The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO KATE STERLING; 31 December 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511231-JWC-KS-01; CL 26: 287


The Grange / Wenesday [31 December 1851]

Curious! that of all my “many friends,” (your Father used to call me The Hare with many friends) there is but a single individual whose human friendship is up to the generosity of writing to me twice for my once!—and that exceptionally good Individual is not you—my Kate!—nor Julia either—“the Capt” then? Oh Heavens! “The last man in all England” to forget what a man calls “his rights”!— My dear it is Geraldine Jewsbury—and those letters that she goes on writing, on the principle of “virtue its own reward,” render her more estimable in my eyes than all her Novels— Well! I write today to tell you that we go home on Friday next—having staid a week longer than bargain on account of the—Misses Thackeray!—“as they knew me and did not know her”; Lady A begged me to stay over their visit in case of their “being shy”! a needless apprehension on her part!— Besides these little girls and their Father there are no other visitors at present except Miss Farrer—much better humoured and every way more compatible with children than I am— So I wish I had kept to the original programme, for my own affairs have suffered from my being from home this week—when I had so many letters to write and little presents to despatch to old servants in Scotland and cousins in Liverpool &c—according to the use and wont of half a life time—

Our tree came off in the Servants Hall—magnificently decorated for the occasion—with all the success to be wished—Lady A distributed the presents to the children (48 of them) herself—with her usual grace and detexrity— The day after Christmas there was a Grand Ball for the servants and their friends—but of that we saw nothing—only heard the music, and the carriages “putting down”! Four maids came from Stratham (Sir Francis Barings)1 in thin white muslin dresses, with broad Sashes of white silk coupé and large Italian silver pins in their hair,— They danced the creatures from eight in the evening till six of the morning and the housemaids went straight from dancing to cleaning the grates!—

On Saturday or Sunday you will come to see me I guess—kindest love to Lotta and Julia— Bless you my Kate—

Your affectionate /

Jane W Carlyle.