August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 27 August 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460827-JWC-TC-01; CL 21:30-31.


Maryland St., Liverpool, [27 August 1846]

To tell you the prosaical truth, I am afraid I should not take half as much interest in the Lakes as in the Manchester Mills! my tastes being decidedly Utilitarian for the moment! There, the Speddings are good people certainly, but as old Sterling used to say of the Bartons,1 “so damnably unstimulating!” And it strikes me further, that I and my luggage would considerably encumber you on that journey. Two rooms would need to be stipulated for beforehand, and two are not to be had in every house, so conveniently as one. Besides, the embarrassment of having to state one's sleeping difficulties to strangers. And then when one man with his portmanteau and carpetbag can be transported commodiously in a gig, two people with two sets of luggage cannot get along without postchaises,—at a ruinous cost!

On the other hand, I am sensible that movement and change are good medicines for me; and also that when you kindly offer me a pleasure I ought not to look it in the mouth, but take it thankfully. And so, do you decide for me how it shall be. I am ready to meet you at Lancaster on a day's notice; ready to return to Chelsea and do a little in the earth-quaking line. In short, ready for anything except to stay on here, with an everlasting smell of roast meat in my nose, no sleep to be had for cats and carts! no talk to be had except about gowns and bonnets! Truly, since I left Geraldine, I feel to have fallen from the “Indian Horse” into “a quickset hedge, and scratched out both my eyes,”—how impatient I am to “scratch them in again” is not to be told!2

Your Letter this morning found me in the determination to go home on Monday, at farthest;3 but I shall take no further steps till I hear from you again, beyond sending Helen a little money to go on with. My own notion is, that I should be as well at Chelsea sorting things till you come, as going on the uncertain adventure of the Lakes; but I know that I am very fainthearted, and that my own notion is not always the best “to carry out.” So I await your decision. …

Ever yours, /

Jane Carlyle.