The Collected Letters, Volume 27


JWC TO KATE STERLING ; 30 May 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520530-JWC-KS-01; CL 27: 126-128


Sunday [30 May? 1852]

Dearest Kate

I am not at all well, and am like Martha in the Scriptures “troubled about many things”;1 but I must write you a few lines anyhow; to put that busy little head to rest so far as my displeasure is concerned. Dear child! I am not displeased with you the least in the world! I might have been sure without asking that the Capt was as usual making “a tempest in a tea pot” for the sole purpose of rendering himself disagreeable—the only aim which he seems to steadily pursue at present. For the rest beyond the temporary vexation to myself from being assailed in that illtimed, and ill-natured manner, no harm was probably meant, and no harm has resulted—That Capt Sterling from his Englishman point of view should refuse his consent to his niece and wards marriage with a german2 was quite natural—that he should refuse it before it was asked was like his usual headlongness. Apparently, it never WOULD have bee[n]3 asked—the young Lady's own consent being first needed as a preliminary measure, and even that would never have been asked till the young Lady had given some encouragement to the hope of winning it— Baron Dalwig tho' no Englishman, has modesty, and delicacy, and also proper pride—as I have had occasion to observe— And by such a character love “with the reciprocity all on one side” (as the Irish say) would soon have been discarded voluntarily as an impertinent folly. A few words from Plattnauer have been enough to arouse him a sense of what was due to himself in this foolish business. and I daresay he will soon find a wife in his own country if a wife be necessary to his happiness—as for Reichenbach he is “extremely thankful” that the Capt should have ended the “addresses” before they were begun—not that Reichenbach does not appreciate “Miss Kate Sterling” but that he augurs ill, like the Capt, of marriages between persons of different countries—to which is added a strong feeling of retaliation for the Capt's contempt for foreigners— And then Reichenbach, not wasting any of his faculties in talk, could better than others see that Miss Kate Sterling did not care a pinch of snuff for his Ward, and therefore his ward, he thought, was but wasting his time in getting up any enthusiasm for her— I must tell you too that we did great injustice to the little Countess that day thro the constructions we—or at least I put on her coldness. the poor little soul was, as she afterwards confessed to me put in “a false position” from her Husband having found great fault with her for praising you, as she was in the habit of doing to Dalwig, and showing a liking for you, which he feared was infectious for the young man— Count Reichenbach too told me next day he quite pitied his wife, when he saw her so embarrassed betwixt her liking to us, and her respect to HIS wishes. In fact they are all good true-hearted, honourable people—and I should not regret having been bothered by the Capt, since it has been the means of letting me see still better than I should have done in ordinary intercourse into their inner hearts.

I have seen nothing of your uncle since that day— Edward was here yesterday morning all in light coloured clothes, looking as beautiful as Apollo! he came in answer to a note from me about—my cat!

Dalwig is come to live in a beautiful appartment in Cheyne walk now, and is to have a teaparty on Thursday night to which I am invited and have promised to go— So you see he is not enacting the woebegone Lover—which I like him all the better for—a man without pride is odious to me—

Last night I was at a great gathering at Bath House—five hundred people all beautifully dressed, and talking all at one time—no dancing—no nothing but looking splendid and chattering!— The Turkish Ambassador was the figure who captivated me most4— The poor Duke of Wellington got no kiss from me this time5—I wishd rather to fling a blanket over him and carry him off to bed—so old! so spectral! surely it was an unseemly scene to parade his past Heroship in! Sir Harry Smith6 was there too, like a brown leather man, that one fancied must be stuffed with bran— We came home about two in the morning—which partly accounts for my depression today—I hope I shant have to figure in that low breasted short sleeved white silk gown and white feathers (Good Heavens) this season again— The biblical phrase “a time for every thing7 is quite forgotten in these days— Lady William Russell told me I was grown much fatter and asked Lady Ashburton if she didnt think so—Lady A looked at me all over and said—“fatter? Well! I dont know!” in a tone that would have made a cat laugh!

Love to Lotta and Julia— I heard that Saffi was going to be married to one of the Miss Crawfurds8—but I dare say it is a mere report— Your ever affectionate

J Carlyle