January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 29 August 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450829-JWC-TC-01; CL 19: 179-181


Friday [29 August 1845]


Today I am restored to my normal state—of amiability: thro' the unassisted efforts of nature, I beg to assure you—without having waited for the post hour, and your letter, and the prospect of Wednesday. I am sorry now that I did not repress my little movement of impatience yesterday—a lover would have found it charming perhaps, more flattering than whole pages of “wits” and dolcezza [sweet things]—but husbands are so obtuse!—they do not “understand” one's movements of impatience—want always to be “treated with the respect due to genius,” exact common sense of their poor wives, rather than “the finer sensibilities of the heart.” And so the marriage-state “by working late and early is come to what ye see”!1—if not precisely to immortal smash as yet—at least to within a hairsbreadth of it!— But the matrimonial-question may lie over till I write my book on “the rights of women”—and make one Egyptian happy! It is more important just at present that you should be instructed of the state of—the tides! With that beautiful spirit of divination which characterizes a good wife I had been propounding this subject at breakfast—before you had said a word of seabathing—and it happens quite fortunately that next week is the best bathing time thro'out the whole year— I am afraid you would not be permitted to bathe here naked any more than at Ostend— —At least if such a thing got wind all Bootle2 and Seaforth and Waterloo would turn out to look at you—but there are machines, constructed for the purposes of decency, to be had at a short distance—and the water looks clear, and there is a nice sandy bottom— There will be possibility of bathing every day next week—at convenient hours— So make haste so many delights are awaiting you!—the chiefest a sublime box of cigars!

Poor old Sterling—I feel sincerely sorry for him surely surely Anthony ought at least to have seen him brought home to his own house before streaming away on objectless travels— I had given up the idea of going to Manchester—Geraldine's Landlord has put masons into the house to build an additional room—the mess will last two months and she wrote to me since her return that I could not come with any comfort to myself— But I shall write today a note to Mr Newman3 to ascertain whether he Sterling is sensible enough to get any comfort of seeing me—and whether I could be of any use in helping to get him home— If Mr Newman thinks it worth while I will go on purpose to see him and return the same day.

Do not forget the cloth shawl I spoke of for your Mother, and the stuff for your own coat—both are in the wardrobe of my room—with some velvet fringe wrapt in a handkerchief which you are also to take Helen will find them for you— Have you got tartan for a dressing gown— Do not not neglect that either— I have looked at Tartans here and there is nothing at all to compare with those I saw at—Good heavens I have forgotten the address—but Sampson4 can give it you—Wilson and Bull I think is the name5—in something Lane—I think it is the same your old printer lived in6

Pray bring a Past and Present for Mrs Paulet— Telo7 borrowed the one she had bought and will not or cannot return it in spite of repeated notes— Besides she heaps kindnesses on me till I feel almost ashamed.— She brought me down an old bonnet the other day to save me going up for my own, and the shape happening to be very becoming to me—off she sent for the Sempstress who makes all her things—even her velvet gowns—and set her to making me a beautiful new bonnet on the same principle—“because she wished me to look particularly well when Mr Carlyle came that she might have some credit in me”— Today she is gone to Liverpool in an omnibus to seek something else—heaven knows what which she wishes the sempstress to make for me—

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

Maggie8 is coming today— She starts for Scotland next Wednesday so that there will remain only Alick whom I have never seen since I left— Tell Helen with my kind regards to keep up her heart—for I shall only stay over your time here—and then take up her thread

Yours affectionately /

Jane Carlyle