master. A carriage horse is still to be bought; but it must be seventeen hands high, to match a great strong beast that is already here, - the new carriage weighing nearly two tons! You are a greater man than Abdel Kadir, but not so identified with your horse that a visit from it should be aspired to as the next best honour to a visit from yourself. Still they are very good-natured here, and if you are in a decided difficulty with your horse, send it. [Page 193] 

We have almost constant rain hitherto, and our exercise has to be taken in the verandah.

I feel myself a dreadful bore - though Betsy's patience is immense.

Ever affectionately yours,


LETTER 71[1]

To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Seaforth House, Tuesday, 14 July, 1846.

Oh, my dear Husband, Fortune has played me such a cruel trick this day! But it is all right now; and I do not even feel any resentment against Fortune for the suffocating misery of the last two hours. I know always, even when I seem to you most exacting, that whatever happens to me is nothing like so bad as I deserve. But you shall hear all how it was.

Yesterday in coming back from the Post-office, where I had gone myself with the Letter to you, my head took to aching, and ached, ached on all day in a bearable sort of fashion, till the evening, when Geraldine came over from Manchester, and the sudden bounce my heart gave at the sight of her finished me off on the spot. I had to get myself put to bed, and made a bad wakeful night of it; so that this morning I was nervous, as you may figure, and despairing of all things, - even of the Letter from you that I expected so confidently yesterday. Encouragement came however, from a quarter I was little dreaming of: before the Post-time - before I was dressed, in fact - [Page 194]  Heaven knows how she had managed it - there was delivered to me a Packet from - Bölte! at Cambridge, - a pretty little collar and cuffs of the poor thing's own work, with the kindest Letter, after all my cruelties to her! Well, I thought, if she can be so loving and forgiving for me, I need not be tormenting myself with the fear that he will not write to-day either. And I put on the collar there and then, and went down to breakfast in a little better heart.

At ten, the Post hour, I slipt away myself to the Post-office, but was detected by Betsy and Geraldine, who insisted on putting on their bonnets and accompanying me. I could well have dispensed with the attention; however, I trusted there would be a Letter, and their presence would only hinder me reading it for a little. And two were handed out which I stretched my hand to receive. Both for Betsy! none for me, the Post-mistress averred!

Not a line from you on my Birthday, - on the fifth day! I did not burst out crying - did not faint - did not do anything absurd, so far as I know, but I walked back again without speaking a word, and with such a tumult of wretchedness in my heart as you who know me can conceive. And then I shut myself in my own room to fancy everything that was most tormenting. Were you finally so out of patience with me that you had resolved to write to me no more at all? Had you gone to Addiscombe and found no leisure there to remember my existence? Were you taken ill, so ill that you could not write? That last idea made me mad to get off to the Railway and back to London. Oh, mercy! what a two hours I had of it! And [Page 195]  just when I was at my wit's end, I heard Julia crying out thro' the house, "Mrs. Carlyle, Mrs. Carlyle! are you there? Here is a Letter for you!" And so there was, after all! The Post-mistress had overlooked it, and given it to Robert when he went afterwards, not knowing that we had been. I wonder what Love-letter was ever received with such thankfulness! Oh, my Dear, I am not fit for living in the world with this organization. I am as much broken to pieces by that little accident as if I had come thro' an attack of cholera or typhus fever. I cannot even steady my hand to write decently. But I felt an irresistible need of thanking you by return of Post. Yes, I have kissed the dear little Card-case. And now I will lie down a while and try to get some sleep, - at least to quieten myself. I will try to believe - O why cannot I believe it once for all - that with all my faults and follies, I am "dearer to you than any earthly creature!" I will be better for Geraldine here; she is become very quiet and nice, and as affectionate for me as ever.

Your own



To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Seaforth House, 15 July, 1846.

My dear Husband - I was not meaning to write today, having had to get up at two in the morning, and spend the rest of my sleeping hours in reading Geraldine's new MS.; and in walking about the room. It is best, under these rather exceptionable circumstances, to "do nothing [Page 196]  to-day that can be put off till to-morrow" (the Wedgwoods' motto); but you seem to want a speedy answer about the horse; so that at least you shall have before I go to Liverpool for a drive. ...[1]

Jeannie writes me from Auchtertool that the old Minister is suddenly dead. So Waiter is now in possession of the appointments of his Office as well as of the labours. There is something rather shocking in one person's death being necessarily a piece of good fortune for another; but it is all one to the old man himself now whether they make sad faces at his departure or gay ones. And who knows? perhaps "somebody loved that pig,"[2] and will give him a genuine tear or two. Poor mortals "after all!" what a mighty pother we make about our bits of lives, and Death so surely on the way to cut us out of all that at least, - whatever may come after! Yes, nobody out of Bedlam, even educated in Edinburgh, can contrive to doubt of Death. One may go a far way in Scepticism, may get to disbelieve in God and Devil, in Virtue and Vice, in Love, in one's own Soul, never to speak of Time and Space, Progress of the Species, Rights of Women, Greatest Happiness of the greatest Number, isms world without end, everything in short that the human mind ever believed in, or "believed that it believed in," - only not in Death! The most outrageous Sceptic - even I after two nights without sleep - cannot go ahead against that, - a rather cheering one, on the whole, that; let one's earthly difficulties be what they may, Death will make [Page 197]  them all smooth, sooner or later: and either one shall have a trial at existing again under new conditions, or sleep soundly thro' all Eternity. That last used to be a horrible thought to me; but it is not so any longer. I am weary, weary to such a point of moral exhaustion, that any anchorage were welcome, even the stillest, coldest, "where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest," - understanding both by the wicked and the weary - myself. But, if I had been meaning to moralize, I should have taken larger Note-paper. - Adieu, then. - Ever yours,



To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Speke Hall, Near Seaforth, 19 July, 1846.

The fate of Bobus? I sincerely wish he may be safe [Page 198]  at Seaforth! But I don't know "the least in the world." Only as I left injunctions that an express should be sent after me in the case of his having arrived dead or mad, or not arrived at all; and no express having yet come, I may reasonably hope that all has gone well with the poor brute; and that along with this Letter you will receive one from Charles (the only member of the family besides Pup who has remained at home) to give you positive news of your worser half, - I mean the four-footed half. Charles promised that he would write to you, and foolish as he looks, I have never found him neglect anything he undertook to do.

Had I been told in time, I should certainly have remained at Seaforth to welcome the creature; but when I got your Note of Friday morning, I was already engaged to drive here on Saturday, and stay till Monday. The rest had accepted Mr. Brereton's invitation on the understanding that I would accompany them, and chiefly indeed on my account, thinking it might amuse me perhaps, to pass the night in a haunted house. Had I afterwards drawn back for the horse's sake, I should have occasioned an amount of disappointment and perplexity which I did not feel up to fronting. So after a good deal of silent cogitation, I decided, with a certain trust in Providence, on fulfilling my engagement.

But who is Mr. Brereton? "God knows!" I never saw him with my eyes till he received me yesterday on the threshold of his own drawing-room. He seems a harmless man enough; polite, hospitable, and "not without" a sort of slow sense. And certainly he lives in [Page 199]  the most interesting house that I ever fell in with out of the Romances of Mrs. Radcliffe, - so dead-old, so rickety and crumbling and "Elizabethan" in every feature, that it would scarcely surprise me when a door opens, if the Maiden Queen and all her Court should walk in in their winding sheets and set themselves on the high-backed chairs to have "a little comfortable talk" with me about the other world. There are Screech-owls behind the tapestry in some of the bedrooms, who breathe and moan all night long in a way to freeze your blood! And once when a Liverpool dandy was sitting alone in the old drawing-room, the plaster of the ceiling began to shower down on him, and then the whole ceiling, beams and all, descended slowly, not killing him, for he had time to save himself, but nearly frightening him to death. The bedroom in which I have passed one night without any supernatural adventure, I am sorry to say, is all tapestried over with gigantic figures in a tremendous state of excitement, - about what I have not yet made out; but shall, perhaps, before I have done with them. I was sure there must be a secret door behind this tapestry; and after I had gone to my room for the night, I began to tap and feel all about, like the Heroine of the mysterious Udolph, and, O joy! I actually found one! and discovered the trick of the spring, after half an hour's puzzling, and slipt in, expecting to find myself in a spiral staircase; but I found myself in a closet newly shelved, where no object was discoverable except - my own bonnet!

There were at dinner yesterday, besides ourselves, two splendidly dressed Liverpool ladies, whose intellect [Page 200]  had chiefly developed itself in their mode of curtsying and holding their arms "rather exquisite!" and three Liverpool gentlemen - "chiefly merchants, Mr. Carlyle!" Two of them chimeras, the third a fine substantial old fellow of a Scotchman, Forster by name, "from the Langholm side," a friend of Mrs. Richardson's,[1] - and really "no fool." He stays on with us; the rest went back at night.

I wish you had "Beauty's" mirror to see me in at this moment, without any explanation of my whereabouts: the spectacle would be infinitely surprising! The rest are all at lunch. I am sitting writing to you, in the recess of a painted window - all over Virgin Marys and what not; in a great Hall of carved black wainscot, - ceiling and all carved in the richest manner, - and about twenty feet high, with a chimney-piece some twelve feet long! The light, double-dyed green by the yews and willows outside, or some other colour from the painted glass. The furniture all of a piece with the carving of the room. For further particulars I will refer you to The Baronial Halls of England (with illustrations) by S. C. Hall. But you must come and see the place, for really it is a paradise, of its kind. I should like nothing better than to spend the rest of my life in it, - if Mr. Brereton would take himself out of the way. Such beautiful bathing too! You might run naked out of your bed into the sea, under cover of tall mournful trees.

I am to be taken to the Hall this afternoon, and will not fail to draw you a right picture of the Child's [Page 201]  Tombstone.[1] But the grand thing of all would be (and therein I fear I shall be balked), if I could get my eye on the ghost, - a white lady with a baby in her arms, whom she goes up and down with at nights making the gesture of flinging it into the moat. But the moat being long since filled up, it is too probable that the lady has ascertained by this time that drowning her baby there is "no go." I am just in the humour to welcome a ghost, however, in any shape; and I have still one night to spend in that haunted room.

Miss Wilson's note is perfectly harmless this time. - [2] Mrs. Buller wants me to find her a Lady's-maid with every earthly perfection.

I need not say how glad we shall be to pick you up at the Railway, whenever you desire it. You know all that without telling. - Ever yours,      J.C.

If the American Box[3] is to be made up here, be sure to bring the cloak, with the boots, I have it not with me. There is also a pair of cork boots, which I paid twenty shillings for and have worn very little on account of my bunions. They might be worth taking to your Mother. Helen can get them.

LETTER 74[4]

Carlyle joined his wife at Seaforth on Tuesday, 23d [Page 202]  July, and remained with her at the Paulets' till the 6th of August, when he sailed from Liverpool to Annan, for Scotsbrig. His next Letter to her is dated 8th August.

To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

30 Carlton Terrace, Green Heys, near Manchester,
Thursday, '13 August, 1846.'

In the first day or two after your departure I could not write any Letter that you would not have found worse than none, - and - so you got none! ... The only thing like a purpose that would stay an instant in my mind, was at all rates to get out of Seaforth as soon as possible. That great echoing, disorganised place had got to look to me a perfect madhouse; and Betsy, with her fixed idea of my "liver-complaint," and incessant tactless remarks on my "wild looks" reminding her now of "Nodes after he had taken poison," now of "Marianne before her brain fever," now of "old Nannie in her last illness," - of the Devil and his Grandmother, - had become more like a tormenting demon for me than the kind friend I had been used to think her. I tried hard to get away on [Page 203]  the Saturday; but she would not hear of it ... On Monday, however, I got away with decency, to Manchester for the moment, with little hope of getting more good there than I had got in the other place but with that sort of blind, instinctive seeking for relief which makes sick people turn off one side upon the other. The journey freshened me up a little. Geraldine received me at the Garden-gate with a quiet kindness that boded well; and every hour that I have been here, I have thanked God that I came just when I did. The stillness, the good order, the modest elegance of this bright little half-town half-country house feels like a sort of cradle into which my good angel has laid me for a little while to lie still and make-believe to sleep.

But I must not stay long; for this house is not Geraldine's, but her Brother's; who tho' also most kind to me, - carrying his consideration the length of proposing "to hire in a Piano for me, if it would amuse me to play a little," - might nevertheless get bored if his privacy were too long invaded by his Sister's friend. So I have determined in my own mind to go to Maryland Street on Monday, where I shall not be so cradled and rocked, - far from it; but where I cannot avoid going without giving pain. What after? Many a scheme has been in my poor head, one after another cast out as distracted; and the feasiblest thing I see for the present is to go home to Chelsea. Scotland looks to me more difficult and more useless, the longer I think of it. ... Neither with you nor without you could I front all that, without the painfullest emotions; and emotions are certainly [Page 204]  what I should not go out of my way to seek! just now, - at least not sad ones.

