The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO BLANCHE STANLEY; 12 September 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510912-JWC-HBS-01; CL 26: 167-168


Miss Jewsburys / 2 Birchfield Place Higher Ardwick / Manchester Friday [12 September 1851]

My dearest (Miss) Blanche

I have been here, within so few miles of you, for the last ten days, and have not communicated the mighty fact, out of a certain sense of shame! I do feel so ashamed always, to go on talking vaguely, about and about, a purpose instead of going a-head in it, practically, like a woman that knows what she would be at— But it is one of the objections to being the wife of a man of Genius that one has to do a great deal of meandering in The vague; however one's natural tendencies may be toward the Postive! Mr C has such a passion for what he calls “leaving things open“—to be prosecuted or not according to the course of circumstances, and the humour of the hour!— So in the present instance; he parted from me at Liverpool on Monday gone a week, without the least hint when he would return from Scotland—his first letter from Scotland was entirely devoted to an elaborate account of the losing of his luggage—the second letter contained the particulars of it's (the portmanteau's) recovery—with much good advice to me; that I was to “be careful always to travel with my name and address on my luggage”!—but still not a word of the visit to Alderly or the appointment at Paris— Only this morning he writes that he “thinks of—perhaps—returning southward early next week” and that I must “ascertain the state of matters at Alderly—whether they will have us there for three or four days about that time”— Now, my Dear, I assure you I could, with the greatest satisfaction box his ears—“Great Thinker” as is! for I am sure he has made a mess of a very pleasant thing, and that this much talked of meeting cannot now come off at all having been put off, and dawdled over, and “left open“—till within so short a time of your marriage, that it cannot possibly be convenient for you— Before we left Malvern, I endeavoured to impress on his mind the great fact contained in Lady Stanley's kind note that you were to be married on the 22d— But he must have forgotten the day, when he speaks coolly of going to Alderly next week—or he must think that being married is a quite simple affair making no difference in the habits and feelings of those concerned— You will write to me however by return of post?—will you not? like a dear good Blanche as I have always found you—and tell me if we may still go over to Alderly to see you—without staying—when that must manifestly be inconvenient— But we could go over, leaving our luggage here—and spend a few hours and return to Manchester to sleep— Say without the slightest hesitation which way Lady Stanley and you would have it— If you have too many natural friends about you preparatory to your marriage—and are too much occupied with it for sparing even an hour or so to extraneous characters like us; we shall take all the blame of not seeing you at this time to ourselves—and look forward to meeting you elsewhere—or perhaps even at Alderly another year1

I regret now that I did not, immediately on arriving here, offer to go to you myself—without waiting for the slow maturing of Mr C's purposes—but I am always very shy of venturing—what shall I say?—out of my sphere—on my own basis—even at the prompting of a real feeling of affection—

God bless you anyhow dearest Blanche—

Ever yours faithfully

Jane Carlyle