(Postmark, January 10, 1849.)
My dear Jane, - I have just been writing to Carlyle to thank him for his New Year's gift, which it was very good of him to send. If you could have foreseen all the fine new editions it would go through at the time you came up first to London, and nobody would take it; and yet all the desire of one's heart seems to come in a shape one cannot make use of. Is it our own want of skill, or is it the want of intrinsic value in the things themselves? I don't know; but I have got up this morning before anybody else, and my fire was not laid last night, so I am writing this under very shivering auspices. But the fact is, I have given in to a shameful, lazy, good-for-nothingness lately, and this morning I woke up in a better fashion, and, being minded to get up, I would not let the brisk inspiration be lost for the small want of a fire. But it is cold, so that will explain all the jerking shape of my letters. I did not go to my grand ball after all, and thankful now I am, for my brother has caught another cold, and has been in the house some
days. It came to him whilst he was after his lawful business; but if it had followed his going out with me, I should have reproached myself. Jenny Lind, who was the great attraction, sang three songs; but I went to see the Chevalier the day after, and he gave me some music on the organ, which made up for all the songs she could sing. When I hear his music I feel so ashamed of all the little sordid feelings in which I have lived; both the pleasures and annoyances that have moved me seem so little and foolish, that I wonder how I can ever give in to vain or bitter feelings again. I can quite believe in Saul and David. I am afraid he is going away soon, and then God knows when I shall hear him again! Do you remember those lines in Milton's 'Hymn on the Nativity'?
For if such heavenly song
Enwrap our senses long,
Time would run back and fetch the age of Gold;
And speckled vanity
Would sicken soon and die,
And lep'rous sin would melt from earthly mould.
I never felt what they meant before. I wish you could hear him; but as you cannot, it is no use talking about it. I want to know how you are - body and soul; is that dreadful sickness gone? How are you, in short? and how is ----? and how does your servant go on? I have got a cold and sore-throat,
and if it is not well to-night I shall try what a wet bandage will do towards bringing it to its senses. I tried one on ---- last night. ---- told me vaguely that ---- had left his charge suddenly. Is it so? Have you heard where he is gone? You will feel very anxious if it is so, as I fear from -----'s manner of speaking that it is a return of his old wildness. I have often thought of him when hearing of those political commotions, and feared for his sanity. He is a noble creature, and it is heart-breaking that all his fine qualities should have gone into chaos; it seems as if there were only the smallest touch needed to make the highest wisdom mad, and the wildest madness wise. This, the only thing of consequence in this letter, comes, as you see, at the tail of all. God bless you, and help you in all your need!
Friday (Postmark, January 12 1849).
My dear Jane, - Your letter has come, and, of course, was burnt directly. I only wish ---- and that other person could be served the same. It is something enormous to see how men may lie, and yet keep their fame and go current as 'honourable men.' They cannot know what they do, or surely they would set some limits to their recklessness of speech.
The world allows them great latitude; but even so, these men have proved themselves scoundrels, and utterly unfit to be received into the pale of society. I say nothing as to what gentlemen ought to be, but as men they are infamous. The name of one, at least, will suffer, because, as in the chance and change of things, I may come in contact with him; I shall speak the truth to him if I can only get the chance. Why, he is worse than ----, who had the excuse of being more mad than sane. Is there no way of making people amenable to common decency, if no other feeling can touch them? I do not call it, with you, 'a tempest in a teapot'; I am bitterly indignant; I cannot tell you the shock it has given me. It opens up such an abyss of wickedness and cruelty and heartlessness as turns me sick! How is one to live in such a world? It seems like a very 'babe in the wood' to wring one's hands over the world's wickedness, but this is something beyond the bounds; it is at these times that one's own self-respect outweighs all that man, or woman either, can say. It is not in the power of such coarse, lying natures to do you any outward harm, but I feel bitterly the sting it will have for you, of which they do not dream. I have no words to express all the indignation that is boiling within me. Bah! that such creatures have a right to decide on a woman's good name; it is enough to make one trample it under one's feet as
a thing utterly worthless when held by their permission. I am quite sure I feel more about it than you do, not for the slur on female purity, but for the loathsome insight into the position women stand in. Why, the very form of the thing is enough to make a woman fold her arms and assert her perfect right to dispose of herself in any way she chooses. I have no temper to write; I feel an intense indignation that you have been the subject of such a lying legend, but I feel as if the whole sex had been injured at the same time. I'll be hanged if I don't ease my mind in the next book I write! I have not felt so indignant in my life, and I wish I were a man for five minutes to kick them - ma foi, ma foi! I will have a little bit of 'settling' yet; if I cannot do that I can preach a gospel - a set of lying, hypocritical beggars! Well, it's no good swearing - only, I am angry, and it eases my mind. Do not let it make you regret anything you have done which your heart tells you was well and honestly done. The result does not lie in our province: we can only set ourselves in what seems the right path; the event lies with God, and He accepts the intention, and burns up all that may be defective in the execution. Therefore do not let your heart turn to bitterness against yourself, even though you may see how and where you might have done wiser. Yet true wisdom is not to depreciate what you did believing it to be
for good, and how can you know that it has not been for such? Be firm and of good courage to abide by your own act. Is there a step we would any of us take over again in precisely the same manner? I remember once hearing a very good and a very wise woman say, 'I believe God always allows us to suffer by the particular virtue on which we pride ourselves. I used to pride myself on my good-sense, and He has allowed me to fail most signally, so that all my acquaintance can point to me as a warning. But I accepted it as a chastisement for my complacency!' She was a woman of very strong mind and singular good-sense, but she made an ill-advised marriage, led by some high, transcendental motive, which she conceived to supersede ordinary rules. My dear child, do not put a sword in your own heart to aggravate anything you have done. Insomuch as you thought it right, it was right. Let me hear from you what were the other things you had to say. I have no news, except that I have got a cold and have deserved it, and I have fairly begun a new book - settled the principle of it, and got it nearly worked clear as a programme, and I shall now work like the Devil. I feel relieved as from a nightmare now my work lies straight ahead. I woke up the other morning with an idea. When I have done a chapter or two I will send them to you. I hope to keep clear of scandal in it, but, in fact, at
this moment I feel tempted to go and preach at Paul's Cross many things which would rather startle Messrs. ---- & Co. Thanks for the good intentions to the ----. Did I ever tell you that man has travelled all over Europe to learn details about the treatment of insane people, and has built an hospital here, where the treatment is to be quite on new principles? He collected of his own exertions and contributions 25,000l. . . .
Tuesday (Postmark, February 19, 1849).
My dear Jane, - It is precious little good you will get out of a letter from me to-day! I am mesmerised by my 'entourage,' and feel as if I could not even sit on a chair in peace. I have two visitors, both relations: one a very comfortable, good woman, whom I like; the other a large, bony, uncomfortable person, who never can get into the right place, and is always in the way, and makes a room look untenantable by the mere fact of her being in it. She pulls the chairs and tables out of their places, and is as restless as a great bird fluttering about, so you may fancy if I am possessing my soul either in peace or patience. Lewes is still lecturing here; I have not been to hear him yet, from having no one to go with me. He went to
see Mr. ----'s works the other day, and stayed there. He takes extremely well to the people here, and they all seem to like him. He and ---- are become very good friends. I like him so much better than I thought I should in London when I saw him; he really is a good fellow. ---- came over for a day to see me this last week; she is not yet allowed to read or write, but her eye is quite recovered now, as far as appearance goes; it might have been a most serious thing. As for poor ----, he is just at the end of another attack. Figure to yourself that he had not been dressed for five months. I do wish ---- had more feeling. What trouble lies before her; for those hard natures are always broken sooner or later. She wrote me a letter instead of her mother one day, who could not write, and I was quite pained by the callous tone throughout. ---- is very poorly, and business worries him. I am trying to persuade him to go from home for a little while. I want very much to know how you are, in all ways. Do write to me; you would do so if you knew how much I desire to hear. We are going to a grand concert at Mrs. Salis-Schwabe's to-morrow, given by her in honour of
her husband's birthday, and it is to be a surprise to him. Fancy the poor man going innocently into his drawing-room, and finding it full of people, all come to do him honour, and themselves pleasure! And he will take it as it is meant, and be as pleased as she can wish. This letter is not worth the postage, so I send you a note ---- wrote me, which made me laugh, and will perhaps do as much for you. Now good-bye, and believe me, whether bright or stupid, to remain
Sunday (Postmark, March 5, 1849).
My dear Jane, - If you want to know the reason why I have not written, it is that I have been dead-stupid, and as to writing a letter worth reading, I could as soon have 'jumped over the moon,' but not a dog would have laughed at it. It is very odd, but I was thinking of ---- only the day before your letter came, and thinking that the Devil had been singularly forbearing if he had not 'marked her for his own' during her absence. However, you have kept in a state of salvation many years longer than the time originally fixed by destiny. The dial of ----, like that of King Ahaz, went ten degrees backward, but, you see, she has fetched it up. However, as
you have picked up a jewel by the way, I can send you nothing but congratulations, double-edged, at being off with the old and on with the new. Lewes is making a prodigious sensation down here, only his moustachios have hurt people's sense of propriety, and nothing but the report of his wife, and an unascertained amount of family, could have stood against them. People here are morbid about moustachios. He might have brought a 'harem' with less scandal. Still, he is a great favourite in spite of them. Dear Mrs. ---- has taken him in great favour, and I like him extremely. I think there is a great deal of genuine kindness at the bottom, and there is a geniality I enjoy amazingly. He and ---- are great friends. He has taken to ---- extremely, and will not hear one word in qualification, even from me. He declares she is 'a rich organisation.' Poor ---- is still very ill; he was on the point of another relapse when Lewes was last there. If you wanted to do a real good deed - from which you might triumphantly appeal to Providence when it ill-treated you - you would write him a letter 'all to himself.' They are the only things he cares for; he is past reading or hearing read the newspapers. I read your last letter to the 'Chevalier,' who, delighted in it, would have it over twice, and declared that it was the best piece of description he had ever read. Mrs. ---- gave me a long message to you, which she insisted on my repeating
'verbatim'; but as I can't, you must take the substance, which is that she and Mr. ---- are very anxious that you and Mr. Carlyle should come and stay with them - that it would do you good; and I am sure that it would do me good for you to come. So send us some sort of hope, please! ---- was here calling on Friday, but I was out at Cheetham Hill, and so did not see him. As to more chapters, the 'Chevalier' is going away in a few weeks, and then you will get more, but I am with him a good deal at present. I can write books when I cannot have him, and I am getting more than I am losing; in other words, it is very good for me to go there. I will, however, send you something very soon. The other day I received wedding-cards from Madame ---- somebody ----! She is married, and gone to live in Paris, on a basis of 'George Sand.' Ireland gave me a picture of Carlyle the other day. What a disagreeable likeness it is! I should fancy it is how he looked when he came home and ---- would not open the door. I flatter myself this would have been a better letter than it is, only Mrs. ---- came in - the wife of the child born in the Reign of Terror who never came to his full senses! He is now travelling in the East, and she came to read a long letter from him, and I think that has absorbed the little sense I had. ---- sends his love to you; ---- is very poorly.
