July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


JWC TO JOHN FORSTER ; 26 February 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480226-JWC-JF-01; CL 22: 254-255


5 Cheyne Row / Saturday [26? February 1848

Dear Mr Forster

It is too bad to plague you with “a delicate embarrassment” of mine, when you are overhead in “earnest work”—but what can I do? if you do not cut me out; my Husband will, at the least send me to Gehenna! and I would much rather not!

Geraldine writes to me this morning (our correspondence had been at a still-stand ever since that feast of “meats” and love and tobacco, at the Fornisari's1) that I may expect a copy of her book next week— I had no notion it would be ready so soon. Well! for the delicate embarrassment; she does not say anything about the Dedication to Mrs Paulet and myself which her heart was much set on some months ago—and which—that is my share in it—I neither positively accorded to, nor positively declined at the time, meaning to revise the question when the book was ready for being dedicated, and to be guided by my Husbands authentic feelings in the matter— Knowing his dislike to be connected in people's minds, by even the slightest spider-thread, with what he calls “George Sandism and all that accursed sort of thing” I was not at all sure that the half-toleration he gave when asked about it would not be changed into prohibition if he found it likely to be acted upon— At the time I sounded his feelings; the Book, I was able to assure him, contained nothing questionable— Can I say so now? If anything of the last Chapters I read be left in it, not only would he detest a dedication to his wife but his wife herself would detest it2— What I want you to do is, if there be a dedication to erase my name and leave it all to Mrs Paulet and tell me that you have so done, and I will write to Geraldine an explanation of the fact— If there be no dedication, tell me all the same; and then I shall not need to hurt the poor little souls sensibilities, by a premature refusal— You see how I am situated—wishing not to give pain to Geraldine—still less to give offence to my Husband and least of all to promnade myself as an “emancipated” woman— I am still confined to the house—weary work— Ever affectionately yours

Jane Carlyle

Have you the other novels of the Currell Bell people?3— I should like them any time