August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


JWC TO ANNA MARIA FOX ; 3 November 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421103-JWC-AMF-01; CL 15: 163-164


[3 November 1842]

My dear friend—So far let me adopt your style; for so far it is exactly after my own heart— Your surprising present1 has been in my hands since last night: but how to thank you in written words? The only satisfactory way of thanking you were to take you in my arms and give you a hearty kiss for it! And at this distance, plainly enough, no kiss is executable—unless one of the chi[l]dren's2 sort, blown from finger ends—which only the children, poor little souls, have imagination enough to get the smallest good of!

Truly it was a beautiful thought your copying that picture for me! and setting aside the cleverness of the performance, I should be more or less than woman if I did not feel touched by it! Leigh Hunt would write a long poem on such a Good thought; Wordsworth might indite five sonnets to it! For me; being neither Leigh Hunt, nor Wordsworth—far less John Sterling, I can but celebrate it in humble prose, and I repeat; it was a good thought, and you must be a good girl to have had such a thought, and I like you for it still better than I did before.

What you suggest about Falmouth sounds very seductive. “Ah”! (as my Husband says) if I had but a wishing-cap, or flying-carpet, or any of those swift and easy means of transportation which one reads of in early history! Oh if there were the smallest hope that when there, I should have health and spirits enough to take the good of your Land of Promise! But both these conditions are unrealizable for me—the last as impossible as the first— So I must content myself with hoping that you will come again next year, and that I shall be extant when you come— The phenomena of those dear little bonnets, with the kind bright faces under them, cannot, believe me, recur too soon or too often for my wishes—

Will you remember me to your sister and all of your family I am known to, and to John Sterling who I hope is relaxing a little in the writing of verses. My Husband is deep in his Cromwell indeed beyond his depth in it—to judge from the spluttering and crying out he is making!— Plainly he needs some further inspiration than he has got yet—even from his pilgrimage into Suffolk, or from the contemplation of three jaw-teeth and a shin-bone which he has had dug for him out of the field of Naisby!— Whether he might find such in the Cannon ball I cannot pretend to say—but for my part, I should much more willingly give it house-room than the Naisby-relics3

Ever truly yours /

Jane Carlyle

5 Cheyne Row / Thursday morning