---- dined here the other day to meet Lewes. He seemed misanthropical and flat, as I am now.
There is a secret I want dreadfully to tell you, and I must not, and I am like one of those bottles of wine with a cork in the throat of them. It stops the way of everything else; it is burning my paper, my pen, and my tongue, and it would make this letter explode like detonating powder if I might only put it in the postscript! I can hear the claps with which your two little hands would go together, and the exclamations that would follow. ---- sends you his best love without qualification.
[Presumably from Mrs. Salis- Schwabe's house.]
Crumpsall House, March 29, 1849.
My dear Jane, - Here is an hour in which I am left to myself entirely, so I give you the benefit of it - to comfort my soul by abusing you; for if I don't get a better letter from you, or at least a letter with something in it, you may pass 'a month of Sundays' at breakfast without any letter from me. I want to know how you are in bodily health. You are going on pretty well in your worldly matters, I can see; you always have a certain tone when you are 'well-to-do in Zion' which is
good for telling that, if it is for nothing else; but still I would have been as glad to have some news of you after such a long silence as to be scolded about a matter which was a harmless caricature. Never abuse 'surfaces'; cream lies at the top, and there is nothing but skimmed milk underneath; and, besides, the surface is the result of all that is gone before, and is generally the best worth seeing. As far as I am concerned, my surface is like those strata which go down all the same as deep as people can dig below, so it is not much worth exploring. I could not help laughing at your assertion that I keep all sealed up with Solomon's seal. I have actually and literally told you all there has been to tell, what has filled up my days and my hours, and because it has been simply barren, you think I have secreted the crops, when in fact none have been grown. I come here much of my time, and shall do so as long as the Chevalier stays, and when he goes I shall be very sorry. He has begun the almost impracticable task of making me speak French correctly, a feat I have never achieved in English, and when I am at home I have often been in a dead-fix about my writing. I think the simple mystery of my existence just now - (your letter forced me to a self-examination) - is that I am 'bone lazy,' as my nurse used to phrase
it. But I have great faith in 'lying fallow,' and when I have a spell of laziness on me I follow it religiously, looking on it as the Orientals do on idiots - as an inscrutable manifestation of the Deity. I am sure I am glad to hear that a good novel is coming out. I want to read one sadly. I was not grateful for 'Jane Eyre.' I did not take to it somehow. I wish Lewes would write another. I like his very much. He is coming back again for his play, which is to come out after Easter, and I shall be quite glad to see him again. I took to him like a relation. He and ---- have sworn everlasting friendship. You really ought to come down amongst us again; you would see how the warmth of your presence would dry up all the marshy exhalations. And how you would enjoy it! As for me, be quite sure we should prosper; we are always glad in each other when we see one another. It is in absence that all the mischief arises - in the night the enemy sows tares; so just come, and send obstacles to the Devil; but you will be seeing Mrs. ----. I had an event the other night. I went to hear the 'Creation,' the very grandest thing in the shape of music I can conceive. It seemed to take one into a new world of sounds; it broke one up altogether, and called one out of oneself, possessed one like a new spirit. It was music that had nothing to do with passion or emotion, but when it was over one felt as if one had been
banished to a realm of common things, without sunshine, and nothing but an east wind. I have been miserable ever since, as I used to be, when a child, after a great pleasure. Jenny Lind sang very wonderfully, but the music itself swallowed up all she did. One never thought of her, at least I did not. She seemed to do what she was wanted to do, nothing more. The music was too grand to let anything else be thought of. There was a prayer, an old Catholic one, which I wish you could have heard. It was Pergolesi's 'Lord, have mercy upon me, for I am in trouble.' It went down to one's inmost soul. Jenny sang a very wonderful song, a sort of 'Cheval de Bataille,' about the 'Bright Seraphin,' but it did not touch anything but my organ of wonder. Here I am interrupted, so good-bye, and write me a good letter, and not a perverse one!
August 20, 1849.
My dear Jane, - When are you coming to me? I am looking for you, and hoping for you, so do not delay much longer, or I shall be out of all patience; and why the Devil don't you write to me! Your letters are always scarce enough, and now you are
making quite a famine of them. Do write, and, above all, say when you can come. I intended to have written yesterday, but was hindered by people to dinner. How are you? I am not at all well; I have a constant, dull, heavy pressure on the top and back of my head. I have not felt well this long while, and yet I don't know what can or ought to ail me. My tale is progressing, and ---- says it is interestingly innocent. I am sure it is, and I want you to read it, to see if, as the homoeopathic cookery-books assert, 'the most savoury ragouts can be made without pepper.' (A small kitten is running up and down my dress, playing with my pen, and amusing itself in various ways at my expense, and yours too, for you will never read this.) I want very much to know how you are, and how you continue to go on. I wish you would write me a real good proper letter, with some information about yourself in it. Only fancy, in two days it will be my birthday! Do you remember that one you spent here - when we went to Dunham Park, and in the evening to hear that Delilah-like woman sing? What was her name? She shocked all our notions of womanly decency. I wish you would be here for this birthday, but that cannot be according to the laws of time and space. I am not half so happy as I was this time last year. But bad spirits, like bad weather, do not last for ever, it is a comfort, and I am looking out for a brighter
season. Birthdays are nasty high-water marks. One just sees how far the tide has receded, and all the sand-banks on which one has a chance of getting stranded. I am deep in Hungarian reading - such a fine, noble set of people as they are.
Did I tell you that our meeting of sympathy came off with éclat? but they were all men. I tried to go, but there was not a woman in the place, so it was too strong for me to go as femme sole, representative of the women of England. But, really, a meeting all of men looks a deal more imposing than when interspersed with white pocket-handkerchiefs. I had just a glimpse (for tickets were sent me), and such a surface of upturned, rough faces was very stirring. They had all left their business to come, and every presence there meant something, for each had come at a personal sacrifice of time and convenience. The people were very civil, and as I declined going in when I found how it was, a gentleman most gallantly took me and Mrs. ----, who was with me, into the Council Room behind the platform, and opened the door; but as we could only hear one word in five, we soon retired. I would do anything to help them. Have you heard anything of Mazzini? Mrs ---- has come home again. I am trying to tempt her over for a sort of 'swarry' in honour of Goethe, which some people are getting up. If she does not come, I have an idea that my headache will be supernaturally
bad for that evening, and that I shall go to bed instead. I wish you would be here for it. I daresay there would be some fun, and, besides, the 'Lieder-tafel' have promised to sing, and that is worth something. I am going out to-night to meet the author of 'Nemesis of Faith,' a very nice, natural young man, though rather like 'a lost sheep' at present. He has only been used to the Oxford part of the world, so that sectarians and unbelievers are strange to him. He is engaged to be married to a very handsome woman of good family and good fortune, a sister of ----'s. ---- is not at all well, is gone to see Mr. ----. Only think, a sober, reputable Scotchman - Mr. ----, no less - wrote to me the other day his gratitude for the loan of 'Lucrezia Floriani,' declaring that he had known many Lucrezias, and that Madame Sand had shown her profound knowledge of the human heart. Pretty well, upon my honour! Codes of morality require revising as well as codes of religion, it seems. My head is so heavy and surging that I must lie down. This letter is only written on the Christian principle of 'heaping coals of fire upon your head,' which I hope will burn bright and make you miserable till you write to say when you are coming to your affectionate
Queen's Hotel, Saturday (Postmark, September 6, 1849).
My dear Jane, - I have seen old ----; his servant was out, but the nurse let me in. He is not much changed in appearance, but he is very feeble. He spoke quite rationally, and desired me to tell you that he is most grateful to you for sending to inquire after him; that, of all people, you are the one he most desires to see, but that he is not up to speaking to you, and that he will communicate with you as soon as he can. The servant, ----, says he is much better, but that at times he does not recognise him, and though he knows, he cannot express what he means. He is not able to be removed, and will not be for a fortnight at least. Those are his servant's own words. The doctors are very kind to him, and they say a fortnight will decide everything. Captain ---- has been down for a day, but was obliged to leave again. The old man wants for nothing, and is well attended to. I offered to go and see him from time to time, and ---- said that a little company did him good occasionally, and that if I would come, I might sit with him when he was 'up to it.' So I am to come on Monday, at eleven o'clock, on speculation. Poor old man! I am really sorry for him, and will do anything I can. One thing I can set at rest for you - viz., do not come over on purpose to see
him. I don't think he would like to be seen by you in his 'humiliated condition,' as he calls it, and he is made very comfortable as things go, so there is no sort of necessity. Mr. and Mrs. ---- have been very kind, but are now out of town. On the whole, Mr. ----'s letter was not so foolish as it seemed. He could say nothing more than he did say - viz., that you are not needed. I can speak from my own eyes and positive knowledge to the same effect. . . .