I might take my Cousin Helen back with me for a while as a social restraint in a small way, and to leave you more at liberty from the fret and responsibility of me. I should spend less money, too, living at home than streaming about in this fashion. The ruling virtue strong in death; my ideas of economy will, I suppose, be the last sane ones to leave me!

Give my kind love to your Mother and the rest there.

I do not know where to address you; but they will either forward my Letter, or it will be lying for you on your return to Scotsbrig.

Ever yours,

J. W. C.


To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Carlton Terrace, Green Heys, Manchester,
Monday, 17 August, 1846.

My dear Husband - I am very grieved at all this uneasiness you have had for want of Letters. To punish you was far as possible from my thoughts. Often as I have pained you, first and last, I never caused you intentional pain, so far as I remember, and cannot fancy that I should ever be so "far left to myself" as to do that.

I did not answer your first Letter to Seaforth by return of Post, because I was feeling myself really frightfully ill, and could not have written at the moment without saying so; and I did not wish to make you anxious about me, more anxious than you already were. I could have written on my arrival in Manchester on Monday, but in the Letter [Page 205]  I got from you that morning before starting, you said you were going to Dumfries. I had been mistaken as to the day you were to be at Carlisle - fancied it Wednesday - and so, that you would not return to Scotsbrig but go through from Dumfries to Carlisle;[1] and then I was meaning to go myself to Maryland Street [Liverpool] on Thursday. In the helpless sort of mood I was in, I let myself believe that no Letters could pass between us for two or three days; and when I wrote on Thursday, it was in full assurance that I was "taking time by the forelock," having a Letter at Scotsbrig lying ready for you on your return. And so I managed to have it there just exactly in the wrong moment, the very day you went away, - as I discovered to my sorrow on Friday night when I received the Letter you wrote on your return from Dumfries. It had been to Maryland Street as well as to Seaforth! The other two followed on Saturday and Sunday, every one making me more vexed. But there was then nothing to be done but just to let the result of my miscalculation and mismanagement work itself out.

For the rest, I have no cause to regret my visit to Manchester, but every reason to be thankful that I came when I did and staid as I have done. I shall have many things to tell you of it when we meet; for by Geraldine's skilful management my mind has been kept wide awake with one thing or another all day long. - But I must not [Page 206]  get into "narration" just now, for having walked four or five miles thro' the fields last night after dark, I lay too long in bed this morning, - considering that we have to start at twelve to spend the day with - Bamford! who promised to tell us witch-stories among the glens of Balachly. He is a fine sturdy old fellow, Bamford. ...

It follows then that I do not go to Liverpool to-day either, - not till Wednesday; for, to-morrow, I have to see a Foundry and a Printing-mill and a Warehouse.

I saw the Box[1] nailed up and sent off to the Counting-house before my departure. ... I am very indisposed for Maryland Street; in fact look forward to Wednesday with a sort of terror!

My kind love to them all.     Ever yours,

J. W. C


To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Insurance Office, Manchester,
Tuesday, 18 Aug., 1846.

My Dear - There never was such a breaking up of all my punctuality! I am not going to Liverpool to-morrow either. Write by return of Post, and address to: 30 Carlton Terrace, Miss Jewsbury's, Green Heys, Manchester.

I have written to Liverpool to bid them forward any Letters immediately. I am keeping various people waiting for me, and have not a minute to spend in writing. But do not find fault with my bustle; it is all for my good; and my good is more important to you than to myself.

Ever yours,      J. C.

[Page 207] 


From Lady Harriet Baring.

Beattock Inn, Moffat, Tuesday,
'18 Aug., 1846.'

Dear Mrs. Carlyle - In the uncertainty of where this should be directed to you, I deliver it to Mr. Carlyle, who goes from us to-morrow. - The only check to our felicity has been the missing you; and more, the accounts he gave of the little permanent good Seaforth had as yet done you when he left you. He may find some better account of you, now that we have had some fresher and less oppressive weather; and you will have had a long track of quiet and ease.

You are very, very foolish to go on without some trial, at least, of advice and remedies. I am sure your headaches could be very much mitigated; and cough and all kinds of derangements will come upon neglect. Whatever one's own belief and feelings in the matter, it is a thing one owes to those who are anxious and careful, to neglect no reasonable care for one's health and life. And you are really trifling with the first. - Nevertheless, against my harsh strictures, I will set the hope that you are really bettering ere this; and that we shall improve and take still further care of you in November at Alverstoke. You must spend that dreary month with us there, where I hope we shall be fixed by the end of October. -

We have had a deluge the like of Noah's. To-night I had the first pony-ride I have been able to manage, to look down from a Hill on the Glasgow Road on the Village and Valley of Moffat; - a nice quiet smiling country, without [Page 208]  any remarkable thing to create enthusiasm of any kind. The day after to-morrow, we sleep at Hamilton, and so onward Tarbert way, to Glengarnock, - and South the end of the month of September.

Your ever affectionate



To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Carlton Terrace, Manchester,
Sunday morning, 23 Aug., 1846.

My Dear - I came here meaning to stay two days, and behold, I have staid two weeks! Four several times I have engaged to be in Liverpool, and broken my word, - a thing unprecedented in my annals of visiting! But really Maryland Street is no pleasant outlook - only to be undertaken, in fact, from a sense of duty: and then Chelsea after? I cannot profess to feel any impatience for that either, as the case stands. So that, finding myself well, here, for the time being, I have needed only pressing enough to keep me. I am to go to-morrow, however, at last; and if I should never see Manchester again, the recollection of the kindness I have experienced in it, and the good it has done me will make it dear to me as long as I live.

I long to tell you all I have seen and done; but it would fill a volume; and must lie over till we meet. The amount of exercise of body and mind I have gone thro' has astonished myself, and proves, I think, clearly enough, that I have no "liver-complaint," whatever other devilries I may have. Geraldine no sooner perceived that I [Page 209]  took interest in the practical activity of this place than she applied herself to getting me admission into all sorts of Factories; and day after day has passed for me in going up and down in "hoists" and thro' forests of machinery for every conceivable purpose. I have seen more of the condition of my fellow-creatures in these two weeks than in any dozen years of my previous existence; and shall return to London quite as well qualified to write little Books on the "Manufacturing Districts" as either Camilla Toulman or Arthur Helps. Only one day we let ourselves be kept at home by rain, of which there has been plenty. And two days were spent out of Manchester; one with Bamford in his "Cloughs," and the other with a very interesting lady at Bolton. There is no lack of interesting people here, and they have a great superiority over the London people, inasmuch as they do not answer, "God knows!" to any question whatever, but every man knows what he is about and is able and willing to give a straightforward account of it. Whitworth, the inventor of the besom-cart, and many other wonderful machines, has a face not unlike a baboon; speaks the broadest Lancashire; could not invent an epigram to save his life; but has nevertheless "a talent that might drive the Genii to despair." And when one talks with him, one feels to be talking with a real live man, to my taste worth any number of the Wits "that go about." We spent yesterday at his house in the country (for I am now in Monday morning) which is the reason of your being a day longer without Letters. His cab which was to fetch us arrived in the midst of the writing, "quite promiscuously," at half after [Page 210]  eleven! and we did not like to keep it standing in the rain till I should finish. A young Greek merchant,[1] whom I very much like, an admirer of yours, but still more, I am afraid, of Emerson's, came home with us and staid till 12; and even at that late hour, I started writing after I had gone up to bed, - not knowing what might come in the way this morning to hinder me. But the Fates had decided once for all that I should not sign and seal a Letter for you yesterday. While I was sitting scribbling with all my clothes still on, even to the brooches and bracelets, down plumped my candle into the socket, and left me in total darkness, - to scramble into my night-clothes as I could.

I start at 12 from this house; but shall only go from Manchester by the 5 o'clock train, - having several Offices to take leave at, besides being to dine at Mr. Whitworth's Office at 2, - along with the Town-clerk!! Geraldine has kept to her purpose of not leaving me a single vacant hour up to the last minute. And her treatment, I believe, has been the most judicious that was possible. It has brought back something like colour into my face, and something like calm into my heart. But how long I shall be able to keep either the one or the other, when left to my own management, God knows, or perhaps Another than God knows best. Nor is it to Geraldine alone that I feel grateful; no words can express the kindness of her Brother. To-night I shall be with all of my Family that remains. But that thought cannot keep the tears out of my eyes in quitting these strangers who have treated me like the [Page 211]  dearest of Sisters. You will write to Maryland Street. I shall not stay there beyond a week, I think. I will write to Lady Harriet, my first leisure, tho' her Note did not seem to want any answer.

My kindest regards to your Mother and the rest.

Ever yours,      J. C.


To. T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Maryland St., Liverpool, '27 Aug., 1846.'

To tell you the prosaical truth, I am afraid I should not take half as much interest in the Lakes as in the Manchester Mills! my tastes being decidedly Utilitarian for the moment! There, the Speddings are good people certainly, but as old Sterling used to say of the Bartons, "so damnably unstimulating!" And it strikes me further, that I and my luggage would considerably encumber you on that journey. Two rooms would need to be stipulated for beforehand, and two are not to be had in every house, so conveniently as one. Besides, the embarrassment of having to state one's sleeping difficulties to strangers. And then when one man with his portmanteau and carpetbag can be transported commodiously in a gig, two people with two sets of luggage cannot get along without postchaises, - at a ruinous cost!

On the other hand, I am sensible that movement and change are good medicines for me; and also that when you kindly offer me a pleasure I ought not to look it in the mouth, but take it thankfully. And so, do you decide for [Page 212]  me how it shall be. I am ready to meet you at Lancaster on a day's notice, ready to return to Chelsea and do a little in the earth-quaking line. In short, ready for anything except to stay on here, with an everlasting smell of roast meat in my nose, no sleep to be had for cats and carts! no talk to be had except about gowns and bonnets! Truly, since I left Geraldine, I feel to have fallen from the "Indian Horse" into "a quickset hedge, and scratched out both my eyes," - how impatient I am to "scratch them in again" is not to be told!

Your Letter this morning found me in the determination to go home on Monday, at farthest; but I shall take no further steps till I hear from you again, beyond sending Helen[1] a little money to go on with. My own notion is, that I should be as well at Chelsea sorting things till you come, as going on the uncertain adventure of the Lakes; but I know that I am very faint-hearted, and that my own notion is not always the best "to carry out." So I await your decision. ...

Ever yours,



To T. Carlyle, Dumfries.

Maryland Street, Liverpool,
Monday, 31 August, 1846.

My Dear - Your Letter on my plate yesterday morning, along with one from Geraldine, was all that I took for breakfast, everything else at the table was so overlaid [Page 213]  by a dense population of lazy flies that I turned from it in sacred horror. ...

"Thanks God," however, I shall have but two days more of this disgust. On Wednesday night I hope to get some clean tea at Chelsea. I should have gone to-day, only that with the possibility of meeting you in Cumberland I had to send my linen to the washer-woman and cannot have it back till to-morrow morning. To-morrow I will pack, and see Harriet Martineau ... and on Wednesday home! thankful to "come out of this" anyhow! Helen[1] does not accompany me; I did invite her from a feeling of duty more than of inclination. ...

I went to hear J---- M---- yesterday morning, as a compromise betwixt going to the Family Church and causing a Family disturbance by staying at home. The Sermon was "no go." The poor man had got something to say which he did not believe, and could not conceal the difficulty he found in conforming. Flowers of rhetoric world without end, to cover over the barrenness of the soil! I felt quite wae for him; he looked such a picture of conscientious anguish while he was overlaying his Christ with similes and metaphors, that people might not see what a wooden puppet he had made of him to himself, - in great need of getting flung overboard after the Virgin Mary, "Madame sa Mère." The heat of the place, coming on the back of no breakfast, made me quite faint; so that I had to lie down in the "Boot"[2] till dinner-time.

On Saturday Helen, Mary and I dined at Seaforth with [Page 214]  a party. The Dickensons are still there, and this was a grand flare-up to their honour and glory. Mr. Rawlins was as amiable for me as ever, in spite of your cruel usage of him. Among the many charming things he said to me, I remember only this: - "that it was a source of deep astonishment and regret to him that a woman like Mrs. Carlyle (tremendous emphasis on the three last words) should make a point, as it were, of seeing the Devil everywhere. For his part, he utterly disbelieved in the Devil." The rest of the people were still more tiresome, especially the old S----, who is like a sort of thing one sees in a nightmare. I would not have gone at all; for a party at Seaforth is always a terrible affair; only that Betsy looked hurt, and my Cousins disappointed. So I sacrificed myself, as one does occasionally, to the welfare-of-others principle. ...

My kind regards to Jean and Jenny. I wrote to Lady Harriet [Baring] on my arrival here a longish Letter, as amusing as I could make it.

Ever yours,

J. C.


To T. Carlyle, Maryland St., Liverpool.

Chelsea, Monday, '7 September, 1846.'

