|I have dragged about
Scotland, but now it's too cold, and tomorrow I return to London, so lord Stuart
writes to me, to play on the 16th at a concert which is to be given for the Poles, before
the opening of the ball. On the way back from Hamilton Pallace [sic] (60 miles from here),
where I stayed a few days at the duke of Hamilton's, I took a chill, and for five days
have not been out. I am staying with Dr. Lyszczinski, who is treating me
homeopathically, and I don't want to pay any more visits, for the cholera is just round
the corner; and then, if I collapse, it will be for the whole winter. If the weather
should improve, I should like to go back to Hamilton Pallace, and from there to the island
of Ayran [sic] (which belongs entirely to them), to the princess of Baden, who has married
their son, the Marquis of Duglas [sic]; but nothing will come of it. While I was there,
they had, besides the great aristocrats of their own family and country, the duke and
duchess of Parma; he is prince Luca; she is a sister of the duke of Bordeaux (a very gay
young couple). They invited me to stay with them, at Kingston, when I return to London;
for now they will live in England, since they were driven out of Italy. That is all right,
but I am not fit for it now; and if I made haste to leave Hamilton, it was just because I
can't sit at table from 8 till 10½ without pains such as Gutmann had (do you remember?);
and in the morning, though I breakfasted in my room and came down late, and was carried on
the stairs, all the same, it was too much for me. From Wishaw, from lady Belhaven's, where
I stayed before going to Hamilton, I wrote to you before your letter arrived; but it was
such a black, sulky letter that I did not send it to you.
November 16th, if there is any improvement in your affairs, or -
LETTER N° 271
The fragment below is believed by Voynich to have been written in London
in November 1848, which does not make sense, because Chopin refers to the opportunity to
visit more "Scottish palaces". Thus, the transisition could be as shown in
letter n° 742 of Sydow's French translation:
[... or if the London fogs drive me out, I shall return to Paris ...]
the London fogs are driving me out, so I am returning to Paris,
if it is not too late for the journey.
My Scotswomen are kind; I have not seen them for two or
three weeks, but they are coming today. They want me to stay, and go on
dragging round the Scottish palaces, here and there and everywhere, as I
am invited. They are kind, but so boring that the Lord preserve them! -
Every day I get letters, and answer none of them; and wherever I
go, they come after me if they can. Perhaps that has given someone the
notion that I am getting married; but there really has to be some kind of
physical attrait (note 1), and the unmarried one (note
2) is too much like me. How could you kiss yourself -
Friendship is all very well, but gives no right to
anything further. I have made that clear.
Even if I could fall in love with someone, as I should be glad to do,
still I would not marry, for we should have nothing to eat and nowhere to live. And
a rich woman expects a rich man, or if a poor man, at least not a sickly one, but one who
is young and handsome. It's bad enough to go to pieces alone, but two together,
that is the greatest misfortune. I may peg out in a hospital, but I won't leave a starving
wife behind me.
Anyhow, I don't need to write you all this, for you know how I think -
[crossed out]. So I don't think at all of a wife, but of home, of my Mother, my Sisters.
May God keep them in His good thoughts. Meanwhile, what has become of my art? And my
heart, where have I wasted it? [crossed out.] I scarcely remember any more, how they
sing at home. That world slips away from me somehow; I forget, I have no more strength
[crossed out]; if I rise a little, I fall again, lower than ever.
I am not complaining to you, but since you have asked, I explain to you
that I am nearer to a coffin than to a marriage bed. My mind is fairly
calm [crossed out].
Write me a line. Address: Szulczewski, Esq., 10 Duke Street, St.
James's. Stuart's Polish literary society is there. I am not sending the fourth letter I
have written to you, only a fragment of another, written in an impatient mood, so that you
may know how cross I am sometimes.
Yours till death CH.
2 Miss Jane Stirling.