. . . If you were always here, of course you might see him as much as you liked, but there would be no good in coming over; and even when he is able to be removed, 'no stranger can go with him,' he is so ill; so the servant told me. What it is I don't know. I did not remain two minutes in his room; he was in bed, but says that he sits up a little every day, at eleven o'clock, when his grandson sees him. I will write to you again on Monday, and tell you whether I have seen him. Poor old fellow! he looked so like my father when he was lying in bed that I was quite startled. He had, it seems, been over-fatigued with travelling for several days previously, and the doctors say his attack arose from that. He had been told of your first message, and expressed himself very grateful, but said just what ---- told you. This is a confused letter, but
two hours on the railway and no dinner have made me very faint, and I can write no better. I will write again on Monday. God bless you!
Friday (Postmark, September 21, 1849).
Dearest Jane, - I was looking out for the postman very anxiously, and in due time he brought me my own envelope, as a sign of your safe arrival, somehow, in London. I thought that would pacify me, but it has only made me more impatient and restless to know in what state you arrived. It seems only a moment ago that the train started with you - as if I could put back my hand and snatch your's to me again, and seeing my own writing again was just as if the ghost of yesterday morning had really appeared. I wish you would get someone who knows how to write to me to say how you are, for I don't want you to be bothered with letter-writing, and yet I don't want to wait for tidings. I feel as if I must have seemed very cold and indifferent whilst you were suffering, but you know it was not so. There are many things I wanted to tell you, and I cannot write them this morning. I am too 'dished,' partly because those people stopped till after twelve last night, and partly that I 'dished' myself this morning with strong tea, which has shaken
out of me all I have thought since you went. ---- and ---- were both very anxious about you, and I shall call and tell my news as I go into the town. I had ----'s letter after you left, and I sent it you, and its enclosure. If you have read Newman's 'Soul,' you will laugh at the notion of Lewes's finding it so sublime. For all the world, that book is like that story of the lady in captivity who picked to pieces some old tapestry, and with the faded and mouldering threads worked an emblem of her own sorrows. It is the ghost of a book. As to ----, I hope you will get more good out of his philosophy than I do. The fact is, that when Lewes got that cursed article, he said it would scandalise every review but ----'s (who, however, pays nothing, or at best next to nothing, for I suppose contraband notions are sold in the same market as stolen goods). So, finally, to ---- it was sent, and ten pounds asked. He declined it on the score of being full, and that by Christmas the subject would be 'passé,' which it cannot be, for the subject, unhappily, is going on, and the problem won't be solved, this long while, at least, of 'Modern Scepticism and Modern Belief.' So I wrote back to say that as Lewes thought it was the ten pounds which made the obstacle, in the Devil's name to let him have it gratis, on condition it was printed this next number. So
now you may appreciate his 'Dissolving Views.' The article, I know, has some good things in it. I did it as well as I could, although, like young actors and young singers (I mean beginners), I can truly say I wore out a deal more force than the result indicates, and I want an article in print as 'a specimen of my handwriting.' I have not let ---- see it, because, though I am sure it is all as natural as the day, yet, as the 'Correspondence philosophe et réligieuse,' the 'Pére's' last book, printed for private circulation, is taken as the type of the modern tendency of 'belief,' and the 'Nemesis of Faith,' and all that sort of thing, as the type of the other, I think he would rather I had not meddled with either; though it was a comfort to my soul to 'say my say,' and I am sure it was all true, and, to my thinking, more like a sermon than a scandal. So, if it had not been for the vexation of not getting more money, I should have laughed at ----'s note, and felt obliged to him for 'doing' such a correspondence. When I write to him I shall send you the note for counsel. It is a shame to talk on at this rate, and I am haunted by the idea that you are in for another day of suffering. For Heaven's sake, don't waste your strength in struggling against obstacles which seem stronger than you are! You have enough of all kinds of suffering to endure without cutting yourself to pieces for people who are too idle to amuse themselves, and only want some teetotal substitute
for the excitement of dram-drinking. Let them go to the Devil! You have enough to bear of your own. Do not, for God's sake, spend all your remaining strength, but retire whilst you have an existence left! Those who love you don't care a pin for your social excellences. You are you, and that is all they want. As to the others, who only want you to lighten their fog, let them go elsewhere, but do not spend your strength for naught! I am so thankful for the few days we have had together that I cannot be very troubled by anything that may now happen to me. It is like receiving back a loss with compound interest. God bless you, and send you better!
Ever your own, as ever,
[September, 1849, after one of Mrs. Carlyle's visits to Manchester.]
Sunday (Postmark, September 27, 1849).
Dearest Jane, - I was very glad to get your tiny note. Don't write till you are quite better. I will not have you waste your little strength in letter-writing. I have thought a great deal about your headache since you were here, and I do most earnestly entreat you to consult either Dr. Elliotson or Locock; but Elliotson has an inspiration for knowing what ails people. I don't recommend you to let him try
to cure you - his treatment is too strong; but do not go on in ignorance. 'If you must perish, perish in the light.' Do try to get well. I am of Carlyle's persuasion, that the darkest hour is past, and that there is light coming if our mistakes have been cleared up and cleared away, along with their train of aggravations and collateral sufferings. I am sure there is no need to despair of anything, of yourself least of all; the one thing needful is, that you take care of yourself. I had a great deal I wanted to say, but this morning my head is very painful, as well as stupid; but that is not supernatural, for we went to Franconi's last night, and this morning, instead of getting up I lay in bed giving wise counsel to ----, who came yesterday. She is a very nice, natural girl, and has a world of good-sense. I do not believe she has any more love for ---- than we have; she speaks of him quietly and sensibly, and with no blushes of confusion, that I can see; in short, she has been looked at through a Seaforth mist, which is refracting, as you know. Oh! I had such a ridiculous evening on Friday. I dined at the ----s, to meet Mrs. Follen - Gambardella's heroine. She is a nice, mild-looking woman, whom Nature once intended to be agreeable and good, but her 'circle' have surrounded her with so much adulation that she can neither move nor speak without an emphasis of 'superiority,' which makes the least action look as
if it were a specimen of some 'tesselated pavement' fit for a museum, and not a pebble is to be found in its natural state. Everything has been weighed, polished, arranged, and labelled. And then her conversation was elocution, and flowed on like a river of oil, which fairly carried me 'povera' away in the flood. And yet Nature did her best to make Mrs. ---- a very charming woman, only poor Nature was sadly thwarted. Only figure to yourself my perplexity when Mrs. ---- began to come out strong about 'hanging.' Some 'Nemesis' had driven her to travel in the same train with the man who hanged Gleeson Wilson. He was in the next carriage to her, and, of course, people looked very hard at him. And did she not talk me down because I said I hoped Mrs. Manning would be safely hanged before the 'drop' was abolished. I am sure I felt very sorry for the Jews and heathens who have missionaries sent to preach at them and touch their feelings. I never felt so aggravated in all my life as I did at her pathetic appeals to my 'sense of humanity,' and her proposal that some humane person should 'take charge' of Mrs. Manning, and bring her to a sense of her conscience. ---- hereupon laughed, and said that Mrs. Manning had a far better prospect of doing well in the next world than of doing any good in this. Don't say that man has no fun in him. Well, finally, though
this letter was begun on Saturday, it is Wednesday to-day. This time last week you were lying ill with your head. I hope to Heaven that you are better off to-day! Carlyle wrote me a very kind note. You see, you might have stopped quite well to the end of the week, and it would have been such a comfort to me. It is so long since we were really together. By the way, I have not written to ---- since you left. She must get miserable again before I can write; when she is 'at ease in Zion' I feel out of all patience somehow. I have written to invite little ---- to come over for a couple of days, and I am racketing about with ---- in grand style. I suppose the exercise and air are good for me, and I am so disgusted about my 'tale,' that if I can break the engagement I will. Only fancy, after all the bother they made, and hurrying me as they did, they won't now print it till January. I am just disgusted! I was 'left to myself' when I undertook to have any dealings with them. ---- is not well, but I suppose he is amused at having a visitor, and so is in a better fashion. He regretted your absence, especially when he found you might have stayed. By the way, I must not forget one thing I want to tell you. Mrs. ---- said that some tribes of Indians want to be civilised, and to have 'constitutions,' and when I said, 'Oh! I hope they will keep to their costume,' she said, with mild wisdom, 'You surely would not wish them to keep
their blankets! Nor will they ever become civilised till they adopt a dress which is not open to such serious objections; few families would like to admit them to their society in their present costume.' So you see 'breeches' are the first principle of civilised life; and at Franconi's I could not help being struck with a slight indication of that 'indispensable' which satisfied the 'feelings of society.' This is a stupid letter, but I am not up to writing more, and am vexed and worried; so good-bye, and God bless you, and send you well.
Ever your affectionate
Friday morning, night, and Saturday.
My dear Child, - What a wonderful being a clever woman is! To think that I should just now, 'at this period of the debate,' have discovered for the first time that it was better to wait for the season when time and strength set in for a regular letter. Good Heaven! if you only knew how anxious I am to know every minute how you go on, and how you feel, and how very little I care for 'good letters,' you would never waste another upon me. Just scratch me a line as often as you can, even if it be only a sentence you want to say, and send it without feeling any moral obligation to fill the paper. I will send
you a quantity of stamped adhesive envelopes, and then all the material bother of sealing, &c., will be done away with. At first I was in a great rage with that remarkable woman for interrupting you in the middle of your letter to me. Then I got into a worse rage at finding it had been burned. Why could you not have begun another, and sent the fragment on its own basis? Just as if I did not know well enough how gold and purple clouds of sunset change into leaden-coloured mists, and no fault to the sun. And then I thought that perhaps she might have come to you for some comfort in her perplexity, and then I got very placable towards her. I am more shocked at the mode in which she lives with her 'lawful love' than with anything else. It is the common instinct of human nature to say so. No system of philosophy, either Satanic or transcendental, can make it otherwise. As to the man himself, there is a point at which virtue becomes vice, and vice versâ, and his pusillanimity in shrinking from the inconvenience and terrible disagreeableness of 'making a row' coincides with his good-nature. People like him always slide into what comes handiest. And then he has filed down the edge of his feelings by the dreadful promiscuousness of his way of talking of everything to everybody. It is an experience he will put in a novel some day - or might do! . . .