A line to Maryland Street to-day, as I am bid, in hope however, that you will not be there to-morrow to get it! Ireland, Young and Old, is surely too large a thing to be done in a couple of days, especially when there is nothing pushing! I know you beat the world for the quantity of [Page 215]  even correct impressions which you bring away from what M'Diarmid would call the most "bird's-eye view" of any place - witness Bury St. Edmond's![1] But the material and spiritual aspect of Ireland should be looked at more leisurely by even you. All is ready here any hour you like to come. Helen has been most diligent in my absence, and left nothing for me to do but a little "top-dressing." Even here the sky is passably bright, only this morning there has been a touch of fog. And the pianos, "thanks God," are calmed down and reduced to reason. The new family on the Lambert side seem to have no piano, tho' children are to be seen in the garden from time to time. They make no noise however, - on that side of the wall there is absolutely no offence. And the Chalmers piano sounds only at stated hours, from nine to eleven, - a thing that one can easily do with.

The Town seems very quiet. I have seen most of our acquaintance left in it: Mazzini, Elizabeth Pepoli, the Sterlings, Father and Son, Fleming and par-malheur Robertson! I called at Darwin's on Saturday, but found the house locked up. I saw that same day old Sterling - in bed, having had a new attack - but rallying again they tell me. Helen told me he had been coming here constantly, in dreadful impatience to know when I would come. So I wrote him a Note which Anthony opened, and then he brought the carriage to take me to him. I disliked very much going to South Place, tho' Mrs. S. is at Dieppe; but the old man would have me sent for, and there was no possibility of refusing. Anthony wished to [Page 216]  shew me his Pictures, but I positively declined setting my foot in any other room than the bedroom where the poor old man was lying. I declined the offer of what Patten calls "refection" also, tho' I needed it on coming down stairs; for it had pained me very much to get thro' that interview. He held my hands and kissed them incessently, and cried and laughed alternately. ... Robertson had called ten days ago, and left a request that I would "send him word to the club when I returned!" I should have been "gey idle o' wark,"[1] I think! He came again, however, on speculation, a little cleaner ... and very quiet. I was disappointed to find Mrs. Buller gone; she was to have staid a month in London. I suppose there are no women in Town but Elizabeth [Pepoli]. I mean to try at Clarence Terrace to-morrow.

Oh, Harriet Martineau! I forgot to tell you I saw her the day before I left Liverpool - the picture of rude, weather-beaten health. Of course she was all in a bustle, and we were only a short time together; but there was not a word about animal magnetism. Her eloquence was chiefly directed against the Lion-hunters who tormented her existence at the Lakes. "A friend had advised her to hang a basketful of autographs outside the Garden-gate." She is coming to the Wedgwoods, by and by. She has never got her copy of Cromwell, and asked why you had not kept your promise. I told her I saw her name down for one, and bade her write to Chapman for it. - There are two American copies of Cromwell here, and [Page 217]  two or three other presentation Books of no moment, - "chiefly religious, Mr. Carlyle."

Should you go to Manchester and to Geraldine's, pray ask her to let you see Dilberoglue. What is it? A man! a young Greek that I have sworn eternal friendship with, and whom I am sure you also would like. He is a sort of young merchant that one might expect to meet in the Wanderjahre, but scarcely in Manchester. You must also be sure to see Whitworth's machinery.

Ever yours,



To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.

Chelsea, 24 Sep., 1846.

Dearest Mrs, Russell - I write to you to-day on my own business, tho' meaning to write at any rate to announce my return to Chelsea, without having been in Scotland after all! Alas, this year I absolutely had not courage for it. My stay in Lancashire did so little towards strengthening either my body or soul that I could not muster resolution for going further north. Another year perhaps I shall do better. God knows. I begin to lose faith in my own capabilities.

My chief object in writing to-day however, is to ask once more about Margaret Hiddlestone. Is there any earthly chance of my getting her now? Helen is going this time, for certain; and she could never have gone at a time when I should have been sorrier to lose her. For her conduct during the last year has been quite exemplary. [Page 218]  And so, for once, virtue is getting its reward. A Brother in Ireland has been rising into great prosperity as a manufacturer of Coach-fringe - thanks to the immense consumption of it on the Railways; he has now 200 girls in his pay, and in point of money (if he tells the truth) quite a gentleman. He has never done anything for Helen hitherto, beyond coming to see her for a quarter of an hour when his business called him to London; - never given her to the value of a farthing; but suddenly he is seized with a fit of brotherly love; comes here last evening, and invites her to go to Dublin and be his House-keeper, - engaging that should he hereafter marry he will settle an ample provision on her. Of course nothing could be done with such an offer but accept it. Helen cries about leaving me; but to be made a Lady of all on a sudden, does not fall in one's way every day! - For myself, I am far from feeling the confidence she does in this Brother's promises and prospects; still I can do no other under the circumstances than encourage her to try this opportunity of providing herself an independent home. And so all that remains is to look out for another in her place. But before I stir a step further, I must have another No from Margaret; for the idea of having her for my servant some time, has never left my imagination, or rather my heart. - I think I told her formerly that she should have £12 a-year, - tea and all that, found her, - and her expenses paid to Chelsea. You know how she is situated at present with regard to her children, and everything else; and if you are already sure she will not come there is no use teazing her any more about it; but if you have any doubt, [Page 219]  take the trouble once more to tell her my wish, and hear what she has got to say to it!

What a time of it people have in this world with one change and another! Very sad for those who like myself are the slaves of habit. - Margaret's children must be pretty well grown up now; by and by one might find them little places in London beside her, if she come. Long here at a distance from her children, I am sure she would not like to be. - Kindest regards to your Father and Husband.

Ever affectionately yours,



To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.

Chelsea, 'End of December, 1846.'

Dearest Mrs. Russell - I am recovering out of one of my serious colds just in time to write you my New-year's good-wishes. Nothing could have been more inconvenient than my falling ill the very week after my poor little Helen went away; - she understood so well how to do with her Master when I was not there, and kept my mind so easy about material things that an illness in her time was of comparatively little moment. But with her departure everything went to sixes and sevens. The new maid[1] whom an old servant [Betty Braid] in Edinburgh had selected for me, proved to have been selected more on account of her pretentions to "Free-grace" than of any "works" she was capable of; - in fact, my Aunt Anne, it turned out, had had a hand in her education. If I had [Page 220]  only known that sooner, she should never have sailed to London at my expense! But I relied on the practical understanding which old Betty used to manifest before she became an enthusiast for the Free Church; and made myself sure of being able to do better or worse with any servant of her recommending. Alas, the girl had come out of a family where eight servants were kept; fancied it would be nice to get to London, where she had "seven Cousins," and was willing to undertake anything till she got here. And then she satisfied herself within the first twelve hours that it was "too lonely" to be a single servant; that all-work "spoiled her hands," and having with all her "Free-grace" no more sense of duty than a cat, she threw up her engagement for six months at the end of six days! and declared that if she were not allowed to depart (to the Cousins) she "would take fits" as she had "once done before in a place that did not suit her, and lie in bed for a year"!!! - I being already laid in bed thro' the fatigue and unusual exposure to cold which I had had in trying to set her a-going, the chance of her taking to bed was not to be risked. So Carlyle bade her go then in the Devil's name - rather glad to be rid of such a "lump of selfish dishonest fatuity" on any terms. She "could not" repay her expenses so she walked off with her two guineas, as happy as a pig - on a Sunday morning! leaving me very ill in bed, my Cousin Helen here on a visit, and no servant in the house! So much for the whim of bringing a servant from Scotland!

A lady in the neighbourhood, who was meaning to discharge her Cook at any rate, on account of her constant [Page 221]  rows with the other servants, dispatched her to us at a moment's warning; and this woman, - an old half-dead grumbling soul,[1] has been acting as a provisional Help, till I should get well enough to look out for a permanent and more effective one.

Three weeks confinement to bed, and the quantities of tartar-emetic and opium given me to stop the inflammation on my chest, have left me as weak as water, and little able to fall energetically to the rehabilitation of my house.

... Now I have engaged a girl whose face and history so far as I know it promise well. She is to come the last day in the year, and I am brutally sending my Cousin home the same day, that I may have a fair chance at settling the new-comer into her place myself; - full time, for Carlyle has been giving signs of having reached the limits of his human patience; and if he do not soon have a pair of shoes cleaned for him, and his Library swept, he also will take "fits." Oh, how I wish that Margaret had come to me! All this would have been spared us, even my illness, for I was quite well of cold when that horrid Free-Church woman arrived, and might have continued so with proper care of myself. ... I have one blessing here, however, in the way of service, which I ought to be thankful for: our Postman's wife, who has baked the best possible bread for us a long time, and who, living at hand, is always going and coming, since I have been in a puddle, to help me in the quietest and nicest way.

But it is not good for me to be writing such a long Letter; for I am still confined to two rooms, with order [Page 222]  to "keep myself perfectly quiet," - more easily said than done!

Will you take the old trouble for me, in transmitting my New-year's remembrance to Margaret and Mary, and the others you know of? The small sum you advanced for me in July was given to my Cousin Helen, who said she punctually sent an Order for it. I hope it came all right?

I send you a pair of card-racks from the Falls of Niagara, - more curious than beautiful; but you will give them a place in your drawing-room anyhow for the sake of one who will ever think of you with affectionate gratitude. My kind regards to your Husband and Father.

Ever your affectionate



The Carlyles went to Bay House in the middle of January, and remained there about five weeks.

To Mrs. Aitken, Dumfries.

Bay House, 'End of January,' 1847.

My dear Jane - I had best not delay writing to you any longer, lest I find myself again in the condition of that poor Ecclefechan woman whom I often remember with interest and sympathy, "a-maist ashamed to say a's no better." For the moment, I have the proud consciousness of being really better, - enough for practical purposes. ...

I have now no cold about me, and am stronger than [Page 223]  when I left London. I have been out twice for a few minutes in the Garden; but the weather is still too cold for my regular exercise.[1]

For the rest, what I do here, or what anybody does, it were hard to say: - to learn to go idle with dignity seems to be the highest aim proposed. On the whole, I cannot reckon it amongst my complaints of Destiny, that I was not born to be a fine Lady; and I shall not be sorry to get back to the training of my maid-of-all-work, and the rehabilitation of my house, which Helen's departure, followed by my sickness, had made a horrid mess of.

My little new maid looked as if she were going to answer rather well. She seemed orderly, cleanly and careful; is a much better cook than Helen was, and has, I think, more "basis of reason"; above all was charmed to observe symptoms in her of a capacity of getting attached. (The remainder is lost.)


To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.

Chelsea, Sat., '6 March, 1847.'

My dear Mrs. Russell - ... And then I have been for five weeks with Lady Harriet Baring in Hampshire, where I went the previous Winter. It was a great [Page 224]  risk for me travelling at the time I set out, for I had been for many weeks shut up in two hot rooms where no breath of wind was allowed to reach me. But I was sick of the confinement, rendered so unusually wretched for both my Husband and myself by little Helen's loss[1]; and I thought care had done so little to improve my strength that I would try what rashness could do. And that, as usually happens for me, answered quite well. - On the day of my arrival I dressed for dinner, - not choosing to accept the part of Invalid, which is not popular the least in the world in great Houses where the aim of existence is to ignore as much as possible that there is such a thing as human suffering in any form. And the next morning, the housemaid, having of her own volition prepared a cold bath for me, I plunged into it from a sort of Scotch sentiment of thrift, that the cold water and the woman's trouble might not be wasted. This sort of a thing held out for a week, when I was laid up [for] some days with sore throat, and had to get Sir John Richardson to come and see me. After that, however, I went on getting stronger, and am now, since my return, able to go out and even take a long walk every day.

The new maid who came at New Year's Day continues here, and promises to become a fixture. She is a remarkably cleanly, orderly, quiet, little woman, with a superior faculty for cooking. I have been extremely lucky, I think, in realizing so useful and respectable a servant out of the great sink of London, by means of a Newspaper advertisement. She has a lover, a butcher, who is extremely [Page 225]  attentive; but they are a rational pair, and not likely to marry till he gets a business of his own; and meanwhile it rather pleases me to know of a little decent love-making going on in the house. By and by I shall have her trained into all my ways, - which are many, and some of them curious for the Cockney intellect; and then I hope to be even better off than I was before; for this one has no tendency to drink, and has more solidity than Helen had.

My kindest regards to your Husband and Father.

Ever yours affectionately,



To Miss Helen Welsh, Maryland St., Liverpool.

Chelsea, Tuesday, 25 May, 1847.

Dearest Helen - Do write me a few lines; I want so much to hear about Sophy.[1] Does her Brother still intend going abroad? Will Sophy in that case keep on her house? Pray tell me all you know. Give her my kindest remembrance. Poor little thing, I am very sorry for her; but what comfort can be got in such circumstances she will get from you and the rest.

