The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO KATE STERLING; 22 August 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510822-JWC-KS-01; CL 26: 136-137


The Priory / Gt Malvern / Friday [22 August 1851]

Darling! Your letter was predicted to me by a Fortune-Teller;—if that be any compliment to it!— Actually!— Wandering “at my own sweet will”1 the other evening, I stumbled on a Gipsey encampment, of all things, and a Being of doubtful sex stalked up to me and said “ther's a letter for you Lady dear! a letter you will be glad to get, from one that is much in your thoughts—and you may believe me; for I'm no woman of this country but a real Giptian”! Then she bothered me to “cross her hand with silver,” and she would “tell me my—dispositions”! and I gave her a shilling for the fun of the thing—and she went on ranting about Jupiter being “in his own house” and a rare lot of “pretty little sons and daughters” that she saw for me!—till I got quite alarmed at my happy prospects and ran away— The sons and daughters I think may be safely disbelieved in—but the letter came sure enough—one letter—from you;—for which thanks to you, and the “real Giptian”—

Mr Carlyle carries on with his baths and wet sheets; without much result—so far as I can judge—but he will stay out his time—that is till Saturday week, and then the thing will have at least been fairly tried, and not need to be tried again— We have a good many of our London acquaintance here—but none whose society I prefer to that of the Dr's sisters—who are decidedly clever, agreeable women Imagine! we are invited to drink tea at the Seniors tomorrow evening to meet—old Ford and his last new wife!2— Nero goes out to tea with me,—as I have brought no nurse-maid for him,—and the people give him saucerful's of milk and quantities of bread and butter all to himself!—but I am sorry to say that the Life of perfect happiness he leads here has developed the mange in his system—he is getting bald on the hind-legs and scratchs himself a faire peur [frightfully]!— I have just been with him to the Dog-doctor of Malvern—who rammed a large pill down his throat—and has promised me ‘a lotion’ “to dab him with four times a day”—and I am to take him for another pill-ramming tomorrow morning and “perhaps it may be found expedient to take a little blood from him”— Poor little Nero! perfect happiness was not meant for Dog it would seem, any more than for man!

I dont know precisely what will come of me on Saturday week. Mr C will go straight to Annandale to see his Mother—and as I have no one in Scotland any more, worth making so long a journey for; I was to [have]3 stopt at Manchester with Geraldine till he returned and took me to the Stanleys—but Blanche Stanley has written to me that her marriage with Lord Airlie4 is to take place very soon— Her Mother and she are now in London about clothes and Settlements, the grand items of fashionable marriages, so it is quite possible that the time we had fixed for Alderly may no longer suit them—especially as our stay in the north must be cut short to suit the movements of another Lady— Lady Ashburton—who writes that she is to be in Paris on the 10th—instead of at the end of September when Mr C engaged to spend a fortnight with them in Paris. Till I hear from the Stanleys again I cant decide whether I shall go on to Lancashire with Mr C, or straight back from here to London— Perhaps that latter arrangement were the most dutiful—for I have at this hour in London three Maiden Aunts from Edinr, seeing sights on their own bases who would be much the better for my company5— They arrived just two days after I quitted London, hoping to give me a delightful “surprise”!—

Geraldine's new book is out,6 but I dont like it nearly so well as the former ones—

I send you a Malvern neck ribbon like one I bought this morning for myself— The finery of the people here is outrageous—clambering up the hills in embroidered barége—with pike-staves in their hand!

God bless you dear Kate

love to Julia—if I dont hear from you before the 28th I will send you my next address—

Affectionately yours /

Jane Carlyle