The thing you intended for the best and noblest dedication of yourself has not borne the fruit you have reason to expect. Dear friend, do not let yourself be made bitter by this trial. Yield yourself up, and bow your head to Him who is the Father and Director of all. Don't worry yourself by thinking over all you might have been, if you only can resign yourself into His hands (to no earthly or second cause), but accept as from His hands this humiliation of not having any visible, successful result of the great step of your life. Yield yourself and your sword to Him, and do not fight any more, and all the bitterness and the poisoned suffering will pass away, and strength and healing will descend upon you. It is not with men you have to deal. Look away from human beings. You are in the hands of God, the Master of all, and it is to Him you submit. He is your Judge. It is a small thing to you to be judged of man's judgment, to be understood or misunderstood. Leave husband, friends, all alone, and resign your destiny to Him, to do with you what seems good unto Him, and you will find your sorrows cease and your way made plain. Do not degrade yourself by any second motive. I cannot describe the state of mind I mean, but I only know that more than once in my life I have thus flung myself, broken, helpless, and prostrate. Destiny only meant that I might be in His hands. I cannot describe; it has been like being
taken into the invisible world, and all the littlenesses and the pitiful things are broken down which separated me from Him. It has been rest and healing, and everything one's shattered being needed. One gets hard again, and sets up for oneself. One has to come out of this mysterious sanctuary; but one comes out able to go on, and then it is there, and a time of need opens it to one again. I have tried to say this to you more than once, and I cannot express myself, and you will be weary of hearing it; but I don't want you to think I am using mere words in a vague sense. If I could only say something which should move your heart to feel as I do! One hears things very often without attaching any meaning to them, and then, some fine day, after listening for the fifteenth time, a meaning flashes upon one; and so that is my excuse, but I tell you nothing but the most statistical matter of fact. Do not be out of patience with me, or think I want to preach. . .
This is the third time I have been interrupted in this letter. If I were to read it over, no doubt I should put it into the fire; but I shall not do so, and you must take what you get. I have been out all day. ---- has a whist-party, and I am writing in the midst of the aces of diamonds and clubs, and what not! There is a heap of things I want to say, if I only
could think of them. I like that poem; indeed, I like all those you ever showed me by ----. My dear child, my conclusion of the whole matter is, that you may be trusted to manage all your own affairs, and good advice, the very superfinest and best, would only mislead you, if you were to take it. Now, is not that generous, considering my turn for giving advice? I feel quite easy about what you say, and you will and must get good of some sort out of such really generous devotion, which it is, in spite of drawbacks.
The only thing I don't like in your letters is, that you do not seem disposed to come here to us, and I had made up my mind that you would. It is all nonsense what you say about 'generosity,' and so forth. Don't get that into your head. I want you to come here, so, for God's sake, don't take into account any other consideration than how to get here! Will you promise me not to do anything till you have been here? What do you think I am doing in the way of handiwork? You will never guess. I am making blue petticoats to frighten away the cholera. It's not often I do anything for poor people, but my feelings were roused to think that the 'house-to-house' visitation was to give the poor wretches physic, and I thought if one only could go from house to house with clothing it would be more practical. . . .
October 19, 1849.
Thursday night (Postmark, October 26, 1849).
How nice it is to get your tiny scrap! The reason of my Sunday failure? The Devil kept me in bed very late, and then he came in the shape of Dr. ---- to take us a long walk, and then the people came without end till bedtime. Among the rest came ----, who was extremely - what shall I say? - companionable and communicative; and then I went to bed, and 'slept the sleep of the just.' I am obliged to get things done and written as I can, and I think letters to you, and then forget that I have not written them. I want to know how you are. How much I wish we had an electric telegraph apiece. Well, finally, Mrs. Tom is come home looking really very handsome, and a deal more amiable than when she went away, and Tom told me that Miss ---- had made up her mind, and accepted ----, who does not know this exactly, and is still balancing in his own mind what he shall do, while the thing is done for him. I feel to like the girl a great deal better now I know this; indeed, I feel quite amiable towards her. And as to the young man, he is a very good fellow, and I don't know that I would have refused him myself. You are a real darling to like my old friend, though I fancy the love
was most on my side. I have actually not written to him this age, but he will stand a little starving. It used to be such a white day for him when I had one of your letters to read to him - he used to appreciate them. He did me a world of good; but what touched my heart most of all was a little sentence about me in a letter to Mrs. ----, and not intended for me to see. Would it amuse you to see the 'memoirs' we wrote together? But had he not used to tell me nice tales, and then wind up with 'Mais, ma chère, ces choses ne s'écrivent point'? He was a darling when he was in a bad temper, because then he used to abuse people so wittily.
Mr. ---- has begun his paper. Have you seen it? He sent to ask me to write him an article on 'The Influence of Cheap Literature on the Female Mind.' What the Devil is its influence? I'll send it to you if it turns out anything, but my head is so crazy that I doubt if I can ever write more. It is coming off now: my head, not the article. God bless you, dear love.
Yesterday was a public fast-day, and felt to me like Sunday.
Tuesday (Postmark, November 6, 1849).
My dear Child, - I am very glad that you have got back out of the region of lies; but your letter has made me very sad. How is one to do in this world when things are told one, sworn to one - and one is tied hand and foot to secrecy and honour? I thought I was condemned, of necessity, by hard labour and silence, to get over that tragedy; and when I had, and when all the pain and suffering had done their work, now to find that it was all lying, is dreadful! What a waste of our life! For ---- did tell the truth as regards all I suffered; and, anyway, she has put us right together, which we could not have got without her, and I am too thankful for that, to be able to get up the steam to be indignant. I am very sorry for Miss ----, because, though I have forgotten the details of all the horrible allegations, yet I recollect well how ---- said they came about, which no doubt she told you as she told me; but I have suffered a deal too much in the business to be able to be very sorry for anyone else, for the communications were humiliating for me, independent of all the shock with which they came. I am very glad that Miss ---- has not done this thing, and that you have lost nobody you cared for. In short, I am too thankful altogether,
that it is not true - to have room for any other feeling. You see, straightforwardness does bring people out of all difficulties at last, and when the main grievance is set right, all the collateral grievances which arose out of the supposed fact, fall to the ground. One thing I am very thankful for, on my own private account, and that is, that I have not been able to help myself in all this tangled affair. The cloud settled over us, and the cloud has cleared off, and I have had no part in the matter, except to sit as quiet as I could, as, of course, anything said or thought under such an impression is as though it had not been; and, indeed, it is all a dream together. I am very content now, and the memory of former things has passed away; only as to Miss ----, I am very glad she has cleared herself so soon - she might have been years over it, as we have been. As to -----, we had better make no theories about her, except that she is like someone's lawyer, who 'hatched great hens out of little eggs.' She has not answered my last letter. She wrote one, but burnt it. ---- told me, and so I shall let her run a little more of her present course. I have known her longer than you have, and have suffered more by her; but, in the face of all the shame and suffering that lie before her, I cannot feel resentment for what is a touch of insanity, unstrengthened and unpurified by any sort of education,
as the wise understand that word. Her intimacy with her brother during the first part of her married life was disastrous; but she has fire in her, and the fire she has to pass through must and will purify her, burn up the dross, and leave her less of 'alloy.' But I must give over all this, and go to work. I send you our friend's modest note. All last week I could not write a stroke, and I wanted you to see the article before it went back. The Devil fly away with - not it, but other people! Another mail, and no letter from Cairo. If I had one I should be too comfortable to be disturbed by anything. As it is, I am too uneasy to be vexed by anything else. God bless you, and keep us safe together now, henceforth and for ever. I promise to make a real 'row,' and no mistake, if ever you give rise to unpleasant reports again. I will not chew the cud of a grievance any more.
Saturday (Postmark, November 12, 1849).
Dearest Jane, - In the hope that the 'Desecration of the Sabbath in the Post Office' may enable you to get this note to-morrow morning, I scrawl this on the spur of the moment (though I hope to write you a
better to-morrow). I have two of yours to answer. When I came to reflect upon what I had written along with ----'s note, I thought I had spoken foolishly. No amount of explanation would ever make her confess herself in the wrong, or would ever make her see the question as a whole: she would go distractedly into details, and I thought with a shudder of all the isolated facts she would dig up; and all the dreadful things that always get said, are recollected by her as if she were a demon, and no human being at all, let alone a woman - my experience of all that is deeper than yours, alas! It was an abstract sense of justice that made me desire she should know, but the very writing of that note cleared my judgment. No good, but much harm, would come of it. You and she can never be friends again, so that reason for an explanation does not exist. As to me, I know her, and she would only say things that would make me like her less than ever. I feel, besides, quite strong enough to do her justice, and make allowance and all that, which I should have to do, after all the affirmations and explanations she could make; and this is a case for an arbitrary and summary process, rather than the application of any constitutional form, and, besides, it is in reality no concern of mine. She has set me right with you, and in your esteem, for I must have seemed untrustworthy. That is all I care for, and that one act may save her life: as they pardon
criminals who turn 'approvers' and help to make restitution. I never intended to let her enter on the subject with me - God and the Devil forfend! - and I am glad your practical sense has hindered your doing it. She is not a subject for ordinary treatment; it would be like treating savages to a legal constitution. No, let her be; I don't want even to speak on the matter. I have got all I want; indeed, that I got, the moment you said 'it is a lie,' and I could feel no interest whatever in any other verdict - 'guilty' or 'not guilty'! I am glad to find a 'rock' somewhere, and I am glad she won't tell what ---- said. As to ----, she is like the Goodwin Sands, which at high tide are water, and at low tide, shoals and the wrecking-place of thousands of ships. ---- never hinted to me that she had told ---- anything; but no one who knows her would need to be told that she did. Many years ago, ---- and I had a grave misunderstanding, which broke the neck of my romance for her; I ought to have withdrawn then; I foresaw, I felt, I knew - all that has happened since. I shut my eyes weakly and falsely, for I did not deceive myself. But she behaved as one woman should not behave to another; and other things were mixed up in it which disgusted me, but she pacified me (when she found I was displeased), and one or two instances of singular affection and kindness which she showed afterwards, kept me bound to her; though I knew
where the danger of her lay. And though I have trusted her since I had 'settlings' and all that, it has always been with a certain reserve. I had felt bitterly that she was not to be trusted with impunity: everything I had ever said in a moment of 'abandon' she had always brought up afterwards, like half-digested food, and flung it at me. ---- has trusted me implicitly, but I have, to a certain extent, been always on my guard against her. Now, as I did not withdraw when I might have done, when the unsoundness of her character was revealed to an extent that injured all my intercourse with her - it is not justice to fly off from her now; so matters must go on in their natural course, and fall, like the leaves in autumn, of their own accord. Can you, and will you, trust me, and not fancy I am double, or inconsistent, or false in any way? God knows that being 'true' is not a virtue that 'grows wild' in anybody, and is not so easy as truth professed in letters would have us believe; but I wish to do right, which is all I can say for myself, so will you let me go on in my own way, according to my own instinct, and not fancy that I am acting a double part in any way? as 'telling the truth' and 'a sense of sin' form no part of my profession. I can only lay hold of the chief thing, and strike the best balance I can, without bothering about minor details, therefore, as the main thing is to put a stop to this bottomless grievance, ---- is as an 'Irish
Bog,' only to be reclaimed into solid land by some yet unknown process (though in this case the Bog contains materials of much value). Yet I cannot be ever resolving her problem, so therefore I shall not only say nothing of the late 'éclaircissement,' but if it should come to her ears by any other channel, I shall emphatically deny all knowledge of the same; and if she further inquires of me concerning your silence, I shall reply that you have never mentioned the subject, and that I am altogether ignorant of the reason why you have dropped intercourse with her.
