The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO KATE STERLING; 22 December 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511222-JWC-KS-01; CL 26: 278-279


The Grange / Monday [22 December 1851]

Dearest Kate

It seems a great great while—beyond the memory of man—since I got your darling letter. And yet I have been here but three weeks, and certainly it wasn't in the first week, that I heard from you.

The fact is I have taken so much morphine (not at my own hand, this time, but by Dr's prescription) that I am losing all clear ideas on Time and everything else—

Yes—about the Captain1—I dare say I do know as much as you can tell me. I, for my share, found him much “saner”—perhaps, just because he was not particularly indisposed to be friends with me. There was little time to go on so we made it up quickly—but when Mr C took it into his head—out of a spirit of contradiction one might almost think—to ask “the Colonel” to dinner; I dont believe either the Colonel or I had a notion whether we should speak to one another! For me, I did as I always do, I committed myself to the impulse of the moment, whatever that might be; and my first impulses (Mazzini says[)] are always good—my second “less good—indeed—what shall I say?—bad—upon my honour.”

The only subject we argued a little about was his “nieces”— Since he had made up with me why on earth go on quarrelling with you whose greatest misconduct, so far as I could make out, had been to “most undutifully” take my part—(“You see—when you thought proper to quarrel with me; they took your part!! and it was exceedingly undutiful of them!!”——) Had I had time however I shouldn't have despaired of bringing him to see the right—and to do him justice— only let him once see it; and no man goes more instantaneously and determinedly a head in doing it. He is reconciled to Geraldine too— She having utterly forgotten what their quarrel was all about; he told her every particular as if it had happened the day before!—

This day week we go home. I shant be sorry; for living constantly in the presence of my fellow creatures gets to be dreadfully fatiguing to me, used as I am to solitude— My pleasantest hours are when I cut away by myself into the woods— A dreadful treason to utter against the brilliant company here assembled!— When one is young one thinks one could never tire of Poets and Artists and all that sort of thing!—but I am at a point, I find, when I would often take more satisfaction in what the old Lady used to call “a plain human cretur”— My Dear! HUMAN creturs, are the rarest creturs nowadays—and the best; depend upon it—

a kiss to Julia— Bless you my dears

Your affectionate

J W Carlyle