July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


JWC TO LADY STANLEY ; 23 October 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18581023-JWC-LST-01; CL 34: 223-225


5 Cheyne Row Chelsea [late October 1858]

Dear Lady Stanley

I begin to think myself the victim-character of a Farce,—the ‘Madame Torson1 whom everybody has conspired to persuade of something against the evidence of her senses!

It is now more than a month that Mr Carlyle has been here, in his own house, palpable, ‘before my eyes,’ and also very palpable to my ears! and still the first question of all my acquaintance is; “how is Mr C getting on in Germany?” or, “Does he go into Silesia before his return”? or “when did you hear from Mr C?” or something to the effect that I am under a hallucination in believing my Husband beside me, or the man that is beside me my Husband!— He WAS in Germany during the first three weeks of September; but put off no time he could help, in a country destitute of “Christian Beds” and anything in the shape of “human food”! Ten days of the three weeks he passed in a Calypso Island (of Rügen), where Madame von Usedom spirited him away in a carriage and four, and where, (the Calypso being scotch), a certain approximation to Christianity in the Beds and humanity in the food appears to have been attainable. The other eleven days he was rushing from Battlefield to Battlefield, like a man chased by Devils! And arrived here in a condition that reminded one of Cruiser after his fight with Rarey!2

As for me, whom you kindly ask about; I continued in a horrid way, till Miss Baring persuaded me away to Bay House (opposite the Isle of Wight) where in twenty four hours I became all healed—like a cracked china basin boiled in sweet milk!!3 They were kind as the Angels to me; and the place a Paradise! comparatively. I staid three weeks; then on the strength of my regained capabilities I went to Dumfrieshires (over the border) and staid there five weeks—getting myself “made of4 which always agrees with my constitution. So that I returned, to fodder Cruiser,5 in a state more up to the undertaking.6

What do you think of that marriage?7 Oh dear Oh dear! The most brilliant of women are missed no longer than the most insignificant! If he had only married a natural, good hearted, unpretending woman, who would have looked up to him, instead of a Brummagen edition of the same thing!— Lady Sandwich takes it beautifully “prepared to adopt as a Daughter any one who will make dear Ashburton happier.” She told me Lord A had written “such a kind letter about his marriage to Mrs Frances Baring”!— But I can't see how he could make a kind letter out of it to her; unless in promising that he would have only a daughter! at worst!8

When are you coming to London?

Oh—the light books! I had nearly quite forgot

I know of only one new novel readable

Sylvan Holts Daughter9

But I will keep my letter open till Geraldine Jewsbury come over—who being the Reviewer of novels for the Athenaeum ought to have some decent ones at her finger ends


No good novel, for the moment but these are readable G. says

Eva Desmond
Frampton Hall
One and Twenty
Guy Livingstone10


Yours very faithfully / Jane W Carlyle 11