Here I was interrupted, and have been hindered ever since. I must write my Sunday letter to-morrow, for this is only a word spoken in haste. I feel like a child in the dark, afraid to be left alone. I want to keep hold of your hand, for fear you should again leave me. One thing is very true, you see, namely, that in the long run it is oneself that one blames the most. It may be that in this business the people might have behaved better than they did, but their doings have all faded away for me; the only point that stands out is, that I behaved very wrongly in condemning you unquestioned - the more I think of it the worse it seems. I cannot get over it, and the only thing for it is to bury it along with the rest of the wretched business, and to put up a stone over it
to show it is an accursed place! One comfort is, that I think I am better worth your having now than I was then. I have seen an example of a friendship between two men which has revised my notion as to what a grand thing real friendship is - and long ago my conscience made me feel the irreverence and shortcomings of my own attempts that way - my darling! I will be better for you than ever I was before. Is it not the use of love that it shall fill up gaps, not of centuries alone, but the mistakes of the whole life? Oh! do you forgive me, and love me, and be very sure that even this wretched interval shall have been a golden seedtime. I will write again the first hour I have, but my time is a good deal cut up just now. I am only snatching a moment to finish this. How are you? God bless you dear, dear love!
[Written next day.]
Dearest Jane, - I have received the enclosed this morning, which I have read over four times, and can make neither head nor tail of. You see, there are things I am to tell you, and things I am not to tell you, so I send all just as it stands, for, hang me if I can understand one more than the other! You must pick them out for your own self. What do you wish me
to do about that affair? I think when so much useless suffering has come to pass from my keeping all that in, instead of sending the letter straight on to you, that ---- had better be told all that has passed. What sort of a memory has Miss ----? I think ---- could not have invented everything, because I most particularly recollect that ---- told me Miss ---- said, 'I consider what we have said to each other to be a very solemn thing'; and then they bound each other under the seven seals to secrecy. I know ---- proposed not to tell me one-half, so what the suppressed passages must have been the Devil only knows. I ought to have been able to discern the greater from the lesser duty. I ought to have sent you on the letter, and defied the Devil and all his works. But you cannot know how circumstantial all the evidence was; and then I had as great an idea of ----'s 'sense of truth' (how I hate that word truth!) as you had, and even now I think she must forget some of the conversation, for by the solemn way in which ---- reported it to me, in the heat of the moment, I do not think Miss ---- could go away and 'never think of it again.' All my magnanimous holding of my tongue has proved to be like all those virtues which lie out of the way. It has simply been a mistaken view of the matter. I confess that I believed it, but thought it best to say nothing, for fear of making yet more mischief; so I
behaved very ill to you in not giving you the chance of contradicting it, for one word from you would have satisfied me. So I have been punished enough by all these years' estrangement - puzzled to death various times at your want of conscience, for, naturally enough, you did not know what you, so far as you believed, had never done. And I had been made so miserable; all from not trusting to my natural instinct. I think you should tell ---- frankly what has happened, and let her see ----'s note. I know ----'s power of reflection well from experience. I know her exaggeration, the looseness of texture in what she asserts, her want of reticence, her want of common delicacy (all which I have suffered from), but I never yet found her malicious, or capable of deliberate mischief-making from bad motives, and she must have been a very devil to have invented all this. She is very real, though she so seldom says things to be depended upon when looked into. She must have deceived herself, or she never would have said all that; and besides, she said it so guardedly and yet so circumstantially, so afraid to exaggerate, that I am sure she did not mean to lie. How the phantom was raised, the Devil only knows. I need not tell you, my darling, that there does not remain a shadow on my mind. You have been maligned, and I have been imposed on, but, knowing Seaforth, and knowing also how very harmless
speeches have been repeated with a meaning I never dreamed of, and motives lent me I never had - and that I could not act from - I can see how a good deal arose; still, ---- did not know she was wrong. She is so fond of acting, that she would set the angels in heaven by the ears; but to me she has always been good and true, in spite of all the mischief she has done. Still, tell her what has happened, and give her a chance. This connection with ---- will loosen the intimacy gradually, and bring it to a natural end, for of course I don't choose to be mixed up in such an affair, and, besides, I have all but cut ----. We barely spoke the other night at ----'s and I know he will do all he can to separate us, and I shall not struggle against the stream; only, if she gets into trouble, I cannot be cold to her. It is not now that I ought to leave her. This is a rambling letter, but I am very anxious ---- should know the mischief she has done. I am sick to death when I think of all this 'coil.' I wish you would send me a nice, comfortable note, with nothing of all this in it. My only comfort is that now you know how strange it has all been: and you know that it cannot come again; and if I could forgive when I believed, you may be sure I love you more now that I know I did you such injustice. . .
Thursday (Postmark, November 22, 1849).
Dearest Jane, - This is only a line written in haste to ask you how you are. There was a chance I might have come up to take a peep at you, but it is past. Mrs. ---- was most anxious that we should have come up to London with her, but ---- cannot arrange it, and I must stop at home with him. Do you know I am very uneasy about him? He is not only ill in body but he has also a desperately sprained wrist, and he has grown so miserable and unsettled since ---- came home, that I am very unhappy. If I needed any finishing touch to bring me back to ancient notions of decorum, here it is, with a vengeance. I think his entanglement is now more habit than anything else; but he is unsettled, and I would give the world to see him married comfortably. As to ----, there is a mystery there I cannot understand. I only know that amongst them all poor ---- is in a bad way for his domestic happiness. If he would have gone up to town with Mrs. ---- it would have been a break for him, and he would have been well taken care of, for she is a real darling, and I am very put out at having lost her. So it is no good expecting an amusing letter, for I have not been in such bad spirits this long time. I am very anxious about you. Do make some of your people write me a line,
if you are not up to it yourself. I am not well either; but just now, being worried, I don't know how far that will go towards accounting for it. To make this letter worth the stamp, I send you the proof of a slight thing I wrote for Mr. ----. It is too short for such a long subject; but some day I hope to be able to have a 'say' at Mrs. Ellis and all her school, and develop my own theory more at length. We only want to be let alone, and then we shall neither be 'strong-minded' women nor yet dolls. I have not written to ----, nor have I heard from her either. She seems quite willing to let us go. By the way, when ---- was here she one night launched out against ---- in the most ridiculous style, making fun of him like a girl, with a genuine fun and heartiness which kept us all laughing. Nothing was said but what was quite true, and nothing that would break bones; but certainly she was very sarcastic. Well, ---- was here amongst the rest, and he went and repeated everything to a friend of his who was going to see ----, and this ill-advised friend went and repeated all to ----, with the addition that I said it all (certainly, in these cases, the receiver is as bad as the thief), and ---- went and complained to ----; so there is a 'kettle of fish' which will tend to separate us all. I am not sorry for the result, but I am very displeased with ---- (he has owned to his fault). People must learn a certain tact en attendant
that 'reign of peace' upon the world, when people will no more make fun of their neighbours. Till the armour is strong enough to stand heavy blows - we must be careful to hit it gently, as Don Quixote treated his patched helmet. I cannot write any more; my eyes are heavy, and I am not well, and too desperately out of spirits to say anything worth reading. Send me word how you are, and God bless you, dearest.
Christmas Eve, 1849.
Dearest Jane, - It is so great a comfort to sit down and write to you after all the bothering things I have had to do to-day! But I shall have to hurry to be in time for the post, as I would not have Christmas day shine or snow without bringing you a word from me. It is the best Christmas I have had for a long while, and being right with you makes up for a great many things that are plagueing me. I enclose you a note from ---- in reply to my refusal to go to their party, and inviting her to come here. I can see traces of ---- in it. The tone is very different to the two last. The more I reflect, the more content I feel to have done with Seaforth; and yet I used to
wonder how I should live without it. I want to know how you are going on. It seems a long time since I heard from you. Lewes turned up again last week. . . .
Be very sure you will have me to the uttermost moment. I want sadly to see you. Where on earth do you think I am going to-night? I will give you as many guesses as you like, and you never will hit upon it.
Well, then, I am going to the gate of Heaven. I am actually going to turn out to hear the 'Midnight Mass.'