The sudden heat has taken as strong an effect on me as the cold did, in a different way; then it was my chest which suffered; now it is my liver. The result of the discomfort to myself is much the same. I go about, however; but, as poor Darley said, "like a serpent trying to stand on its tail." And for the rest, the household goes on well enough. [Page 226]  Ann is to-day, and will be to-morrow, the same as she was yesterday, - good so far as she goes, but not "going the whole hog" with the emphasis one could wish. However, the being a little slow, a little ineffectual, is perhaps the least offensive fault she could have; and some fault, being human, she must have. She is perfectly orderly and respectable, and likes me as much as it is in her languid nature to like any mistress. I miss the enthusiasm, the birr, that was in Helen; the-ready-to-fly-at-everything-ness; but on the other hand things go on equably, without flare-ups, and having to help her a little with her work is perhaps good for me in the main.

I wish you had only one servant instead of three; you would find your problem, I am sure, much less complicated. They spoil one another.[1] [Page 227] 

Geraldine has been at the Ashursts for ten days, and I have seen her only once. She has never got rid of the black dog that jumped on her back during your visit here.

... You ask about Plattnauer: he continues sane enough for all practical and speculative purposes; comes here about once a week; has become an immense favourite with John Carlyle. But I wish he had employment. He does me no ill, - rather good.

Kisses to my Uncle.

Ever yours,

J. C.


To Mrs. Jameson.

Rawdon, near Leeds, 'August, 1847.

My dear Mrs. Jameson - Your Note has found me far from Cheyne Row, - away on a hill-top in Yorkshire! and I can honestly say the only moment of regret I have experienced at my change of place, was in finding I had missed a sight of you. Your very face always does me [Page 228]  good, and it is long since I have looked on it. But you will be in London before long, and I shall be there before long; for I do not intend accompanying my Husband further North; Scotland is become a desolate place for me, since all I loved there are dead and gone. And so, while he is visiting his relations, I project a great household earthquake at Chelsea.

It is three weeks to-day since we started on The Pursuit of the Picturesque under Difficulties, - the first time in our married lives that we ever figured as declared Tourists. And I fancy we should have broken down in the first blush of the business, but for a special interposition of Providence in the shape of a spirited young Quaker[1] who came to the rescue at Matlock, and guided us triumphantly thro' all the sights of Derbyshire, northwards to his own habitation, where we have remained stationary for ten days, - in a state of comparative resignation to "things in general."

I never enjoyed a visit so much before; and so far as I can dive into the secret of my contentment, it lies in the fact of there being no women in the house, except servants! So that I have as fine a time of it as Beauty in the Castle of the Beast!

" Speak thy wishes, speak thy will,
Swift obedience meets thee still."

The only time I have been reminded that I live in a conditional world, was two days ago when our young Host and myself were pitched heels over head out of a gig; but [Page 229]  except bringing me back to what Carlyle calls "the fact of things," even this misadventure did me no harm; indeed I have felt rather better for the tumble.

I want so much to hear from you about the Brownings; want so much to give you a good kiss.

Ever your affectionate



To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Long Car, Barnsley, 7 Sep., 1847.

Good Gracious! what a sudden snatching away of Proserpine! I fancied the man who got into the carriage,[1] while I looked under the seat for that confounded box, was you come in to take leave of me, and get out when the train should stop, like the Euston Square ones, at the end of the covered space. In which comfortable ignorance I addressed him, "but, my Dear, will you have time to get out?" Then having got my eye on the box, I added, "Oh, here it is," and looked up and saw - the sickly gentleman (who had cast such a die-away glance on you, as we were walking up and down). I flew at the window, like a wild thing, and could not pull it down, and saw you in a state of distraction, ordering the train to halt, while it went its way like Destiny, "never minding!" Not a single kiss executed! Really it was "very absurd"; and I have not yet recovered from the sort of shock to my feelings, The sickly gentleman whom I had addressed as "my Dear" testified his gratitude by telling me of "daily [Page 230]  accidents on that line" which were, he said, "most iniquitously concealed from the public"; but he "had written to his friend Strull about it," and hoped that measures would be taken; - meanwhile he took himself off at the first station, and I went one stage sola. At Normanton a lady came in, who within the first minute gave me a pear, and regretted that she could not accompany the gift with the offer of a knife! I spoke a few words of thanks, when looking deeply interested in me, she said softly, "I easily perceive that you are not English!" "No, I am a Scotchwoman." "Indeed! I took you for a Foreigner! I should never have dreamt of your being Scotch!" Perhaps she would not have given me the pear if she had. Mrs. Newton was waiting for me with the brightest looks; and we went the three miles to Barnsley in a nice "neat but not gaudy" omnibus which we had all to ourselves.

I lost no part of my luggage, nor was the kitten dead. When taken from its basket it spat to right and left in a way à faire peur! But the children all set themselves to "loving the Devil out of it,"[1] and now it is pretty well domesticated in the Nursery. Nodes[2] came home at four to dinner, and they are both as heartily kind as can be. We went in the evening for a walk, and as far as the views were discernible thro' a thick haze, the country hereabouts is even more beautiful than at Rawdon. ...

I long to hear your news; above all that you have had [Page 231]  a good night's rest at Scotsbrig. There is no privacy for writing here; and besides my Host and Hostess are counting the moments till I shall be ready to start. So I must make an end, and use the lighted candle which Mrs. N. is holding for me.

Love to them all, and a kiss to - Jamie!

Ever yours,



To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Chelsea, Thursday, 23 Sep., 1847.

You must have another little Letter to-day, Dear, in case you take a notion to fret.

I continue to mend rapidly; had a good deal of sleep last night, without henbane, and to-day I astonished Ann by telling her I was "very hungry." I have absolutely nothing to complain of but weakness, and that will not hold out long against such a good appetite.

After I had sent off my Letter yesterday Lady Harriet [Baring] called. She would not, of course, venture into a sick-room; but she sent up a very kind message, That she would be at Addiscombe till Wednesday, and if I would come there "out of this paint" she would send the carriage for me any day. "This paint" is not very bad; it is only the outside that is getting done; and in my bedroom the smell does not reach me at all. But in the Rooms Ann says it really is very unpleasant. I accepted the offer at once, as I always do every kindness she offers me. [Page 232]  That is to say, I sent word that I expected to be quite strong enough for going on Saturday, in which case I should be most happy to go if she would be so kind as send for me.[1]

One of the people who has been kindest to me during my illness is Mr. Chalmers's old John.[2] He has actually reduced all the pianos to utter silence. Hearing Ann say that the noise of his ladies was enough to drive her Mistress mad, he said, "I will put a stop to that!" and went immediately himself into the Drawing-room and told the ladies then at the Piano, he "wondered they were not ashamed of themselves making such a noise and Mrs. Carlyle at death's door on the other side of the wall." And there has not been a note struck since, - five days ago.

John [Dr. Carlyle] is here now - writing Letters on Dr. Campbell's business, in the Library, - this being his flitting day at home.

I hope I shall have a Letter from you to-night.

Ever yours faithfully,


Love to your Mother and the rest.

[Page 233] 


To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Addiscombe, Tuesday, 28 Sep., 1847.

I meant to have written a line yesterday on my arrival here. ...

Lady Harriet is looking extremely well, and in first-rate spirits. She laughs at your complaints of her silence, and says she has been "so busy reading Clarendon, on the journey"; and another time she said I could tell you it was because you took part with Lady Ashburton in calling her Letters like sticks. The fact is, I suppose, Lady Harriet writes Letters as I and other women do, chiefly to bring Letters in return; and if she get plenty of Letters all the same, whether she answer them or no, tànto mêglio for her. She sends you a paragraph[1] which she cut out of the Times for your express benefit. She thinks if may be useful for you to know of such a road to Fame in your present state of drinking new milk under various forms.

... I had a very kind Letter from Lady Ashburton yesterday, offering me any quantity of apples and pears, and announcing some game - most useless all. If she would have sent me a little honey instead!

Mr. Baring is at his yeomanry, so we are quite alone. [Page 234] 

... There was a Letter to be written to John too, who wished to hear how I stood the journey. So I must break off. ...

Ever faithfully yours,

J. W. C.


To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Chelsea, Tuesday, 5 October, 1847.

I meant to have written yesterday, Dear, but the intention went to paving a square inch of the Bad Place. At my last writing I had rather crowed before I was out of the wood: the pain in my head and face returned when I was in the act of sealing my Letter, and this time did not go away at 5 o'clock (!) but continued all day and all night, to the exclusion of any wink of sleep, and all day again. On Sunday night, John found me pretty well out of my wits. "What in the world will you do, do you think?" said he looking quite blank. "What do you think I should do?" I answered as blankly. "Did you ever take any - any what-do-they-call-it?" "Any Prussic acid?" said I, impatiently. "Yes - yes (!) that is to say muriatic acid." "No." "Shall I send you some? But perhaps it will take the skin off the inside of your mouth." "Could not I take some chrysolite then?" "Some what?" "That essence of tar thing." "Oh, creosote! yes, that might do better." And the creosote was got forthwith, and applied, and in a quarter of an hour I was well; and have had no more of it since.

... When I told Ann you were likely to be home [Page 235]  on Monday, she asked if she should go up and sleep in your bed for a few nights to take the damp out of it. I thanked her for her self-devotion, but said we would air it more effectually with good fires. The fact is she wished, at any risk, to be even with Mrs. Piper, who, before my return, slept three nights in my bed to air it. Her Husband said "it would be such a thing if Mrs. Carlyle caught cold just at the beginning of Winter!"

So many little schemes of improvement about the house have got all choked under the extinguisher of this sickness; even my spare bed is not rehabilitated yet. But "there's no use rebelling against Providence!"

Ever yours,

J. W. C.


To John Forster, Lincoln's Inn Fields.

A woman never dates her Letters!
5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, England, 16 Nov., 1847.

My dear Mr. Forster - It is as well to tell you "soon as syne" that my Husband swears by his head and "the splendour of God," he will not dine with you on the Playday, but only drink tea. It is needless going on my knees to him, or calling in the assistance of the neighbourhood. I see he is quite resolved. "You are too good a landlord": - You pour wine into unthinking men - and women - till they approach the point of intoxication; - and next day it is not so pleasant.

You will expect us then to tea at six. We will dine [Page 236]  here at four, and I will take care not to go round by the Markets and Law Courts.[1]

Ever your affectionate,


My "Means of abridging human Life[2]" is very escapable to-day.


To Mrs. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Chelsea, 'December, 1847.'

My dear Mrs. Carlyle - We are very thankful to hear you are getting rid of your giddiness; and for my own share I have double cause to be thankful; for when anything ails his Mother, my Husband is so unhappy that I have two to feel uneasy about. Jamie says he thinks you read more than is good for you; and Jamie always knows what he is saying better than most men. "In every 'inordinate cup' there is a devil"; so it may easily be that even in the apparently laudable 'inordinate cup' of reading, there may be a devil of giddiness! So don't, like a good woman, read at such a wild rate! Besides I want you to do something for me, which, if you will undertake it, will leave you less time to pore over books. You sent me a pair of stockings by Carlyle, which are very warm and very pretty, but a degree too small, - especially the legs of them, which seemed to have been knitted for two pot-sticks rather than for well-shaped, goodly-sized woman's legs like mine. Carlyle told me that Margaret [Page 237]  Austin knitted them; and I have been thinking to have her knit all my woollen stockings; only from a pattern, with room for a certain amount of calf, which I could send her (not the calf, but the pattern!). But if she have not fine soft yarn to make them of, no matter how well they are shaped! So I have also been thinking to ask you to spin the yarn for me, and then I shall have a "perfect article," as the shopkeepers here say; - besides the sentiment of the thing.

We continue all pretty well, tho' the sickness around is quite sad to hear tell of, - so many people dead of influenza and scarlet fever. When I remember last year at this time, I cannot be too thankful that things are as they are, so far as our own house is concerned.

The little servant I got last New Year's Day has turned out a real godsend, - so quiet and orderly and honest. The house was never so peaceably managed since I was Mistress. I have not had to transact one scold since this girl came to me. She is an excellent cook, and the only objection I had to her in the beginning - a sort of want of enthusiasm for things in general and my work in particular, has gradually disappeared. She seems now quite as much interested in us as Helen was, tho' she does not make such a prodigious fuss about it. I have heard nothing from the said Helen for a long while; her last Letter was so full of nonsense about her "servants," and "country house," and "housefuls of visitors," that I had not patience to answer it. [Page 238] 

Tell Isabella, with my kind love, to send us frequent news, suppose it were only a couple of lines at a time. A kiss to Jamie, - and to you and Isabella, if you like.

Ever affectionately yours,



To John Forster, Lincoln's Inn Fields.

Chelsea, January, 1848.

"Great God!" (as you say) is not our young friend[1] "coming it rather strong?" More actresses! more "hysteric seizures and all that sort of thing" which played the deuce with her last Book! But what can you or I help it? since as herself said of herself long ago, she "has absolutely no sense of decency." What I regret more than the questionability of these chapters is the total want of common sense. - But perhaps my illness makes me see things worse than they are. At all events I feel it idle for me to protest any more.

I am out of bed now, most of the day, but see no prospect of being able to follow [my Husband] to Alverstoke. Perhaps you will come and see me some day. By the way was it not from you that I took this cold?

