[Manchester—Wednesday, 11 August 1875]

Wednesday. Mr. & Mrs James have gone today. Mr. James was brilliant and sympathetic from the moment of his arrival. They are devotedly attached to each other. Mrs James still quite a beautiful woman.

He read us the introduction and opening chapter of his Autobiography. He was enchanted with this place—but ah! poor Fields he said “I see its deteriorating influence on him. It is too much for him; he is sinking into Spiritual Sloth.”

He gave us a curious picture also of Carlyle, at home in his younger days. A man came in to tea who threw Mrs Carlyle into despair. Now she said you will see them go at it tooth and nail. Sure enough! Soon this man began to talk of O’Connell in whom he greatly believed. Carlyle took the other side and the struggle was a hot one; presently Mr. James felt Mrs Carlyle’s foot cross his and tread upon the foot of the O’Connell man who did not at first understand. When he did he burst forth wrathfully. You need not tread on my foot ma’am. I’m not the person. Tread on Mr. Carlyle’s if you please. A terror fell upon them all for a moment until Carlyle at last understanding the whole thing burst into one of his hoarse laughs and the subject was changed. Henry Coleman was there, a softly kind of man and Mrs Carlyle told Mr. James who took leave early afterward that at eleven o’clock at night just as they were all tired to death and had risen to go, that Mr. Coleman said, Well how about O’Connell, whereat the two fell upon each other again and the O’Connell man stayed till midnight. When he went out of the door Mr. Carlyle extended his hand which the O’Connell man refused to take. No I’ll be damned said he, if I’ll take the hand of a man who supports such opinions, whereas Carlyle who had been dining the Sunday before as was his wont with an excellent family who knew nothing of literature of whom he was very fond and who had said to his wife on his return that he believed his regeneration was begun, said, holding the lamp over his head as he returned from letting out the O’Connell man, “the regeneration does not move on.”

Mrs Lodge came to dine—talked N.E. plans.


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