Really, it sounds anything but decent, and yet one goes to balls at equally untimely hours. However, I am going with ---- and his wife and a servant, so we shall keep each other in countenance. I will send you word what it is like. I was very bothered not to get a letter from Cairo either last mail or the one before. You don't know how much those letters are to me. Well, I shed plenty of tears - enough to have turned the tide, and last night I had a nice dream. I thought I was at Cairo, and that I was in his house, and that we were all at supper. I sat beside Madame ----, who was a handsome woman like ----, only with a snub nose. It was very light, and I saw my dear friend looking so radiant and so
happy - his face seemed to have a light within it - and I just got one look of such intense content and pleasure that I awoke quite happy. I so seldom see anything in my dreams (they are, in general, only half-consciousness), that this real glimpse has had all the effect of a real occurrence. You will only laugh at me for this. Have you read ----? I got it yesterday, and began it. It is a strange, tragical sort of thing, and has taken my fancy very much. I have always had queer, dreamy fancies about those huge monsters who had the world all to themselves, and there are the most vivid descriptions of the earth as it was, according to geology, in those days. I wish you would get it. It is so different to any other book I know. I had other things to tell you, but I shall be late for the post. God bless you, dear love.
Ever your affectionate
I have for you Mr. Neuberg's address, and this letter ought to have been written a fortnight since. It is about a young German he wrote to me to speak to ---- about. . . .
(Postmark, December 28, 1849.)
Dearest Jane, - I send you a 'golden letter' to begin the New Year. It is not such a horrid anniversary as Christmas Day, for one always feels glad to see the milestones getting behind one. A thousand thanks for the little cross. It is indeed an inscrutable imagination; one wonders how the Devil it came there. Still more for your long letter and little note I thank you. It does me more good to be praised by you than anything else in life, or perhaps I should say it is just the pleasantest thing for me in life. I could hardly help laughing at your definition of me. It is possibly a couleur de rose version of the fact; for one night lately I was at a dance, and there was a great philosopher, phrenologist, and mechanics-institute man present, when a friend of mine, who has great faith in his infallibility, said, pointing to me, who was dancing in the innocence of my heart, 'Look at that young lady, and tell me what you would judge of her by her head?' 'Full of inconsistencies' was the laconic reply, which my friend thought fit to report to me. I cannot express the comfort it was to come to the end of your story about Mazzini, for the shock your beginning gave, is indescribable; that would indeed have been a climax in sad keeping with the rest of his life. I was talking about the
dreadful disease that is worse than 'a possession of a devil' to a surgeon, and he said that it was wonderful to him that, under such hopeless torment, people lived on to the last; and yet, strangely enough, there is no record of anyone committing suicide under those circumstances. At which I marvelled greatly, for certainly it would be the first thing I should do if I were once assured that one had declared itself in me. He little knew how nearly I was interested in the subject. Pray send me frequent news of him. Juliet Mudie duly received your packet on Tuesday. I was driving with Mrs. ----'s mother the next day, who expressed much interest in her. It seems that on that Christmas day ----had been invited to spend the day with Mrs. ----, but was obliged instead to go with her mistress and the children elsewhere. There was a large party and numerous assembly of servants. Mrs. ----'s servant-of-all-work, seeing poor Juliet looking very shy and uncomfortable, came up and shook hands with her, saying, 'I am very glad to see you.' 'Everybody else was in their best,' said she to Mrs. ----, 'and I was not over clean, having had to help the cook, but I did not mind that. I went and sat by ---- at dinner, and talked to her, and she soon got as friendly as possible, and we had a great deal of
talk before dinner was over; she was quite at her ease. She is a nice, good girl, and I like her.' Now, if that was not true good breeding, I should like to know what is. By the way, that horrid Mrs. Mudie has contrived to drain her of all she has earned, and is constantly writing for money; however, I am thankful to hear that Mrs. ---- now refuses to give her any, but has undertaken to spend it for her, and that ---- is living in idleness. If you want to communicate with the creature, you had better address her through a certain brother-in-law, who seems a decent sort of man. His address is 22 Lower Kennington Lane, Kennington Cross. . . . Juliet told me herself that I had better write to him, as her mother's address was not certain for long together. Pray, if you write to Juliet again, warn her, under your displeasure, to send no more money to that wretch of a mother. I am very glad that Mrs. ---- is in harbour for the present, even though it be only a 'lodge in a garden of cucumbers'; it will give us breathing-time, but I will not rest till something really eligible turns up. I have got into a horrible strait - in fact, I have committed a sort of lèse-majesté against good breeding. A lady wrote to me months ago to beg some autographs, and I have never either answered her letter or complied with her request, and she has written to Mrs. ----,
saying that she has no words to express what she thinks of such manners; so, my dear, if, without worrying yourself, you can send me a signature of Harriet Martineau and a specimen of Carlyle's caligraphy, you may save me from a torrent of abuse, and it is as well to stop crevices when they fall under one's hands. By the way, please send me a good large piece of Carlyle, because I promised a very nice little damsel, who just worships the sound of his name, that I would try to get her a piece, and I don't want to disappoint her, partly because I like her, and also because she is my sheet-anchor about Mrs. ----. By the way, Mrs. ---- is intending to return the visit you paid her months ago, about the Mudies (she has been from home nearly ever since). I wish you would mention the matter to her, because she is a very likely person to be useful, and has, I know, all sorts of good intentions. I was upset in a cab the other night, in the middle of a dark lane with a ditch on each side and mudholes everywhere, and I actually perpetrated the heroism of walking home by myself, all in pitchy darkness, and sending assistance to man and horse. I had no idea how utterly helpless a woman feels on such occasions. Well, my eyes are stiff with candlelight, and this letter is too stupid to be redeemed by any addition, so the only thing is not to make it any heavier. So God bless you, my darling, and may the New Year
bring you good - the sort of good you need! If wishes were helpful at all, you would prosper indeed. I can only say God bless you and keep you.
Ever your own
[Fragment, apparently dated 1849.]
... I had a genteel 'swarry' the other night of respectable married people, clearing the old scores of civility due for all manner of respectable tea-drinkings. I was disappointed of half my men, who all had such valid excuses that they might have passed muster at the 'Wedding Feast' in the parable, but that did not make things pleasanter. We were 13 at supper, an accident I did not like. However, we had a pleasant evening enough, and my supper was highly successful, and might defy the criticism of the good housekeepers present. I hope you will come to us. We should have such a pleasant time of it; and ---- bids me say how delighted he would be to see you. If you come it would put him out of conceit with the idea of marrying any of the young ladies in white muslin going. Do write to me. I was told the other day that the Schwabes had met Mazzini in Switzerland, and that he was quite old and grey, with a long grey beard down his breast. Those poor
Hungarians! I am more depressed about the news from Hungary than I can tell you. It even drives my own concerns out of my head. I can only pray to God for them - the last refuge of desperate humanity. If I did not also trust in Him (despite my heathenism) I should cut my throat; but I do trust that all things will 'work together for good' in the end. He has never abandoned the world, and though belief is difficult when one is deeply interested and things seem to be going wrong, yet still I believe that what is right and true is stronger than all the laws and swords and spears made to crush it down. All they can do is to burn out and destroy the dross and error which have got mixed up with better things. The wood and stubble must be consumed - and that is not a process to be regretted, even though we may have to wait for the blessed result. I cannot tell you how deeply, how gravely I feel, in all that concerns the struggle of opinions - that many of them are wild and cloudy, and that their discussion seems to lead to no good, only tends to make one's interest the more pitiful. Write to me, please, and tell me how things fare with you. God bless you.
Ever your affectionate
[Fragment, 1849 or 1850.]
My dear Child, - You have no need to tell me that you are not well: I should have found it out fast enough from your letter. What the Devil do you let all those stray women take all the goodness out of you for? Eh? It is only a new version of 'the birds of the air picking up all the seed that fell by the wayside.' I am in a bad humour with them, partly in that they tire you to death, and do you no good, and next, they hinder you writing to me. And even then I don't get a comfortable letter, for the one that came this morning bore the exact impress of this life laid waste that you are leading. Benevolence does not agree with you, and I wish in Heaven's name you would give it up. As to the money, I hope the dividends will become satisfactory by the time private friendship has paid up its calls - and if not, I will always be ready to do what I can down here. Only, my dear child, do let me correct an error you have fallen into which touches my conscience. Don't think it is my maxim to make use of my friends. I never ask anybody to do more for me than I would do for them either in kind or in degree, but some can do one thing and some can do another - and I always ask my people to do what they can with least plague to themselves, and the only
'Manichaeism' I am ever guilty of, is in judging who is the right person to go to when I want a thing done. If it is a thing very near my heart, I use all my discretion as to the best means of setting them in motion and getting at them; but making use of my friends in the sense you understood it - is an odious thing, that I hope I shall never feel even the temptation to do. Merciful Heaven! I only do to others what I am very willing they should do to me, and what they do, too. At this very moment I have been working, at the suggestion of Messrs. ---- and ----, for a man I don't know and don't care for; but he was in trouble, and as I know people who did know him, and do care for him, I only set them in motion; and two of my friends who are well-to-do gave me ten pounds, almost without asking, and the whole set have bestirred themselves in a way that is wonderful. But I don't consider that I 'used' them or laid myself under the slightest obligation. I went to them thinking they could do what I wanted - 'voilà tout,' and they will come to me when I stand in the same relative position to anything they may want; and besides, I have such a real, cordial response from everyone of my people - that I could carry the weight of any amount of service I am likely to want. All this is that you may not misunderstand my simile of 'pawns in chess,' made for the gratification of self-mystification, which is a woman's foible. But as to the
particular instance of Mrs. ----, I was only proposing that you should give her 'value received' (or rather requested) by writing to her yourself, which would be a good deed. . . .
I am not well yet, but a great deal better, though I am forbidden to go to parties, and ordered to be 'very quiet,' and the Devil throws all manner of difficulties in my way. ----'s affairs are not flourishing, and what the catastrophe will be I don't know. But I am very anxious, because it is a crisis in his life, and I wish he were well through it. I would very much like to see him happily married. When brothers and friends are in question, how differently one sees things to what one does in abstract cases of 'George Sandism.' I begin to think I am a most cold, matter-of-fact woman, spoiled - or at least 'incomprise.' My brother has always been so good to me that I shall be miserable till he is happy; and then I am bothered with my 'tale,' because I know I ought neither to write nor to read at this present, and I must write, for I have let myself run sadly too near the shore - alas! You suggest my living in London? No, I would like a cottage in the country with you! You should keep the house absolutely - keep the accounts, keep the money - and I would write; and you should make me work,
and we would see each other alone, as wisdom inspired, and that is what would tempt me. But the bare thought of a 'London Season' gives me a nervous fear in my present state which exceeds the usual license, even of the 'irritability of genius'! Figure to yourself that the first question my doctor asks is, always, 'How is your temper?' . . So it would not be good for me, even to try me in that way. It has been the one fortunate chance in my lot to be knocked about - and nobody to think me even an addition to a tea-party! I have not sense enough. And I would be sorry to be thrown on such a precarious resource - it would be worse than a railway dividend! No, we will have a cottage together, sometime, up in the wilds of Scotland, or else I will go to - where? I won't tell you. I send you a tale to make this letter worth postage. It is Gospel! . . . Believe me!
