The Collected Letters, Volume 27


JWC TO KATE STERLING ; 29 December 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18521229-JWC-KS-01; CL 27: 382-384


5 Cheyne Row / Wednesday [29 December? 1852]

My darling Kate!

You write me letters that are worth their weight in gold—(how much would that be?—not enough! when I think of it—but you know what I mean.) Yes my Dear; your letters are witty, and graceful, and loving; they give me a real pleasure, and—I answer them as you see!— And yet there is not, I am positive, a day of my life in which I don't think of you you little Syren! and wish I had you here to give you a kiss. But there is not a day of my life, for which not sufficient is the evil thereof1—in one shape or other—and I so detest sitting down to write a letter with the Devil (figuratively speaking) at my heels. I like to go about it as one went about letter writing, universally, under the old regime, when a letter to Scotland for example cost the receiver fifteen pence halpenny and one to Headly would have cost you seven pence! Bless you, it makes such a difference what system of things one was born under!—and as for ever having quiet and time to write long deliberate letters again; I despair of it!— Since Martha, in the Scriptures, no woman has been so “troubled about many things,”2 as I continually am now!—tho I dont mix myself with any business, public or private, that I can help—I don't so much as know when the Revolution in Italy is to come off, tho' of course no secret is made about it by the conspirators3—I, with my reminiscences of Belvedera and Fiesco and such like reading,4 stand petrified before the present fashion of conspiring, and find my face get red (in shame for their indiscretion) when they tell me things that wouldnt have been wrung out of an old conspirator by the rack! Saffi has been in Italy these six weeks, and there have I been keeping the secret like grim death, fancying indeed that death might lie in it—and behold one person after another asks me, “does Saffi come back here? when his mission is performed?—” “is Saffi into Switzerland yet”?5 &c &c— The only man among them that has the qualities for a great Conspirator is Reichenbach, and he has no inclination that way!— One of my occupations is teaching the little Countess English—with what success you may partly figure Another (not an imperative one you will say) has been writing the narrative of my First Love; good Heavens! you shall have it to read someday—it is short.

The Capt6 goes on coming for the present, without accident.

I hear the music party went off well—but of course, being Hers7 nominally, I was not invited. The only Parties I have been to were at Bath House and one dinner at ‘the Bears8 But Lady A is now gone back to the Grange, till April; she says. Miss Williams Wynn is come back to London and she is a pleasure to me always—You shall know her someday. Geraldine has published a book for young Ladies called the Adopted Child—the prettiest book I have read for long—in one volume too. Plattnauer is gone to Copenhagen till May. We kissed one another at parting!

I will tell you something which that reminds me of— A clergyman lately married, had to go from home one evening, when his brother was expected—and said to the new wife; “Pray my Dear give my brother a warm reception, he is very shy, and I haven't seen him for so long!”— By and by an Inspector of Schools, who had been inspecting in the neighbourhood, called on the clergyman and was introduced to the wife—she taking him for the Brother, jumped up took him by both hands shook them with enthusiasm and looking up to his face said in the most winning way “Won't you kiss me?”— “I would with the greatest pleasure” said the Inspector “but I am afraid there is some mistake.”— And now I will tell you another story told me along with the above. When Lord Lyndhurst's first wife had died9 old Croker put on a long face and a black coat, and went to condole with his Lordship— His Lordship received his condolence with due solemnity, and said in a heart-struck tone—“My dear Croker be kind to your wife while she is with you—oh my dear fellow! love her and cherish her while she lives; but—when she dies—dont bury her in the country; it has cost me fifty pounds for turnpikes by God! And now good night—the best of loves to you—and kiss all the rest for me—and tell Edward not to be giving away his money in that mad way—fifty pounds to revolutionize Italy—it is 49 pounds too much10 Your loving Jane Carlyle