The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO KATE STERLING; 10 September 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510910-JWC-KS-01; CL 26: 160-162


2 Birchfield Place / Higher Ardwick / Manchester Wednesday [10 September 1851]

Kate, Darling! I left Malvern meaning to write to you so soon as I was unpacked in Manchester— The two days and a half I was to pass in Liverpool, would, I knew be fully occupied with the duties and amiabilities of Relationship—besides that my bonnet and shoes &c had all been worn out at Malvern, and I needed, before going farther, a considerable amount of refitting.

Well! it is a week past yesterday since I was deposited with Geraldine and excepting answers to my Husbands letters which must (as you will understand when you have a husband of your own) be written however inconveniently, this is the first writing I have executed all the while! And if Geraldine were not gone this morning to visit a sick Lady—perhaps I should not have been let write today yet.

The fact is, there never was such hospitality as Geraldines—caring for every real or imagined want of ones body or soul—from rubbing one's feet by the hour, up to inventing “distractions” under every approach of thought—I lead the life of an enchanted princess in a Fairy Tale—so far as “swift obedience”1 to my “wishes” and “will” is concerned— At Malvern I took the habit of walking before breakfast— Poor Geraldine whom nature prompted to breakfast in bed is up and dressed and ready to walk with me! and so on thro all the day—not only sacrificing herself to me at every turn but sacrificing her Brother also, and all her other visitors— Her Brother must leave his business to take me excursions on the Railway—and the visitors must be used up for my amusement—I dont know how long I could stand such a life without becoming a Tyrant, and too capricious “for anything” (as they say here) but it is decidedly extremely pleasant, and I think makes me, so far, rather amiable—

I cannot but feel very grateful—and show my gratitude in the only way open to me—viz; by letting myself be made of and amused, to all lengths— (This is a detestable pen however)— Mr Carlyle left me at Liverpool on Monday gone a week and went on into Annandale to visit his Family—losing his portmanteau on the road—on occasion of which fatality he wrote to me—“be sure that you never travel without your name and specific address on your luggage”—a rule that I never fancied myself superior to in my life!—it was only his luggage that was entrusted to Providence— The portmanteau however was restored to him after a few days of looking into a dark Future, without shirts trowsers &c, of uncertain duration— He is to pick me up here one of these days—to go to the Stanleys—unless he run us too near the marriage which comes off on the 22d— Miss Farrer has written to me that she saw Blanche often during her stay in London, to buy the wedding clothes, and that she now liked Lord Airlie better, and was quite happy about her marriage—indeed only concerned about the hateful necessity of “calling—her eldest Boy David” a name particularly obnoxious to her taste— Miss Farrer, who has always a consolation ready, suggested that “The Lady Blanche” would however sound very lovely for the eldest girl”!!— So no doubt they will get thro it better or worse—

Oh I forgot to tell you we did drink tea with Old Ford and his wife at Malvern—the wife a decidedly clever looking little person—whom I could get to like if it were not that she had shown herself capable of marrying Ford to whom I have a mysterious natural repugnance—without any reason in reason to give for it—in fact I ought rather to like him, for I saw in him that night at Malvern a most startling likeness to—the owner of the Lily of Devon!2—(if he and it be still extant)—and Mr C too when he came out said “how like Ford is to Anthony Sterling!—” I hope you continue to enjoy your visit—your accounts of which amuse me—so write to me again dear Kate—to this address will do—as my movements are not fixed for the moment—if I am gone Geraldine will forward your letter—kind regards to Julia— Your affectionate

Jane Carlyle