[Fragment, ascribed to 1849.]
Truly it is a time when one can neither breathe nor hope! I am very miserable about you. I can say nothing and do nothing; only it will not be for long. I expect firmly that such great things are close at hand as will take away all thought or feeling of one's own affairs. No matter how close it is. A woman, a
plain, natural person, the wife of a provision-dealer, so not at all likely to have any philosophy, said to me lately, 'I do not expect to have as much pleasure and comfort in my life as I have had. I expect the events that are coming upon the world - war, and cholera, and such-like - will change all our prospects, and leave us no time to think of comfort. I shall not dream of saving money for our child - he will never want it!' This was said quite calmly, and as an ordinary observation, and it is a great comfort that one need not feel smothered up by one's own personalities - that they will be broken up by things of greater importance. Cobden was at Mrs. ----'s yesterday, looking very sleek and comfortable. There was a certain self-complacent common-sense about him, repudiating everything that could not be seen, measured, and the probabilities thereof calculated like a trade speculation; and the entire absence of all religious ideality gave the idea of a want of sagacity. He was speaking of the excitement caused in Scotland by the affair of Miss ----, and he gave an amusing account of a demonstration in her behalf, in which Government was memorialised to go to war to deliver her, if need were, and which was held just underneath the committee-room of the Peace Conference. It was breaking up as he was leaving his committee, and he said he could not help laughing at the fierce looks of the ladies, with their lips compressed, and
looking 'daggers' and 'needles'; and, as he said, 'Only fancy how the Grand Duke would fare if he fell into the hands of those gentle Christians!' I am reading the life of Margaret Fuller d'Ossoli. It has deeply interested me, and yet it is one of the most oppressive and painful books I have read for this long while. All that intense self-culture and self-production does not seem healthy, somehow; and all that deference and admiration must have been very bad for anybody. But it also makes me feel very much ashamed of myself when I compare my own self and my own attainments with her's. I remember you did not like her when you first saw her, but thought better of her after. Do tell me something of her, and will you let me see the letter she wrote you from Paris? I don't know how it is, I never either talk or think of the great things she seems to have had her thoughts filled with. But she must have been a noble creature, and I wish I had known her. By the way, I heard tidings of poor ---- the other day. He had risen high in the Egyptian service - received the rank of Bey, was Governor of Suez, and director of the railway begun at Alexandria, and - for a word misunderstood in one of his written despatches - he has been brutally degraded, and deprived of all he had, and he is now on his way to France, there to find some employment and begin the world over again.
His daughter, by his first wife, will, of course, remain with her mother! His present wife comes to Europe with him. I have heard no particulars of his life, nor how that marriage has turned out. It was in a short note from ---- I heard all this. Oh, my dear, if you and I are drowned, or die, what would become of us if any superior person were to go and write our 'life and errors'? What a precious mess a 'truthful person' would go and make of us, and how very different to what we really are or were!
But for pity's sake take care of your letters. I have burned all those of yours which could be misunderstood, and I don't think a rummage amongst my papers would return any significant result - except one series, that I must burn when I can summon resolution. If anything should happen to me suddenly, will you write and ask ---- for a box done up in brown paper? If anything happens to you first, ---- will deal with its contents! They are all the 'reserves' I have in the world, but I hope I am not going to die, but to live to see the end of all the great things that are coming to pass in the world, and you must try to live too. The next few years will be worth seeing
... I did not desire to do it, or anything like it, but when once done I think it may stand. There is a sense of relief and comfort inexpressible, like nothing
else I could think of; and if I am long without writing, I get morbid and miserable. So you see, it is rather a good look-out if only I can find work. I shall get you to help me read the novels. Oh, my good gracious, such unutterable trash as some of them are! I began to get quite ashamed of spending so much life and strength in nothing better than slowly writing one, but one day last week there came 'Hide and Seek,' by Wilkie Collins. Get it and read it; it is the most lovely story I ever remember to have read! It left me feeling inclined to pitch every sheet I had written of my own into the fire! Really and truly, I felt that is what my own tale deserved, though I could not afford to do it. Please get 'Hide and Seek'! I don't know whether I did most laughing or crying over it. It is so pretty, and so healthy in its nature! I am sure Wilkie Collins must be a good man, though he did once write that atrocious 'Basil.' Please remember that my chapters, sent to-day, are to come after the last. It is supposed ---- has been in London, and ---- is beginning to fall in love with her. I have sent the rest by Miss ----, who is going to-night; so I finish this letter for the postman, who has just come. You will understand, I hope, how it is I had not finished when my friend Miss ---- had to start. God bless you!
[Fragment, ascribed to 1849.]
I begin to understand more and to judge less than formerly. Can you not come to us for a while? You shall be free here, and you know you can do what you will. It seems to me that it would be a first step towards remodelling your life, for you cannot go on as you are. I shall have my own room to work in - for work I must - and you can have the drawing room, and shall see me when you like, and be alone when you like, and nobody shall worry you. Consider me and my position in your hand, to use if you can. I say nothing of the good you would do me, nor the comfort you would be to me, because that is no motive for taking an extraordinary step such as leaving home just as you have returned; but if it would be an inducement, it is a fact that it would be a real blessing to me. We have been estranged so long that I want now to have some communion with you, and who knows how long we may live? Do not let us kill an opportunity. I think in the present state of matters coming here would be a wise thing. I am ill and I need you. Give any colour you like to give, if colour it need beyond your simple will; in fact, it matters not, only come. . . .
Mr. Neuberg has been here. I like that man immensely, there is such a well of loving-kindness in him. He called just now. But, instead of coming early, when I was alone and could have talked to him, he went to church, and called when I was in the midst of this letter, and ---- was sitting by. I could say nothing, and it was a stiff visit. . . .
Mr. Neuberg will call on you very soon. He will be in London 'en route' for Germany. I am quite annoyed at the idea of all the spiteful, running-down things he will hear of to-night. My hope is that ---- went to Seaforth yesterday, and so did not get his note. ---- is delighted at your letter. He has a very bad cold, which will nip his projects for this winter, I fancy; but he is in a better fashion than he was. . . .
[Fragment, date uncertain, 1848 or 1849.]
Dearest Jane, - I want to talk to you, and writing is a very cumbrous process in place of that same. I was delighted to get a letter from you, which I was wanting more than enough; and only to think, that
the Queen giving a musical party should be the remote means of getting it for me! I cannot help thinking you are better, in spite of the headache. You are in a good atmosphere, and Lady ---- is in every way just the person for you to be with. She always knows what she is about, seemingly, and has attained a wonderful degree of practical wisdom in arranging her daily life, and it must be very pleasant to sail in her current. What you say of her reminds me of Alfred Tennyson's lines -
And the stately ship sails on
To her haven under the hill.
But how thankfully we would all of us sail if we were under a hand strong enough to guide us. Women have so much docility, and yet we get no real teaching, no guidance, but what we make for ourselves. We are not, like men, in a position to know things, so we make a sort of 'cup and ball' and 'hit or miss' of our lives. I used to think that what was wise for men was the same for women. I had no notion of any difference between them, except in degree, but I am beginning to think I was mistaken. However, at this present we are neither one thing nor another, but I hope and believe that in a generation or two, women will be very different to what they have ever been yet. Instead of being born and educated, and having their manners and characters
flavoured with certain qualities, or shadows of qualities, just to the point which may make them fancied as wives (for the tendency of all the training they get is just adapted to the prevailing fancy of men - a strong taste of housewifery in one generation, a dash of delicate 'feminine' stupidity in another, a gentle flavour of religion, as a sort of ornamental ring-fence to their virtue, and so on, not for the saving of their own souls, for they must not come it too strong) - to-day they may have a small, graceful tint of learning, and if married - the least touch in the world of abstract 'George Sandism,' but not to come within a mile of the practical. You understand! . . .
[Undated, beyond Wednesday night, 1849.]
Dearest Jane, - First to answer your questions. I have taught my servant to mend the table linen, and benevolent friends make my 'little things,' so I shall have leisure to see to my petticoats, and even those 'Mary Barton' has begged me out of charity to give her for one of her 'protégées' to make, whom she wants to find work for. So you see my good deeds are very vicarious! I think doing good to poor people is a somewhat questionable
employment. Only this was such a spontaneous motion of pity for them that I did not like to quench my 'smoking flax,' and I actually went out on the spur of the moment, though it was raining genuine 'cats and dogs,' to stir up the clergyman's wife to make a sewing-meeting of two hours a week of the industrious members of the congregation. But that did not suit, so I was left to the exercise of my private benevolence and such help as I could get. I had a great bundle of print sent me the other day to make frocks and bed-gowns. I wish you were here to help me. Mr. ---- sent me such a nice letter this morning, which I took very kind of him. ---- is gone to meet ----, ----, and all the family, at the railway, and a precious cold he will catch for his pains. I wish they were staying away still longer. My head is somewhat better. I don't forget common care of myself so outrageously as I did some little while since. Still I am very good-for-nothing, though all has been set to rights, and I am, besides, very careful in my diet and so forth - this is all very stupid stuff to tell you, but I am up to nothing better. I had a letter from ---- the other day, very kind and affectionate, but full of foreboding and misery. That man keeps taking fits of introspection, and, of course, like a true man, makes her bear the burden of his remorse. And when she quoted something you and I had said to her by way of trying
to comfort her, he only rolled his eyes, and declared that we did not know right from wrong. I call that cool. What is to become of her? I feel as if a volcano must burst some day soon and blow her - where? He won't be any comfort to her in that 'dies iræ, dies illa.' The last time I saw him has given me a greater distaste to him than ever, in spite of all my efforts to be gracious and my penitence for having abused him. He left a bad taste in my mind. Mr. ---- gives a very good account of you. Is it real or only what strangers see? I am dreadfully anxious about you, but I have great faith in my mesmeric sense, and I feel as if you were just now tolerably calm; only, it is but a lull, and the real cause of anxiety remains. I am hoping for a letter very soon. Dear child, the solution will come to you, never fear. You will not be abandoned nor left altogether in darkness. Light will come to you when you least expect it. Do let me hear from you. I don't like bothering you with questions, but you know all I want to hear. How do you go on? Only think what lies before me! A misguided cousin of mine has written a novel to illustrate the laws of 'entail and primogeniture': and has sent to say she wants to visit me for a few days, and obtain my opinion, and that of some other competent person. She is going to publish it at her own expense. Have her I must, but it is a real penance. Doing good to poor people is nothing of a good deed,
and yet it sounds like one. This costs twenty times the true virtue, and goes for nothing. So much for appearances and names of things. ---- was here to-day. Did you get that scrap from one of his notes, in which he declares that if you will come here he will take lodgings in Greenheys to hear you talk? God bless you, dear love.
