April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 15 July 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440715-JWC-TC-01; CL 18: 135-136


Seaforth / Monday [15 July 1844]

Oh my Darling—I want to give you an emphatic kiss rather than to write!— But you are at Chelsea—and I at Seaforth, so the thing is clearly impossible for the moment! But I will keep it for you till I come; for it is not with words that I can thank you adequately for that kindest of birthday-letters and its small enclosure— Touching little key! I cried over it and laughed over it! and could not sufficiently admire the graceful idea—an idea which might come under the category of what Cavaignac used to call “idees de femme [woman's ideas]”—supposed to be unattainable by the coarser sex! and I have put the little key to my chain and shall wear it there till I return. I was vexed that I could not tell you yesterday how much you had pleased me—but the letters were not given out at Seaforth till it was too late for writing by return of post. Mrs Paulet sent for them at eleven—but the postmaster is evangelical and declined giving them out till after church time! On the whole it was a good birth-day, yesterday was!— Mrs Paulet knew; for my Cousion Helen in a note to her had regretted that “Cousin was not to be there on her birthday.”—indeed the wish not to be there had been one reason for my staying where I was—the rosbeefe [roast-beef] and dreadfully prosaical demonstrations with which such anniversaries are kept at Maryland Street make me always horribly sad— Mrs Paulet managed the thing with a better grace—not a word was said on the subject; only after dinner I noticed on the table a majestic cake and a peculiar looking bottle of wine—when Mr Paulet had filled all our glasses with this precious liquor—(which certainly must have been the nectar which was drunk by the Gods—) he suddenly sprung up, fetched a large rose from behind a screen, and presented it to me saying “Madam may you have every happiness that your heart desires”! and then drank to me, the rest all doing the same without knowing very well why—for Mrs Paulet had told nobody but him— She has a beautiful tact that woman! I really love her considerably!—it is a thousand pities to see her wasted on such a place as Liverpool

I am not going back to Maryland street till tomorrow—A Mrs Ames—the musical Lady I told you of—was here again on Friday and pressed me to go to a party at her house this evening—the Martineaus1 were to meet me—music of the spheres &c &c—Mrs Paulet and the rest were anxious I should go with them and so I settled to go—and now it is found stupid that I should go to Maryland Street beforehand—and stupid that I should go after the party which will be late; so I am to return to Seaforth to sleep—and a messenger is just despatched to tell them not to look for me—They will not be at all pleased—but really it is too hard that when I am having a lark I cannot follow my own inclinations without exciting tiger-jealousies.

Geraldine is returned to her usual devotion—but the recollection of her extravagancies will not be easily effaced from my mind or any one's who assisted at them— I set the whole company into fits of laughter the other night by publickly saying to her after she had been flirting with a certain Mr Teló2 that “I wondered she should expect me to behave decently to her after she had for a whole evening been making love before my very face to another man”!

That Mrs Darbyshire is really a good woman—deserves to be something better than a Unitarian. When she does stand up for “virtue and all that sort of thing” it is with an unsystematic simplicity that mitigates the offence even in my eyes—

But Oh dear, here have they been with a riding habit and “the usual trimmings” and a horse is ready in the stable. I said last night that I used to ride—and voila [there is] the result! As it is not a Paulet-horse but some other Lady's it is to be hoped it will be sure enough— God bless you Dearest ever your affectionate

Jane Carlyle