Ever affectionately yours,


Write me a line to acknowledge the MS. as I shall be uncertain whether it has gone safe, else. (Saturday.)

[Page 239] 


To T. Carlyle, Bay House, Alverstoke.

Chelsea, Friday, 14 Jan., 1848.

Thanks for your Letter, Dear, wrested it would seem, - that is the time for it, - from "the Black Dog's maw." You will have slept better the second night, and be in better heart to-day.

I said that in solitary confinement I should have nothing to tell you, - unless about my own feelings; whereon as the Chorus in Agamemnon says, "an immense dead weight of silence has fallen on my tongue," - happily! for descriptions of feelings are only surpassed in wearisomeness by descriptions of scenery. Contrary to expectation, however, I find myself already with more things to tell than strength to put them in writing. The day you went Darwin called about dinner time; I was still in bed; so he went his ways again re infecta. ...

Anthony Sterling came yesterday, on his way from Headly, to ask the Alverstoke address. ... He asked if I would be up in the evening; was told I hoped to; that at all events John would be here. At midday I rose, and on the strength of a good night's sleep, put on "Stays and the usual etceteras"; tidied my bedroom, and disposed the furniture so as to give myself more space; then sat down to my two thick volumes on Insanity - a very interesting study indeed. But Darwin came again, and this time I had him up, - very quiet and kind. Then Miss Williams Wynn came, and undaunted by the fact of a bedroom, staid with me two hours, - not letting me talk too much, but amusing me all she could. She is a very kind woman, [Page 240]  I think, and with plenty of sense when she dare come out with it. ...

In the evening, John and Anthony Sterling; they had tea together in the Library, and I went in there after, and John[1] read us Agamemnon, during which Anthony slept, - under cover of his spectacles. I was too wearied with so many people, and did not sleep so well as the night before; but I am not worse to-day. I feel more weak now than while I was getting no sleep. For the rest, my cough (or as Mazzini would say, my cuff) is less frequent and does not tear my chest so badly. ... Tell your gracious Lady I will write to-morrow or next day. I am not up to more writing to-day - have tired myself in fact. My head aches more since the cuff abated.

Ever faithfully yours,

J. W. C.

Nothing can be more kind than Ann; I want for nothing.


To T. Carlyle, Bay House, Alverstoke,

Chelsea, Friday evening, 21 Jan., 1848.

Oh dear me! I am so annoyed about these Letters! [Page 241]  If they have missed the post, what will you think about me, and what will Lady Harriet think of me to-morrow morning? ... The day before yesterday, Ann putting in her head with the look of a person who had good news to tell, informed me Sir Harry and Lady Vernay were in the Library. "Oh dear!" I said, "if you would only ask me whom I choose to receive!" "Have I blundered again?" said the little woman. "I thought the gentleman looked nice, and that you would like to have him up." And so he did look "nice" - ten years younger than when I saw him last; ... and what shall I say? lively, upon my honour! I have heard no such hearty laughing as he laughed since you went away. ... They set to "working it out of me" about the Cromwell Letters.[1] "Pray, Mrs. Carlyle, will you tell us what we are to believe about these Letters of Cromwell?" "I suppose," I said, "there will be nothing for it but just to believe that you believe in them." "But," said Sir Harry, "I can't understand," etc. - A great deal he could not understand, as it seemed, and I did not feel it my business, especially with my cough, and at my time of life, to furnish him with understanding. I am told that Landor says he wrote the Letters for a joke against Carlyle - this comes from the Procter side of things; but fool as he is (practically), he would hardly, I think, indulge in so bad a jest. ... I wish I had kept to the idea you left me in: to give up my visit altogether from the first. In the weak state I am in, this hithering and thithering has been very hurtful to me, and must have been tiresome enough to "others." [Page 242] 

When Lady Harriet is quite done with Sterling,[1] I should like to have it back. (Ends abruptly for want of space.)


To John Forster, Lincoln's Inn Fields.

Chelsea, Friday night, 'Jan., 1848.'

Dear Mr. Forster - Thanks for your Note. She[2] desired me to send the chapter on to you, and so I send it, tho' it will just have to travel back to her. This is worse than anything in Zoe[3], to my judgement, in fact perfectly disgusting for a young Englishwoman to write, - and from Chapman's point of view, quite "unfit for circulation in families." I would not have such stuff dedicated to me as she proposed, for any number of guineas. But I am done with counselling her, - her tendency towards the unmentionable is too strong for me to stay it.

... Perhaps you will get over next week?

Yours affectionately,



To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.

Chelsea, 7th March, '1848.'

Dearest Mrs. Russell - I am afraid it is long past the time when I should have sent old Mary's money; and there is no excuse for my having neglected that duty, as it required no exertion but only a little thought. Anything [Page 243]  needing exertion I have indeed been little up to latterly. When I wrote to you at Newyear-time, I boasted of having kept well, for a wonder, while everybody about me had been laid up with Influenza, or some such thing. But no good ever comes of crowing before one is out of the wood! Just the day before we were to have started on the visit I told you of,[1] after all our portmanteaus were packed, and the house partially pulled in pieces, I took a sore throat which developed itself during a sleepless night into as serious a cold as anyone could have wished not to have. I could not quit my bed, never to speak of travelling. My Husband waited a few days to see me over the worst, and then went by himself, expecting I should be able to follow in a week or so, - a wildly romantic hope on his part after all he had seen of my colds! Ever since, that is for two months, I have been closely confined to the house, toiling on with morphia and mustard blisters, and all that sort of unpleasantness. I have never, however, felt so dreadfully weak this Winter as I did the last; which my Brother-in-law imputes to his superior doctoring. Last Winter I had so much opium and tartar-emetic given me, which John [Dr. Carlyle] says was "very little better than arsenic" for a person of my constitution. I have also been free this time from all household worry, my little maid being quite able to keep things going on [Page 244]  comfortably without my interference, - and very quiet and attentive to me she is besides. So on the whole, I have great cause of thankfulness that it has been no worse. As my cough is now much abated, I mean to go out so soon as it is a little warmer. Confinement does depress one's spirits, do what one will!

You too were laid up when Dr. Russell wrote. I hope you are now quite strong again. I meant to have written as soon as I had settled myself at Alverstoke to ask more news of you, but after I fell ill myself, writing was for a long time dreadfully fatiguing to me; and when I got a little stronger I persuaded myself that by then, your illness had gone to the things past. Let me have a few lines now: I want much to hear how old Mary and Margaret have got thro' this sickly Winter. ... Have you heard of my Cousin Alex's intended marriage with Sophy Martin? It is to come off soon I suppose. Kind regards to your Husband and Father.

Ever affecly. yours,



To John Forster, Lincoln's Inn Fields.

Chelsea, '20 March, 1848.'

Not Thursday, dear Mr. Forster, C. dines with Emerson at the Barings' on Thursday. To-morrow night, do come. Witherington Heights, or anythink!

Being in the Strand on Saturday, per omnibus, and a-passing of Bookseller Chapman's door, I bethought me to go in and ask news of our Half Sisters, that I might [Page 245]  write such to their Parent.[1] Chapman was not in the shop, and I sent for him "to answer me a single question." He did not appear, but sent for me to walk up. I followed a shopman up two pairs of stairs, and there was handed over to a maid who led me up another flight and deposited me in the arms of - Emerson! who stood waiting to receive me, without his hat, and called me "a noble child!" for coming so far to see him, and would not let me explain that I had not come to see him - far from it - but conducted me to his apartments, where nothing seemed any longer possible for me but just to make him a regular half-hour's call. You will understand I had gone to the wrong Chapman's, and he not knowing me, fancied I must be come for Emerson, who lodges with him!

Ever yours,


Mr. C. is out.


To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Addiscombe, 4 April, 1848.

Thanks for the night-cap and the Note, - chiefly for the Note, my head having pretty well learnt to sleep in a Handkerchief.

Lady Harriet does not go to London this evening: her Opera has been knocked on the head by James bringing news of the death of Sir Thomas Baring. So now, instead of her going up, Mr. Baring comes down to dinner. Saddler will bring the cap to-morrow, - she having to go up for [Page 246]  mournings; - "black for three weeks, and grey for three weeks more." She is also to bring a quantity of oranges, to be made into marmalade under my direction! If Mr. Baring would go at it, cut the chips and so on, direction might make some marmalade as good as mine; but it is not Mrs. Achison[1] that will ever choose to learn the making of marmalade, any more than the making of cakes. ...

Yesterday we were in the open air all day, walking, driving, sitting. Lady H. was so tired at night that she went to bed before ten, and breakfasted in bed this morning. She is now gone out on the pony, I believe, while I have had a lazy drive in the carriage. Fleming's model horse came down on the crown of its head some time ago, and broke Mr. Baring's chin. So now it is looking forward to a glancing future of corn without work.

Something was said yesterday of Charles Buller coming on Thursday, "if he could get away." At all events I fondly trust he will not be able to stay away. If the quiet of to-day and yesterday could only last while these beautiful sunshiny days last, it would be my own fault if I did not get refreshed as by a bath of new milk. This morning I walked half an hour, and sat sewing out of doors for a whole hour, before breakfast, without catching a headache.

Kind love to John [Dr. Carlyle]. I will write to him in a day or two.

Ever yours,


[Page 247] 


To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.

Addiscombe, 7 April, 1848.

Yesterday was a decided case of marmalade-making: nothing else could be got done or thought of. At ten in the morning I saw the oranges and sugar weighed; and it was half after eight at night when I made my last visit to the kitchen, and returned with a spoonful of completed marmalade, in a saucer, which Mr. Baring and Lady Harriet supped boiling hot, and pronounced "perfectly excellent"; as indeed it is; and such a quantity of it! So that is one job "got thro' with an honourable throughbearing," - a Savoy's Expedition, in its own way, not turned back by a toll-bar! For I assure you I would rather lead a "few brave men" against the Austrians than present myself alone in that kitchen[1] amidst the scowls of women in pinafores, and suppressed cries of "à bas la système," - to give [Page 248]  orders and see them obeyed. Mrs. Achison, however, is fairly got under now, and the kitchen-maid would go thro' boiling sugar for me. And they are all quite well this morning, in spite of Lady Harriet's prediction that "poor Mrs. Achison would be perfectly knocked up!" On the contrary, Mrs. Achison is perfectly radiant this morning with "virtue its own reward"; and came to the drawing-room with a pot of marmalade in each hand to return me her "most sincere thanks and obligations for having taught her such a good and beautiful thing!"

Myself is brashed to-day, not with the marmalade so much as with the cold thro' the night, which kept me awake coughing. To-night I will decidedly realize another blanket.

Charles Buller did not appear yesterday, - the why not generally known. He is supposed to be "full of anxiety about his family at present." "Don't his family wish it may get it?" Perhaps he may have an interval of comparative peace of mind to-day. He possesses a stall at the Opera all the same; but that may be to soothe his anxious breast.

... Tell John with my love that I have had a Letter from Plattnauer, in which he speaks most fervently of him, and indicates that he (Plattnauer) will on no account go to be Emperor of Germany unless we all "consent to accompany him." It is a beautiful Letter; and makes one ask whether a slight dash of insanity may not be a gain to some natures.

Ever yours,


[Page 249] 


To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.

Chelsea, 29th December, 1848.

My dear Mrs. Russell - Here is another year done, and you and I are still here to say "rest in peace" to it. I hope the new one finds you better in health than you were last Winter. ... There has been much sickness here, tho' pretty free from cholera, - chiefly small-pox and scarlet-fever. I do think these mild Winters are dreadfully unwholesome; still I individually may be thankful for the delay of the frost, as I am still going about free from cough. I suffer plenty with my headaches and sickness at stomach; but all that only lays me up for a day at a time; and I have got to be quite content if I can only keep out of bed and the confinement to my own room during Winter.

Pray write me a good long Letter about yourself and Father and Husband and everybody I know there. You have no notion how welcome a Letter of home-news always is to me, even when there is nothing new or strange to tell.

I went no further than Hampshire this Autumn: we staid six weeks at a fine place called The Grange, belonging to Lord Ashburton.[1] The visit was anything but a retirement; for in London we should not have seen half so many people, - the house being filled with company the whole time. On my return to Town I had to undergo a change of servants - if change it can be called this time: [Page 250]  the nice little woman I have had these two years had made up her mind at last to conclude her five-years' courtship and go off with her Husband and live in Jersey. I was very sorry, for I had got to like her extremely well; and she was very sorry too; but people must get married before all! She was quite willing, however, to wait till I could get "settled" (as they call it here) to my mind. And before I had so much as begun to unsettle myself, there comes a Letter from my old Helen,[1] giving me to know that her Irish adventure had been no go; that she was returned to Kirkcaldy, keeping "a small shop" there, which was not like to be a go either; and in short, that she would like to go to service again, - if I knew any place for her in London. It was plain enough she wished to come back here, and in my horror of strangers I told her to come then, since Ann was going at any rate.