[Undated - 1849?]
(About women and the Corn Law League.)
Dearest Jane, - I have been 'looking, and better looking' for a letter from you all the week, and wondering what could have befallen you. This morning the postman came before I was out of bed, and brought your letter, which makes me fancy you are better, and that makes me more comfortable without any fancy at all! But, my dear, I am in a real fright; my eyes (confound them!) are threatening just as they began before. I can see to do nothing by candle-light, and not too much by daylight. I hope they will be stopped in time, but this damp weather is against me. I was so sick of my doctor last time, that I could not find either faith or patience to begin again with him, and I have a sort of Faust's revelation,
and on the strength of it set off to a lady, a very clever woman of my acquaintance who is wild after homoeopathy. She has got a book and a medicine-chest, and doctors herself and her friends with great zeal. She looked at me, and read in her book, and finally brought out a little box the size and shape of a tiny tea-caddy, all full of miraculous-looking little bottles filled with what seemed pure water, but they were all deadly essences. She mixed me two drops of one in a phial of water; so now I am taking an infinitesimal dose of belladonna. Whether it is for good or harm I don't know, but it affects me very uncomfortably, and my eyes are rather worse to-day, but I do expect it will do me good. She promised to come and see me to-morrow, however. Meanwhile the medicine affects my head, and I am as limp, and washed out, and miserable to-day as anyone could wish me to be; it is a foggy, drizzling day, and I am neither dead nor alive. And I am vowed not to touch either tea or coffee, nor anything more comfortable than milk-and-water, which is very nasty, and I am cross. O ye gods! how cross! ---- was in dismay with me, thinking me gone mad, yesterday, and made a most touching admission that 'being a missis I might say what I pleased.' But only fancy, my dear, the vexation of being able to do nothing but shut my eyes the minute the candles come; but, en revanche, I sleep! Well, now, here I
am, inflicting complaints on you as if you were my doctor, and God knows the poor man got plenty! But to talk of something else (now I have said my say). Well, perhaps, we are better off now than they used to be in old Greek times, when it was only slaves who were taught anything. God knows they are very uncomfortable, that's certain, but I believe we are touching on better days, when women will have a genuine, normal life of their own to lead. There, perhaps, will not be so many marriages, and women will be taught not to feel their destiny manque if they remain single. They will be able to be friends and companions in a way they cannot be now. All the strength of their feelings and thoughts will not run into love; they will be able to associate with men, and make friends of them, without being reduced by their position to see them as lovers or husbands. Instead of having appearances to attend to, they will be allowed to have their virtues, in any measure which it may please God to send, without being diluted down to the tepid 'rectified spirit' of 'feminine grace' and 'womanly timidity' - in short, they will make themselves women, as men are allowed to make themselves men. I think matters are tending to this, and I think that to this, in spite of that dreadful Mrs. ----, they will come before long; not in the present 'rising generation,' but in the one after. Except when my health is out of order, I do not feel that
either you or I are to be called failures. We are indications of a development of womanhood which as yet is not recognised. It has, so far, no ready-made channels to run in, but still we have looked, and tried, and found that the present rules for women will not hold us - that something better and stronger is needed. And as for us, individually, women a thousand times commoner, both in intellect and aspirations after doing right, may have made something apparently better out of their lives - still, I would prefer my own imperfect accomplishment. There are women to come after us, who will approach nearer the fulness of the measure of the stature of a woman's nature. I regard myself as a mere faint indication, a rudiment of the idea, of certain higher qualities and possibilities that lie in women, and all the eccentricities and mistakes and miseries and absurdities I have made are only the consequences of an imperfect formation, an immature growth. Where I am not wiser than the general run of women I am a much greater fool, and when I do not succeed in doing better than they, I do infinitely worse, and that is the general occurrence, hélas! But will you lay your hand on your heart, and say that, in your 'fifteen years' long illness,' as you call your life, you have not both felt and shown qualities infinitely higher and nobler than all the 'Mrs. Ellis-code' can dream of? You know you have. If you consider yourself as the
'be-all and the end-all' of what a superior woman can be, the balance of actual respectable facts might perchance be on the other side, but the power and possibility is with you, and it is that which is to be looked to. A 'Mrs. Ellis' woman is developed to the extreme of her little possibility; but I can see there is a precious mine of a species of womanhood yet undreamed of by the professors and essayists on female education, and I believe also that we belong to it. So there is a modest climax! I fear I shall never be available to any actual purposes except 'to point a moral and adorn a tale,' and even of that I feel dubious. I don't know what has possessed me to give you the benefit of this long 'settle,' except that your letter suggested it. Talking of practical matters, my bedroom is done (all but some of the hangings, for which the stuff has had to be made to match, and has not come home), and you must have yearned after a pretty bedroom all your life before you can understand the pleasure of getting it. I hope you will come and sleep in it some time. It will be such a nice room to write in. My visitor has not come. She is detained in Dublin, which will cut down her stay to a very short space. I must tell you a story. The other night the Lord-Lieutenant went in state to the theatre. Something had put the audience out of humour, or they were in an excited state, or something, but they began to give vent to
their feelings by calling out for 'three cheers' to different people, pit and gallery taking it in turns. After three cheers for 'O'Connell,' the others insisted on three for 'Lord -----', and then began a dreadful row, all the noises possible for inhumanity to make. At last they grew more and more uproarious, and they were proceeding to tear up the benches when one fellow, seeing that he was likely in this way to lose his shilling's worth of the play, shouted at the top of his voice, during a momentary lull, 'Boys, three cheers for the Devil, entirely!' They were given, and peace was restored. That is quite true - gospel! By-the-way, talking of the Devil, do you remember ages ago that I wrote an article for ----, which he rejected with ignominious disdain. Well, then, I wrote it over again, and Carlyle was at the pains of sending it to 'Fraser,' as you told him to, who would not have it, but refused it in its amended state just as much. Well, it lay tossing about for a full twelvemonth, when I took it in hand once more, wrote it over again, and sent it to Douglas Jerrold, by way of calming down the little one that went with it. And lo! when the Magazine came yesterday, the first thing I saw was my poor little thing, flourishing in good legible print. I was quite pleased to see it. Whether it was that I had such trouble with it, or whether I was glad of my own way at last, I don't know; but I fancied it read very decently. I have
not heard from ---- for a long while. She has been to Manchester, but did not come near me. I spent last Monday with the Smiths. He - Mr. J. B. Smith - was one of the originators of the 'League.' He brought the first resolution for repeal of the Corn Laws, twenty years ago, before the Chamber of Commerce in Manchester, and could get no one to second it, till at last one man did for the sake of discussion, and was horrified when he found Mr. Smith was in earnest. After a while Cobden joined, and about five of them kept fighting to get a petition sent to Parliament; and there was such difficulty to get it agreed to, and such little trembling resolutions proposed! I think he said they were three years before they could get the petition sent. My word, to hear him talk! It gave me some notion of what perseverance means. He afterwards was secretary to the League. He is a little wizened, uninteresting-looking man; gives no idea of any sort of what you call either greatness or cleverness, but he was so in earnest. They all speak of Cobden as a sort of martyr; they say he has ruined his health, and made all sorts of sacrifices, injuring his worldly affairs terribly. His house was doing infinitely more business ten years ago than it is now; it has dwindled down, and everybody who knows him speaks of his modesty and disinterestedness. There was another man, Alderman ----, at dinner, remarkable here for having been an 'ultra-Liberal' when Liberals
were only thought fit to send to prison. A very uninteresting man - tyrannical I am certain, for I felt as if sitting beside a thumb-screw. But he has done good work, and is now recognised as a respectable man; and it was curious to meet a man who could talk of Hone and Godwin, and all those people. He knew them, and he has spent money on his principles, so now he proses like a Patriarch. This is a letter and a-half. Write to me very soon.
Ever your own
 The Chevalier Neukomm.
 Mr. Salis-Schwabe.
 This honoured lady frequently entertained Jenny Lind (the late Madame Lind-Goldschmidt), with other eminent representatives of music, art, and literature. Her hospitable home at Crumpsall, near Manchester, attracted all the cream of talent which came near enough to enter those princely and cordial gates. Her husband, the late Mr. Salis-Schwabe, sympathised with all his wife's fine tastes, and was much beloved. - A. E. I.
 Mr. Alexander Ireland.
 Possibly the daughter of Louis XVI., afterwards 'Duchesse d'Angouléme,' during her cruel imprisonment in the 'Temple.' - A. E. I.
 Sir Charles.
 The murderess.
 Her sister-in-law, Mrs. Thomas Jewsbury.
 It was so. - A. E. I.
 Carlyle's friend. - A. E. I.
 A servant-maid. - A. E. I.
 The Countess d'Ossoli (born Margaret Fuller), Emerson's friend. - A. E. I.
 An intimate friend of the Carlyle's.
 A Scotch expression, meaning 'looking and looking again.' - A. E. I.