The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO KATE STERLING; 12 August 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510812-JWC-KS-01; CL 26: 126-128


The Priory / Great Malvern Tuesday [12? August 1851]

Dearest of Kates!

You are there, and I am here, and other people are yonder! So far all is right, but in vain, do I, for my share, try to hop off my shadow; riding on donkeys, sitting under trees, and all that sort of rural thing!— London follows me even into this Donkey-Paradise, in the shape of daily flights of little notes containing announcements of this and the other great goose being at this and the other Hotel, and desiring to know when I will receive them—at Chelsea!—“their time being valuable, having so many things to see, they cannot go on chance &c &c.” And so my valuable time here must be eaten up in answering them that I am far away thank God! and don't they wish they may get me!— I have been writing such notes this morning till my head is all in a swim; but I wont let a post go without thanking you for your letter, which I was beginning to get impatient for;—the Capt1 having written to me that he had had a letter from you, and “so of course I had had one.” I did not see the “of course” clearly; but that might be my blindness. Good gracious! think of that man leaving his drunk Capt behind, and navigating the immortal Lily2 himself!! I have a notion to present him with a book Carlyle is now reading while he takes his baths—Masterman Ready3—it might be so useful to him if he were thrown on a desert Island.

You will or ought to be glad to hear that Mr Carlyle “takes quite sweetly to his baths” as a goody goody Lady here expresses it—“Oh Mrs Carlyle! it was such delightful news to be told by Mr Scott's (her husbands) bath man, that Mr Carlyle had said his only regret was not being kept longer in the pack!—you can't think how pleased Mr Scott and all of us were!”— Ach! die zärtliche herzen [Oh! their tender-loving hearts]! Nobody shows much delight at my “taking sweetly” to the donkeys—in fact I pass for a woman in good health, merely here to keep her husband company—so my hopes that perhaps Dr Gully might steep or plash myself into a more effectual state are quite fallen to the ground; after all man does not live by cold water alone—and it is not Dr Gully I fancy that can do me the favour of informing me what is Life? the question which has spoilt my digestion these good many years—

You shall soon have the whole book now I hope. The sheets of the first part are already in the Captain's hands and the rest will be transmitted to him by my Brotherinlaw, as they come from the press—

We stay here till the end of the month and then go into Cheshire I presume—but no further I at least—Mr C will be in Annandale—if the whole programme be not overturned by the Ashburtons going to Paris sooner than they thought—Mr C being to meet them there—

I am glad you like my clever good little Geraldine— She took to you at first sight— I find it is the William Marshalls not the James ones you are neighbours of4—if you recollected what I said of Mrs Marshall being a moony ethereal sort of woman you would not know what to make of it on seeing Mrs William whose fantasticality is of a rather substantial sort—

God bless you my Kate love to Julia5— Your affectionate

Jane Carlyle