I hardly think I did wisely: the two years of insubordination and breaking up of all old habits, were likely to have increased all the faults it had taken me so long to put down in her. And I do find her very tiresome as yet; and if she do not improve thro' the Winter, I shall have to change again when the warm weather comes, and I am likely to keep on foot.

I send you a Christmas Book,[2] written by the cleverest popular writer we have just now; but hardly worthy of him, I think. The plates are the best of it.

I send, too, a money Order for Margaret and Mary's [Page 251]  tea and what else you like; and two worsted things to keep their heads warm.

God bless you, dear Mrs. Russell, and all who are dear to you.

Ever yours affectionately,



To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.

Chelsea, Thursday, '22 Feb., 1849.'

Dearest Mrs. Russell - I snatch two minutes from confusion worse confounded to send old Mary's money, which I fear is already past time. It has been in my mind for the last three weeks; but I could not come at the needful in the country place where we had gone for a short visit; and since our return to London I have been "troubled about many things," with a vengeance.

On Monday last we drew up at our own door in Captain Sterling's carriage (the gentleman with whom we had been staying[1]) meaning to drive on to his Town house to settle some concern of a Governess for him, when I should have deposited my Husband and luggage at home. We rapped and rang a long time without being opened to; at last the door opened, and an apparition presented itself, which I shall certainly never forget as long as I live! There stood Helen; her mouth covered with blood; her brow, cheek and dark dress whitened with the chalk of the kitchen floor, like a very ill-got up stage-ghost; [Page 252]  her hair streaming wildly from under a crushed cap; and her face wearing a smile of idiotic self-complacency! My first thought was that thieves had been murdering her (at one in the forenoon!); but the truth came fast enough: "she is mortal drunk!" Mr. C. had to drag her down into the kitchen; for she was very insubordinate and refused to budge from the door, - Captain Sterling and his coachman looking on! Of course I remained in my own house for the rest of the day. A woman who lives close by came to help me, and take care of the drunk creature, who, so soon as she got her legs again, rushed out for more drink! She had had half a pint of gin in the morning, in the afternoon half a pint of rum, and some ale!! That is what one would call good drinking! Between nine and ten she returned; and lay locked up all night insensible; then she had a fit of delirium tremens; then twenty-four hours of weeping and wailing and trying to take me by compassion, as she had done so often before; but it would not do. I have never liked her ways since she returned to me. The fact has been, tho' I did not know it, that she was always partially drunk. So I felt thankful for this decided outbreak to put an end to my cowardly off-putting in seeking myself a new servant. The very day this horror happened, a very promising servant was sent to me quite providentially to look at, by a lady who has been a good while urging me to be done with Helen; and who thought it a pity I should not have the refusal of this one. - So I went after her character, and engaged her the following day; but could not have her home till the wretched being was removed, and the [Page 253]  horribly dirty house cleaned up; - in which process I am now over head and ears. - I wished Helen to go back to her Sister in Kirkcaldy, and offered to pay her expenses, but she won't. She was determined to stay here! But I put her into a carriage yesterday, whether she would or no, and carried her off to a woman she has been long intimate with, and established her in a room of her house, - for a fortnight, - to look after a place; but who will take her without a character for sobriety? I certainly will not be criminal enough to conceal her drinking propensity, if I am asked. God knows what is to come of her! I told her yesterday she would be better dead! ... for all morality is broken down in her. I find now that she has not been even honest since she returned from Dublin; - a pretty mess that Brother of hers has made of his own flesh and blood! But I must not scribble any more here, - having a hundred and fifty things to do.

God bless you. Kind love to Dr. Russell and your Father.

Ever your affectionate



The poor Screen that is still here! The most ingenious and beautiful of the sort, I ever saw. Continues here till I myself depart! - T. C. (Oct., 1869.)

To John Forster, Lincoln's Inn Fields.

Chelsea, Tuesday, 15 May, 1849.'

My dear Mr. Forster - You said that perhaps you could [Page 254]  give me some more prints for my Screen. I thought at the time I should not need them; but since I have seen that glorious Costello-Screen I cannot resign myself to not trying to make my other side on its model; and for that I am short of de quoi. And if you can help me to a few I shall be thankful: if you cannot, never mind the least in the world; I shall believe in your undying affection all the same, - with mental reservation to avoid risking it in future to the excitement of Greenwich dinners!

Now, pray, understand that it is not with any feeling much beyond "don't you wish you may get them" that I remind you of this "perhaps" of yours; and that I have not, after all, much serious interest in the completion of my screen:-

"To stick by this trade is not my intention,
I am driven to it by - the mother of invention!"[1]

Affectionately yours,



To T. Carlyle, Post Office, Dublin.

Chelsea, Tuesday, 3 July, 1849.

Well! here I am at home, my poor Dear, if home it may be called under the circumstances. But "it is fair to state"[2] that the whole thing looks rather disgusting this morning, after the roses, and cream, and "wits" and other "blandishments" of Addiscombe. ... [Page 255] 

Bölte was waiting for me when I arrived in my cab (they put me into a cab at Vauxhall); and the "airs" from Chancellor's "Livery-stable"[1] were awaiting me! I really believe Lady A.[2] is right about that stable-yard having a great deal to do with my nausea. When I felt it last night "with an entirely fresh nose," I wondered how we could live beside it, for the mere unpleasantness of the thing, - to say nothing of health. I was not the least bit sick at Addiscombe - whatever else - and could eat like other people. This morning again, it is the old story. But on Monday I shall wave my lily hand to it, and cry "adieu." By Saturday I could hardly get ready; but on Monday I must be off. I feel just now as if nothing less than my life depended on incessant movement in the fresh air. I sometimes wish you could know what a weight of physical illness I am carrying, that you might wonder less at the little way I make. But "it will come all to the same ultimately!"

I think Miss Wynn must have been out of her mind yesterday. I found a Note from her last night to "prepare me for not hearing from you so soon as I expected." Mrs. Lindsay had told her these Steamers "never kept their time by many days, so that the passengers were often short of provisions!" She "thought it best to tell me this in case of my being uneasy!!" I shall really be relieved to know you are on dry land again. [Page 256] 

The Examiner has come as usual. Was I to take any steps about it? I send it on to your Mother this time. Moreover Elizabeth told me that "there is a new Letter of Mr. Oliver Cromwell for Master, which the gentleman who has it does not think is yet published!" "What gentleman?" "A Mr. P., I think, but I can't be positive: his Letter might be something, but I don't think himself was much!"

Hartmann has been to paint me since I began this Letter. Bölte begged so hard last night that I would yield her that "last consolation." He was to come at eleven, and has kept his time for once. It is now after three, and I am painted - quite done with - thanks God! And an excellent little Sketch he has made of me, - I think - a side face again, but the other side from Laurence's; quite as sorrowful-looking, but hardly so severe. I must wind up anyhow. ...

Ever yours,



To T. Carlyle, Imperial Hotel, Dublin.

Chelsea, Saturday, 7 July, 1849.

Now, I tell you what, my Dear, you shall not write me such long Letters while you are touring. I don't say you shall not write so often, - I am not so absurdly generous as that comes to; besides with such a perfect writing-apparatus and such a talent, "to drive the Genii to despair," you may manage to send me plenty of Letters without much [Page 257]  trouble to yourself, provided you make them brief; but I will not have you hurrying and worrying to get me told all your doings, while you have so much to do. After all, the most important for me is that you are well and thinking of me kindly; and assured of that much, I can patiently await your "reasonably good leisure"[1] for all the rest. I am a horrid little egoist, as you know; but even in that may lie a certain advantage for the man who knows how to use it.

Perhaps I enter into your situation more feelingly from being allowed myself so little leisure to write: not one evening have I had to myself since you left! nor shall have while here! The day before yesterday I had returned from Sloane Street, and was just going to have "my simple repast" (the wing of a chicken), at 4 o'clock, when Aubrey de Vere came and staid till half after 5. He asked your address, to send you his Paper on Ireland; and I gave it to him, as I then had it: Post Office (Dublin), so you must call at the Post Office in case. I said to him, as one says all sorts of polite things, "farewell, then; I suppose I shall hear no more of you till I find you again in London." To which he answered, with "the down still on the cheek of that beautiful enthu-si-asm,"[2] "Nay, Mrs. C., that depends on you; if you will only be kind enough to send me your address in Scotland, I shall be only too happy to write" - another Letter of 24 pages I can well believe! - At last he went, and I sat down to my chicken; but the knocker was at it again before I [Page 258]  had eaten two mouthfuls! I rushed wildly into the passage to bid Elizabeth deny me; - but "It is only Mr. [John] Forster, not going to stay." "Pardon me, my dear Mrs. Carlyle! I am going out to dinner - ought in fact to be sitting down to dinner at this moment! My dear Mrs. Carlyle, God bless you! I am only come to ask if you will let me come to-morrow evening? You will? God bless you! I have a thousand things to say; - but - God bless you till to-morrow!" etc., etc. And eventually exit. After this I had a good moment on the sofa reading your second Letter, which was quite a surprise: - two in one day! Very "creditable to your head and hort!" Then I put some of my clothes in the portmanteau; then sat down to tea; and while drinking my first cup, John Fergus walked in! "Very dull! It must have taken a great deal to make a man so dull as that!"

Yesterday my whole forenoon was cut up by Laurence. From there I went to another Artist,[1] but of that transaction I am not going to tell you just yet: "Lord! what fun!" At six came Fairie; and after eight, Forster, actually, who staid till eleven! And that he did not kiss me when he went away seemed more a mercy of Providence than anything else! To-night I am to have Miss Wynn; and to-morrow night, poor Bölte, as usual. On Monday at three I start, having announced myself to Neuberg. But, mercy! Mr. Neuberg is so delighted that, as Phoebe Baillie felt with Macleay,[2] I hardly like to venture to him "without an escort of dragoons!" Did I send the

[Image fp258: MRS. CARLYLE]

[Page 259]  Letter he wrote to you? I have no recollection of putting it up, and if not, it is "swept into the general flood of things." That one was kind, but perfectly composed, and without any poetry of expression. This to me, is, "What shall I say? passionate, upon my honour!" Poor Rome forced to capitulate after all! - Oh, dear me, twelve o'clock already! and I am meaning to take a fly to-day and leave the plate at Bath House; and ask for Mrs. Chorley and take a Book written for by Croucher, and do a thousand things. -

God keep you, with good sleep, - and good appetite and good everything.

Yours ever,

J. C.


To T. Carlyle, Post Office, Cork.

Rawdon, Sat., 14 July, 1849.

Goodness Gracious! what is to be done? Will a Letter directed Post-office, Cork, be still in time to find you? "It may be strongly doubted!" So I will make a compromise betwixt a Letter and no Letter: - will write what Mazzini would call "a pair of lines" to notify my safe arrival here, leaving all the details till a more certain opportunity.

... On Thursday, after breakfast, I left Nottingham with Mr. Neuberg and his dear little Sister, and went partly by Railway partly by open carriage to Chatsworth, and returned to Rowsley to sleep in a beautiful little rural Inn, about half a mile from Haddon Hall. It was very strange to go squealing in a Railway train past all those [Page 260]  crags and paths at Matlock where I had wandered so silently with you[1] At midday yesterday (Friday) I parted with the Neubergs at Matlock Station, - they returning to Nottingham, I proceeding to Barnsley, where I was received with transports of affection by poor Mrs. Newton, a very loving woman if not a brilliant one, - dined and had tea with her (Nodes is in London), and then she drove me herself in a gig to the Station, three miles off, where I again deposited myself in a Railway carriage at eight at night, expecting to meet Forster [W. E.] at Leeds. But at Normanton, two stages from Leeds, the door of my coupé, where I sat all alone, was thrown violently open and a man jumped in - rather impertinently I thought - and seated himself, and then said, "Well, how are you?" I turned and stared, and behold it was Forster! At Appleby the Gig was waiting with a very frisky horse; and also Nicol, the Glasgow man, who was to come here to sleep, on his way to the water-cure, whither he is now happily gone. Forster, too, is off to Bradford, to be back in two hours, - perhaps with Mrs. Paulet.

And so you see how I am situated (as your own phrase is). For the rest, I am precisely in your own case - "Well, really well, ever since I got out of London," "but hardly any sleep to be had." - Enough on an uncertainty. When I know where a Letter will surely find you, you shall have further particulars. God keep you.

Ever your affectionate


[Page 261] 


To T. Carlyle, Post Office, Limerick.

Rawdon, Monday, '16 July, 1849.'

Ah, my Dear, nobody knows what he can do till he try! You see you can travel like other people, when you are fairly committed to it, and have not me at hand to complain to! Really you seem to be going ahead famously!

