The Collected Letters, Volume 10


JWC TO JOHN STERLING ; 11 July 1838; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18380711-JWC-JOST-01; CL 10: 117-118


[11 July 1838]

Geflügelter [Winged one]!

My getting to Blackheath seems to be a camel passing-thro-the-eye-of-a needle sort of a problem which it is as good as useless to set the heart of me on at present. Thursday,1 I cannot go; for having excused myself from the Communion of Saints at Woolich [sic]2 (on the plea of ill health) I must, in common decency, abstain for that day at least from any open demonstration of locomotive force. Friday my Husband sits for his picture (a miracle of art likely to be, but in the mean time a thing of dread, enough to curdle all the milk in Middlesex) and I, poverina [poor thing], make tea for the Artist3 before he begins, and encourage him with my exquisite chitter-chatter while he works— Saturday (Carlyle told me on his return yesterday) we are engaged to dine with Darwin and walk in the evening in St James Park—to cultivate a taste for innocent pleasures, I presume.

So there is this whole week disposed of—and for me, to be making appointments beyond the week I am in, were what they call in Scotland “a tempting of Providence”— Come you here— It is better so. I can listen to you with composure of soul, and talk to you very prettily on my own sofa—but no where else am I good for anything except to remind people of their latter end— When they are gone from Knightsbridge4 both your wife and you will have some time on your hands, which I lay claim to as the next in merit and locality.

Carlyle sends regards— It “is a possibility that he may see you on Thursday, but not to be positively calculated upon.” Kind love to “Mrs John” and the little unfledged.5

Your affectionate /

Jane Carlyle

Wednesday morning


Sterling was at Blackheath two successive summers; went to Hastings for a while in the autumn of the latter (1838). ‘Portrait’ must be S. Lawrence's Crayon Sketch, still there? No, it is the Oil-Picture (baddish) now at Scotsbrig.6