The Collected Letters, Volume 27


JWC TO KATE STERLING ; 23 October 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18521023-JWC-KS-01; CL 27: 342-343


The Grange / Saturday [23 October 1852]

Kate of a thousand! Don't be giving me up as “a base deceiver”! I tell you, my Dear, in spite of appearances, you may go further for a lover and fare worse! Accuse Mr Carlyle's dear friends “The Destinies”—“The Immortal Gods”—The whatever you like to call them, who have flung me into that belly of Chaos these many months and made my life into a “dingle doozy”!1 My Heavens if ever I forget the summer of 1851 (1 or 2 is it?) and how I slept all about and dined in chop houses and never had a decent gown on, and never got leave to warm on my seat and—astonishing climax!—slept finally with loaded pistols! My dear the thieves finally walked in—at one of my open windows—and stole—several things some six pounds worth—extremely moderate considering the facilities afforded them. And then on the principle of locking the stable door when the horse was stolen I got the windows put in and borrowed a pair of pistols from the Capt!2 and slept with them loaded at my bed head—and one night I rushed down with them to shoot—the Policeman! who was making wondrous noises at the front door, deprived of both bell and knocker for the moment, in the benevolent purpose of informing me “if I didn't know it” that my parlour windows had been left wide open!! I didn't know it—sure enough! and instead of sending two balls thro his head I made him thanks in my night shift and went to bed again— Mr C came home sooner than he was expected or desired—in fact while the staircase was all alive with 5 paper-hangers! and three painters, making a violent effort to get done before she3 should come— And he stood it every whit as ill as those who know him could have reasonably expected— three hours of what I had suffered three months of drove him out of all patience—in fact he was going rapidly mad and I hurried him off here the second day till the work people should be got out of his own house4— We have been here a week, during which time I have heard as many witty things as will suffice me till this time twelve-month and have transacted at the same time a violent cold in my head—as usual— Curious how my nature protects always against the luxuries and pleasures of civilization—in my Gypsying amongst the Bricklayers and Carpenters—sleeping without windows—often on four chairs—dining on anything or nothing—I never caught cold or was ill at all! and here—I no sooner step on the velvet carpets and sleep under Throne-canopies, and live on nectar and ambrosia than off I go into sneezing, “and all that sort of thing,” and have no comfort in my life!— But there!—my pen is refusing to write—and I hear the carriage come back with Laurence who is to paint Thackeray here in these days5for the world—

I go back to London next Friday or Saturday leaving Mr C here for a day or two longer till I get things properly in order for him

God bless you my darling I must send this to Headly having forgot the address—love to the others Your affectionate

Jane W Carlyle