I wrote to Cork the day before yesterday: "don't I wish you may get it!" Yesterday I began a Letter, but had to leave off, and betake myself into the open air. My head ached, and I had a presentiment of the old sickness which nothing seems to stave off but continued movement. All the time I was under the providence of these blessed Neubergs I felt perfectly well, tho' sleeping little. They kept me always driving or walking; and after dark we played at Chess. Here things go on more stagnantly. Contrary to all previous experience, I am likely to be "too well let alone" here. William Edward [Forster] is no longer the devoted "Squire of Dames" he was, but the Squire of one Dame and that one is not me! The Paulets came on Saturday, - the day after my arrival, - and Mrs. P. is still here, and to stay till after a meeting in behalf of the Romans, that is to come off on Tuesday (to-morrow) night. Paulet went back to his water-cure last night. The Gig cannot carry three - so I walk "maistly by mysel'." ...

He, W. E., still talks of joining you; but "cannot set out till his Partners return, if" I "were to go to-morrow." [Page 262]  Would write to you to-day, he said. In short has no intention of going, in his private mind, I feel pretty sure; - cannot tear himself away, etc., etc. I was very ready to tear myself away forthwith, but Marioni is written for to attend this meeting, and I am curious to see "how the creature will get through it." And on Wednesday I am to go to Benrydden and have a douche; and if I started for Scotland on Thursday, I could not carry out the program in my head without running a-ground on the Sunday. So I must stay here, I suppose, till Monday next, this day week. I am not going to Liverpool, - never thought of going there just now when my Uncle and so many of them are at Auchtertool.

... Dear! dear! here they are going to the post already, and I must end.

God keep you always.

Your affectionate



To Dr. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Rawdon, Monday, '23 July, 1849.'

Dearest John - I am still here, but to start for Auchtertool (via Newcastle and Berwick) to-morrow morning. God knows but to-morrow night I may sleep at Haddington! - to-morrow night or the next. I have this notion in my head, that the first place I stop at in Scotland should be there, and that I should do best there unknown of by any one. - I mean to visit the Donaldsons by and by; but not yet. I could not front all the fuss they [Page 263]  and others would make about me - not till I had got used to the feeling of being in Scotland. And so I purpose stopping there one day, all by myself, in the first instance. It may not be to-morrow night, however; for I am determined not to overdo myself. Better stay a night on the road, and have a small bill at an inn, than have the blood sent to my head for weeks by too much railing. So if I find myself getting fevered, I will stop for the night at Newcastle or Morpeth, - at all events I must be in Edinburgh at twelve of the day on Thursday, having written to Jeannie to meet me then. ...

I went to Benrydden on Thursday morning and staid till Friday night, - quite long enough for making up my mind that the place is "no good" (as Elisabeth's phrase is). The doctor strikes me as a good-natured humbug; and the whole thing to "have a do at the bottom of it." - like a fool I let myself, out of a scientific curiosity, be what they call "packed" - a process which I was told afterwards requires a certain preparation and caution; but I submitted myself to it, on the Doctor's suggestion, "quite promiscuously." A bath-woman in a thick white flannel gown, like a white Russian bear, came to my bedside at six in the morning, and swathed me tightly like a mummy, first in wet sheets, then in dry blankets, then heaped the feather bed and bed clothes a-top of me, leaving only my face uncovered. Then - went away, for an hour! committing me to what Paulet calls my "distract ideas," and the sense of suffocation, - all the blood in my body seeming to get pressed up into my head. One only thought remained to me; could I roll [Page 264]  myself over, feather-bed and all, on to the floor; and then roll on towards the bell, - if there were one, - and ring it with my teeth? I tried with superhuman effort; but in vain. I was a mummy and no mistake! So nothing remained to me but to put off going raging mad, till the last possible moment. When the bath-woman came back at seven she was rather shocked at my state; put me into a shallow bath and poured several pitchers of water over me to compose my mind. But I have not got over that accursed "packing" to this hour: - it shattered me all to tatters.

Pray don't dawdle too long considering about Miss ----. "He who considers everything will never decide on anything" and I will not have you squander away Miss ---- like all the other young women you have cast a practical eye upon.

Now, Good night. I have my clothes to pack and a Letter to write to Mr. C. - Kind regards to them all.

Ever yours affectionately,


Next address:

Auchtertool Manse,


To Dr. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.

Auchtertool Manse, '28 July, 1849.'

Thanks, dearest John, for your Note and for your kind "anxiety." I have had my humour out, and no harm done. It was very sorrowful; - in fact I can imagine [Page 265]  nothing more sorrowful than that inspection of poor old Haddington, all alone and unknown, undreamt of by any one! But it was a sorrow more satisfactory to me than any pleasures could be at this date. And after all, it was no worse than I am in the habit of dreaming at Chelsea every time there is a headache in the wind! If I was to go there at all, it was much the best way of going. To have had almost irrecognisable people receiving me with kisses and tears and "all that sort of thing," would have upset me altogether; as it was, I played my part of stranger at the Inn very well, and got thro' the whole business with wonderful little crying.

But, mercy of Heaven, how changed is everybody and every thing![1] The Town is ruined; the Railway has ruined it, they say. Almost all the names I knew had disappeared from the Signs and I found them on the tombstones of the Churchyard. My Father's tombstone was grown over with moss; the Inscription illegible, except the first two lines that somebody had quite recently cleared! Who? Who was there still caring for him besides myself?

Forster came to Morpeth with me on Tuesday, and we staid there till Wednesday at two o'clock, that I might not get into Haddington till evening, when few people would be about. I went to the George Inn (where the people were all strangers, had been there only twenty years), and settled my things for the night, and had some tea. I then told the Landlord I should like to "look [Page 266]  at the old Church there," if the key could be got; and immediately the man who kept the key was sent for. When he had opened the outer gate, I told him to wait for me; that I only wished to walk thro' the Churchyard. But when I had to come back with my face swelled with crying, he was sure I was no stranger; and after a fruitless question or two, - which I staved off by questioning him, - I asked if he lived far from the Inn (I was thinking how I should get into the Churchyard again before breakfast), he answered, looking sharply at me, "just next door to the house that was Dr. Welsh's!" Then he said, "excuse me mentioning that, but since ever I set my eyes on you, I have had a notion it was her we used all to look after, when she went up or down!" I gave him half a crown not to tell any one, and to leave the gate open for me next morning. And then I walked two hours all about the places I remembered best, and returned to my Inn after dark, and sat up till one in the morning writing to Mr. C. (and tore up the Letter next morning, and wrote a brief business-like Note instead); and I should actually have slept, - so worn out I was, - if it had not been for a cat soiree on the opposite roofs. Then at six I was up and out again. Examined the outside of our old House while its occupant, young Thomas Howden, was still asleep; found iron stanchions on all the cellar and closet windows; and the Garden-door locked! - innovations indicating a new and worse state of morality in the Town; left silent salutations at the doors of the few people I knew to be still alive; then back to the Churchyard. But the man had not yet come [Page 267]  to open the gate, and I had no time to wait, for I wanted to clear all the Inscription before I went on my way. So I recollected that I had often enough climbed the wall (some ten feet high I should think), and thought what I had done I might do again. When the man came at eight he found me inside the gate. "God preserve me" he said, "how have you got there?" "Over the wall." "Hear to that! Will there never be an end to you?" After this feat however, I could not have remained long in the place unknown. It had been seen from a distance by a gentleman[1] taking his morning walk. - When I got into the railway carriage at eleven, this gentleman sat in it alone; and I recognised him at once; tho' very old, his expression was the same. My veil, a thick black one, was down, and the instant I saw him, I turned away my face; then taking hold of his arm, I said, "thank God, here is one person that I know at the first glance." "I don't know you," said he (he was always a very silent man), "who are you?" "Guess," I said with my head still turned away. "Are you the Lady that climbed the Churchyard wall this morning? If it was you that did that, then you must be Jeannie Welsh. I thought to myself at the time, it could enter no woman's head but Jeannie Welsh's to get over the wall instead of going in at the gate!" What a charming scene followed, you may guess. - But I must keep my other adventures till another [Page 268]  opportunity. The post leaves as early as three, and I have two other Letters to write. - Love to them all. - You see I am not knocked up, - a little excited still, that's all!

Your affectionate

J. W. C.




[Page 157]

[1] Mrs. Carlyle's last housemaid was one of Margaret's daughters. See post, Letter No. 261.

[Page 159]

[1] Cromwell

[2] Mrs. Paulet.

[Page 160]

[1] See post, Vol. ii p. 89 n3.

[Page 163]

[1] Day appointed for their visiting the Fencham Plate-glass factory.

[Page 166]

[1] As a bad sleeper!

[Page 171]

[1] In reference to the above, Mr. Froude says (Letters and Memorials, i. 331), "She had written him an angry letter about his change of plan, which had disturbed her own arrangements." There was no change of plan at all on Carlyle's part: he had finished Cromwell only the day before, and had not had an hour's time to form any plan. He, "still deep in Cromwell rubbish," replied (on Aug. 29th) pleasantly to her "angry Letter".: "Oh impatient [Page 172]  Goody! what an image you have got of the possibilities of human travel! Nothing to do but rub one's bill on one's toe, take wing and straightway arrive!" But before Mrs. Carlyle had received this Letter, she herself had written on Aug. 29th: "Dearest, - To-day I am restored to my normal state of - amiability through the unassisted efforts of nature, I beg to assure you, without having waited for the Post-hour and your Letter. I am sorry now that I did not repress my little movement of impatience yesterday." There was no need except for mischief-making to call the little Note an angry Letter, while suppressing it; and no excuse for garbling Mrs. Carlyle's apology for having written it.

[Page 172]

[1] Referring to an incident in Carlyle's "Tour to the Netherlands."

[Page 175]

[1] Baring, afterwards Lady Ashburton.

[2] Bath House.

[Page 176]

[1] Dickens' and Forster's Amateur Theatricals.

[Page 178]

[1] Franz von Sickingen, who when dying of a wound received in battle against the Archbishop of Trier, took off his hat to him.

[Page 181]

[1] Revd. Alexander Scott, once Edward Irving's Assistant.

[Page 182]

[1] Mrs. Carlyle's once rich Cousin.

[Page 183]

[1] This is in reply to what Carlyle had written to his Wife, on the 4th of October: "If you promised Lady Harriet to 'stay the whole Winter,' there will be no possibility of keeping such a promise! Indeed, as Mr. Croaker says, I wish we may be all as well at the end of that business as at the beginning! For which purpose we will try to take in our ground well; and, dealing wisely, hope to get through well, too: why not? Decidedly it is a good the gods provide, and a credit to you, as Mahomet says." Mr. Froude cites from this Letter of Carlyle's (Life, iii., last half of p. 368), but, needless to say, he does not quote the above passage.

[Page 185]

[1] Cromwell.

[Page 186]

[1] Take only two examples: Letter 86 (Letters and Memorials, i.. 365), is dated from Seaforth House, "2nd of July"; but Mrs. Carlyle did not leave London for Seaforth House till the 4th of July! And Letter 75 of the present Collection, which gives a very reasonable explanation of the cause of her delay in answering her Husband's Letters, is entirely omitted.

[Page 188]

[1] Shuping Sing is a Chinese character in a Novel, who can see almost through millstones. - T. C.

[Page 190]

[1] The "Navigator" was Mr. Paulet, and "Betsy," his Wife.

[Page 191]

[1] This only means that Mrs. Carlyle, after having had time for reflexion has become conscious that she had been during the last week or two a rather disagreeable companion to her Husband, through her ill-health and consequent fretfulness, impatience, and unreasonableness. She appears to have written no Letters in May or June preceding this; but Carlyle's Letters of the period in question make many references to her great weakness and ill-health, "ever since our Summer heats came on."

[2] While staying at Seaforth, Mrs. Carlyle generally uses notepaper having the words, "My dear Husband," printed at the top of the page.

[3] Mr. Froude, with his usual inaccuracy, says (Life, iii., 379), "She did not write on her arrival as she had promised to do." "There was a violent scene when they parted." Both of these statements are untrue. The facts are simply these: Mrs. Carlyle, as we have seen, left London on Saturday 4th July. She had not promised to write a Letter on her arrival: Carlyle's words are: "You did expressly promise to announce your arrival straightway." This Mrs. Carlyle did by posting a Newspaper the very next day, which, had it not miscarried, would have "announced her arrival" at the very earliest hour possible for Carlyle to have heard from her; viz.,[Page 192]  on Monday morning, - there being no Postal Delivery in London on Sunday. Having posted this Paper on Sunday as a signal of her safe arrival, she wrote on Monday Letter 69, which tho' somewhat despondent, contains not an angry or unfriendly word. Mr. Froude's "violent scene" therefore existed only in his own imagination.

[Page 192]

[1] Carlyle's horse.

[Page 193]

[1] Part of this Letter is printed in Letters and Memorials i., 367.

[Page 196]

[1] A long passage about Carlyle's horse is omitted here.

[2] See Letters and Memorials, i. 369.

