The Collected Letters, Volume 13


JWC TO JOHN STERLING ; 9 March 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410309-JWC-JOST-01; CL 13: 55-57


[ca. 9 March 1841]

My dear John—“after all”! 1

In God's name be “a hurdygurdy,” or whatever else you like! You are a good man anyhow, and there needs not your “dying” to make me know this at the bottom of my heart, and love you accordingly. No—my excellent Sir, you are a blessing which one knows the value of even before one has lost it: and it is just because I love you better than most people that I persecute you as I do—that I flare up when you touch a hair of my head (I mean my moral head)—so now we are friends again, are we not? If indeed thro' all our mutual impertinences we have ever been anything else!

You see I am very lamb-like today—indeed I could neither “quiz” nor be “polite” to you today for the whole world—the fact is, I also have had a fit of illness which has softened my mood, even as yours has been softened by the same cause.2 These fits of illness are not without their good uses for us people of too poetic temperaments—for my part I find them what the touching of their Mother Earth was for the giants of Old—I arise from them with new heart in me for the battle of existence3—and you know, or ought to know what a woman means by new heart—not new brute force as you men understand by it—but new power of loving and enduring—

We have been really in a rather deplorable plight here for a good while back—ever since a certain trial about a patent! So strangely are things linked together in this remarkable world!— My poor Man of Genius had to sit on a Jury two days4—to the ruin of his whole being physical, moral, and intellectual—and ever since he has been reacting against the administration of British Justice to a degree that has finally mounted into Influenza—while I poverina [poor thing] have been reacting against his reaction—till that malady called by the Cocknies “mental worry” fairly took me by the throat—and threw me on my bed for a good many days—and now I am but recovering—as white as the paper I write upon, and carrying my head as one who had been making a failed attempt at suicide—for in the ardour of my medical practice I flayed the whole neck of me with a blister— So you see it is a good proof of affection that I here give you, in writing thus speedily, and so long a note— God bless you dear John, and all that belongs to you

With all my imperfections believe me ever, faithfully and affectionately yours Jane Carlyle

No Lectures to be this Spring or ever more— God willing