January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 22 July 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430722-JWC-TC-01; CL 16: 304-307


Library South Place [22 July 1843]


I write to you in a new position—and one of tolerable comfort— I have for the present this room—and indeed this whole house all to myself1— I have made them put on a good fire, the day being wet—have ordered the dinner—have strengthened my mind with an adequate supply of bread and butter and sherry—and now sit down, within a yard of the fire, to send you a blessing on your wayfarings and thanks for your letter which I had before I left home— Sterling came with the carriage early to fetch me up here—for no special reason—“just for diversion”2 (as my Penfillan Grandfather3 said he eat cheese and bread in the forenoons)—and I consented, because the day being wet and myself somewhat low—I thought a change (Helens favourite prescription) might be of service—particularly as he held out the prospect of my being left alone while he went to call for Charles Barton and to do some “indispensible business”—one benefit resulting from the “change” you will gratefully acknowledge viz: the better pens I have to act with—it is not the pen's fault if my writing be illegible today— Mrs Prior and Miss Allan went off this morning to Tunbridge4— Mrs Prior “came out strong” on this occassion. I have never before the smallest idea what a good kindhearted woman she was. At parting she held me in her arms as if I had belonged to her—and prayed me with tears (not of her Brother's sort) to come and visit her some time at Brighton—one would have said she regarded me as a legacy left her by Mrs Sterling—for she never used to be able to tolerate me before for my “irreligion” and unconventionalities— Besides the melancholy appearance of the house here she had been sadly shocked at the broken down state of old Sterling and at the communication he made to her about his income having been curtailed by his children—Anthony especially who was the mover of the arrangement has lost I fancy more by disgusting this Aunt than he has gained by taking three hundred pounds a year from his old Father— She has thirty thousand pounds to leave—and Anthony I fancy will not now succeed to a farthing of it. He deserves it the shabby gigman that he is! Whatever stupid uses his Father might have put the money to; will he put it to better?— One thing I was told that made me absolutely sick—of the funeral expenses there was twelve pounds which Anthony as the heir was not liable to pay—it was for the part of the burial ground which the old man had reserved for himself beside his wife—and Anthony kept that back—his Father was applied to to pay down the twelve pounds—in advance as it were for his own funeral!!! Oh my dear let us be thankful to God that we are not money-lovers! how hard of heart that rage for gain does make people!

Poor Pearson has lost his old Mother and is gone to the country to bury her— You would have been wae [sad] to see the iron looking man yesterday going about quite flushed and with tears in his eyes. He told me he was sitting writing a letter to her to say he would come and pay her visit, when he received the accounts of her death—she was turned of ninety— I gave him a glass of wine and shook hands with him when he went away on his sad errand—I felt so sisterly towards him—

I have nothing to tell you today—I have seen nobody since I wrote last except Mazzini who seemed in the fair way of having another tumour in his cheek— I have asked Geraldine to translate his article5 for payment—and she agrees—Forster begged me to find a translator for it “as he really wished to print it for the poor fellow”—and I could think of no likelier person than Geraldine— He is to go to Lady Harriet6 on Wednesday— John Mill leaving him no rest on that subject7

—And now I will tell you a political secret—but for gods sake speak not a syllable of it—there is “a movement” in Italy projected in two months!!—contrary to Mazzini advice who thinks two months rather soon—but if the leaders insist he will evidently take part in it!8—!


John Ruffini writes that he has read Carlyl's9 past and Present—and has seen many persons “who by the reading of it have recovered their souls—or had not till now been sensible that they ever had any”—

Kiss Babbie10 for me— She will be very glad to see you, the dear child—though her mess at present seems to be the counterpart of my own—

Mrs & Miss Kingsley called for me yesterday while I was at dinner11 Helen in the desperation of the moment—my dinner being too laughable—said I was “not at home” tant mieux [so much the better]— If you see Mrs Paulet do not let her seduce you— God keep you dear

Your affectionate /

Jane Carlyle

I send the money-order12