[Page 197]

[1] In his reply to this Letter Carlyle, after tenderly expressing his sympathy with his Wife's ill-health, which he well knew to be the real cause of her present unhappiness, conveys in the gentlest manner his disapproval of her dwelling on these sad and despairing thoughts about Death, and hints that it would be wiser and more profitable to think more of living than of dying. He says (16 July): "Still very unwell, my poor Goody; - but you will be better in a day or two? It is very sad work watching thro' sleepless nights in company with these haggard thoughts, alas; - but what can we do in the interim! Death is indeed very indisputable; but Life too, Life I should think is not less so, and that is our present concern. Compose thy poor Soul; and know well that to the wise no sorrow is in vain, no sorrow is not precious. God be with thee." ... Two days earlier, he had written encouragingly, probably in reply to something his Wife had said (in a Letter, now lost) touching Christianity, in which she had little or no faith: "As for the Redeemer, - yes, 'the Redeemer liveth': he is no Jew or man, or image of a man or Jew, or Surplice or old Creed; but the Unnameable Maker of us, voiceless, formless within our own Soul, - whose voice is every noble and genuine impulse of our Souls: he is yet there in us and around us, and we are there: no Abbess, Eremite, or fanatic whatever, had more than we have; how much less had most of them!"

[Page 200]

[1] Novelist mentioned in the Reminiscences, ii., 247.

[Page 201]

[1] See ante, p. 136.

[2] I. e. it didn't contain an invitation to dinner!

[3] The "American Box" was a large one filled with a promiscuous assortment of presents, sent to his Brother Alick and family in Canada.

[4] Carlyle did not receive this Letter (which is undated as usual, but Postmarked "13th August, 1846"), until the 19th or 20th of [Page 202]  the month, being away from Scotsbrig on a short tour with Mr. and Lady Harriet Baring. Replying to it, after his return to Scotsbrig, he writes (on the 20th of August): "Thank Heaven I have heard from you! Two Letters lying here on my return, and another very swift and hasty which has arrived since. You are better too, far better, than my gloomy notions had represented you in these late watching nights." Mr. Froude had this Letter of Carlyle's, plainly dated 20th August, 1846, before him when he was writing the thing commonly called a Biography of Carlyle, for he cites a passage from the Letter (at the foot of p. 392, vol. iii.); but, to make it appear that Carlyle had not heard from his Wife till the 25th of August, he suppresses that part of it which shows that Carlyle had had three Letters from her by the 20th of the month, and proceeds at once to give Carlyle's Letter of the 26th of August, which begins: "My dear Goody, - I had thy Letter yesterday at last; many thanks for it, - and do not keep me waiting so long again!" - A very characteristic example of "Fraudulency."

[Page 205]

[1] A reasonable inference: Carlyle merely said, writing on the 9th of Augt: "To-morrow we go, Jack and I, to Dumfries, if it do not pour. You shall hear a word (from there) if there be Post-time when I arrive; which I doubt." He says not a word about returning to Scotsbrig; and Carlisle, she knew, was the place appointed for his meeting the Barings.

[Page 206]

[1] See ante, p. 201 n.

[Page 210]

[1] Dilberoglue.

[Page 212]

[1] Helen Mitchell, servant at Cheyne Row.

[Page 213]

[1] Welsh, her Cousin.

[2] The little bedroom at her Uncle's.

[Page 215]

[1] See Past and Present, Bk. ii., Cap. 2.

[Page 216]

[1] Have had "very little to do."

[Page 219]

[1] Called "Pessima" (the worst).

[Page 221]

[1] Whom they called "Slowcoach."

[Page 223]

[1] "Jane has greatly improved in health," writes Carlyle from Bay House, to his Mother, 15th of Feb., 1847, "indeed, she is now about as well as usual, and we hope may now do well henceforth." And to T. Ballantyne, about the same date: "A pleasant, totally idle rustication, which in spite of the cold weather, has almost completely restored her (Mrs. Carlyle's) health." Mrs. Carlyle had been very ill, "confined to bed for three weeks," before leaving Chelsea for Bay House. See Letters and Memorials, i. 378. And post, p. 224.

[Page 224]

[1] I. e. Servant Helen Mitchell's departure.

[Page 225]

[1] "Sophy" Martin, Mrs. Carlyle's "Cousin." See post, p. 244.

[Page 226]

[1] Carlyle has been accused of allowing his Wife to keep only one servant, and a cheap and untrained one, at that. The accusation is entirely baseless. Carlyle never interfered with Mrs. Carlyle's choice of servants, except to urge her, as he himself says, to engage two instead of one. She herself preferred to have but one, as the above Letter shows; and a highly trained servant (when not trained by herself) she particularly disliked (see post, Letter 232). And when, in 1860, she did act on Carlyle's advice and engage two servants, she "was ready to hang herself," and "found the change nearly intolerable" to her (see post, Letter 213). She had been accustomed from her earliest years to have but one servant, - at a time. Her Mother never kept more than one at Haddington, and never paid her servant more than eight pounds per annum; indeed, she generally paid about half of that sum, and frequently she managed to do without any servant at all, as Dr. Welsh's book of Receipts and Expenditure, clearly shows. The very romantic story Mr. Froude tells of Miss Welsh's having been brought up in "luxury," and of never having "known a wish ungratified for any object which money could buy" (Life, i., 366), etc., etc., is, as intelligent readers will guess, a myth not even "founded on fact!" Dr. Welsh's Book tells another story. And it tells it in a way that does not admit of doubt. It begins in June, 1802, and ends on 11th September, 1819, and thus covers the whole of his married life, except the first year or two. It records every item of expenditure, from the yearly Butcher's Bill down to the "Penny to the poor" at Church on Sunday. It shows that Dr. Welsh managed his establishment, like the sensible man he was, on strictly economical [Page 227]  principles, saving every penny for the object he had in view, viz.: paying the purchase money of Craigenputtock. This cost him, I have been told, £10,000. As this sum, together with £500, the price of his dwelling house, had to be saved from his Practice in about twenty years, it will readily be understood that plain living and strict economy, and not luxury and opulence, was the order of the day in Dr. Welsh's household. Compare these two extracts from Dr. Welsh's Daybook with Mr. Froude's story of "affluence" and boundless wealth:

"6 Oct., 1802. Paid for cleaning coat and dying [dyeingl, a second time, breaches [breeches], 3s.

"2 Jan'y, 1811. Paid Mrs. Welsh in part of her allowance of £25 per annum for her and Jeannie's clothes, £2 10."

Even if he had been in a position to gratify his Daughter's every wish for any object that money could buy, Dr. Welsh was not the man to have practised or sanctioned that folly. He spent liberally on her education alone; and for the rest, he taught her both by precept and example to look upon thrift as a cardinal virtue. She learnt the lesson well, and practised it to the end of her life.

[Page 228]

[1] W. E. Forster, afterwards the Right Hon., etc.

[Page 229]

[1] In the Railway Station at Leeds.

[Page 230]

[1] Emerson to a pettish child of his. - T. C.

[2] Mr. Newton, a Brother of Mrs. Paulet.

[Page 232]

[1] Mr. Froude prints part of this Letter (Letters and Memorials, ii., 6); but of course he suppresses the foregoing paragraph! It is a paragraph, however, of some importance; for it affords irrefragable evidence that Mr. Froude was consciously "telling the thing that he knew to be untrue," when he wrote, in reference to this very invitation to Addiscombe, which Mrs. Carlyle had at once accepted without even consulting her Husband: "One asks with wonder why he [Carlyle] insisted on the continuance of an intimacy which could never become an affectionate one." (See Life, iii., 414.) It is difficult to say whether the suppressio veri or the suggestio falsi is the more abundant in Mr. Froude's Life of Carlyle. There is enough and to spare of the one and the other! "Our counsel is, Out of window with it, he that would know Thomas Carlyle! Keep it awhile, he that would know James Anthony Froude."

[2] The Butler at No. 4 Cheyne Row.

[Page 233]

[1] "Confidential assistance. - A practised reviewer and classical scholar, whose acknowledged productions in various departments of literature have elicited from The Athenæum, The Times, Quarterlies and other Periodicals, testimonials which will furnish incontestible evidence of his competence, engages to enhance or create the fame of diffident aspirants in any branch of the Belles Lettres. Poems, tales, essays, lectures, prefaces, leaders, sermons of any length composed. Works prepared for the press. Manuscripts critically corrected. Secrecy. By post to X.Y.Z. Phelps, bootmaker, 3, Haymarket." - Times.

[Page 236]

[1] Had missed the way once, I suppose. - T. C.

[2] The name of a Book. - T. C.

[Page 238]

[1] Geraldine Jewsbury. - T. C.

[Page 240]

[1] "John" is Dr. Carlyle. He has fared badly at the hands of Mr. Froude, not being a favourite with "the too candid biographer" of Carlyle. The Doctor was, as a rule, very kind and attentive to Mrs. Carlyle, especially in Carlyle's absence. As a small example (one amongst a thousand such) of Mr. Froude's bias against Dr. Carlyle, I may observe that in the original Letter 103, Letters and Memoials, ii. 27, Mrs. Carlyle has written: "John is to dine with Darwin to-day, so I shall not have him in the evening. He has been very kind, coming early every evening and reading to me when I could bear it." These words have been suppressed by the Editor without notice. They ought to have followed the words "not without worth," - five lines from the foot of page 27.

[Page 241]

[1] The "Squire Papers."

[Page 242]

[1] Archdeacon Hare's Life of John Sterling, then just published.

[2] Geraldine Jewsbury.

[3] A Novel by Geraldine Jewsbury.

[Page 243]

[1] At the end of the year Mrs. Carlyle had written to her: "for the rest, I am keeping free from cough this winter, and have even hitherto escaped the prevailing Influenza. On the 8th of January, we go to Bay House (Lady Hariet Baring's) where we have gone for the last two Winters, - to stay till far into February. There the climate is much less trying than in London, so perhaps I shall escape being laid up this Winter altogether."

[Page 245]

[1] Geraldine Jewsbury; the "Half Sisters," one of her Novels.

[Page 246]

[1] Lady Harriet's housekeeper.

[Page 247]

[1] Mr. Froude, asks apparently with wide-open eyes and incredulous amazement, "What was Carlyle doing in that galley?" - referring to his visits to the Grange, etc. One might reasonably ask, "What was Mrs. Carlyle doing in this galley?" Surely the drawing-room at Addiscombe would have been a more fitting place for a delicate guest than the kitchen! Was it necessary for Mrs. Carlyle to "permanently injure her health and undermine her constitution" by doing "drudgery and hard menial labor" in Lady Harriet's kitchen? No, it was merely a frolic, exactly on a par with her self-imposed "drudgery" at Craigenputtock. There was no more occasion for Mrs. Carlyle to indulge in menial labour in the one case than in the other. That is the plain and simple truth, and "nothing but the truth." This Savoy's Expedition to Lady Harriet's kitchen would doubtless have been seized upon by Mr. Froude as the occasion for a harrowing tale of oppression and abuse of a delicate lady, nurtured from her infancy in luxury and opulence, now sent by her brutal Husband to work like a slave in the dingy kitchen of an aristocratic Lady of "lofty pride" and "little ways," only that it would have shown, - what Mr. Froude particularly wished to conceal, - that Mrs. Carlyle was treated exactly like a member of the family at Addiscombe, and that she and Lady Harriet were mutually trustful, intimate and familiar friends.

[Page 249]

[1] Mr. and Lady Harriet Baring had now become Lord and Lady Ashburton, - the first Lord A. having died in May last.

[Page 250]

[1] Helen Mitchell from Kirkcaldy.

[2] Dickens' Haunted Man. The illustrations were by Frank Stone and John Leach.

[Page 251]

[1] At Headly Grove, Anthony Sterling's Farm, 20 miles from London.

[Page 254]

[1] A frost-bound rhyme of Birmingham workmen singing for charity on the streets (first time Brother John went thither, - 19 years ago, or more)! - T. C.

[2] Francis Jeffrey's oft-repeated phrase in reviewing, etc.

[Page 255]

[1] Cab proprietor's establishment near the foot of Cheyne Row.

[2] "Lady A." is Lady Harriet Ashburton. It is worth noting that, in the sentence, "I don't say 'dear' in the Lady A. sense, but really meaning it" (Letters and Memorials, ii. 345), Mrs. Carlyle does not refer to Lady Ashburton, but to another Lady whose name she writes in full in the original Letter.

[Page 257]

[1] Cromwellian expression

[2] As Miss Benson said. See post, Letter 138

[Page 258]

[1] A phrenologist and character reader

[2] The Artist who painted Miss Welsh's miniature in 1826, just before her marriage.

[Page 260]

[1] In August, 1847. See Letter 87 (ante, p. 227).

[Page 265]

[1] Mrs. Carlyle had not been at Haddington since Autumn, 1829, when she and Carlyle went there together from Craigcrook (Jeffrey's residence). See Reminiscences, i., 86.

[Page 267]

[1] A Mr. Lea, mentioned by name in Mrs. Carlyle's Narrative of this visit to Haddington, printed in Letters and Memorials, ii. 72, et seq. Mr. Froude's only contribution to the annotation of this Narrative is the misstatement that "Mrs. Carlyle had gone to Haddington for the first time since her marriage, twenty-three years before," - only that and nothing more! See ante, p. 265 n.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom