Letter from Jane Welsh Carlyle to Charlotte Cushman, [early September 1861]

Dublin Core


Letter from Jane Welsh Carlyle to Charlotte Cushman, [early September 1861]


Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex
Gender Norms
Manners / Etiquette


Carlyle writes about Spiritual Magnetism and a note from Cushman. Eventually, she tells Cushman about "strange" men among which is her husband.


Carlyle, Jane Welsh, 1801-1866




Carlyle, Jane Welsh. Jane Carlyle: Newly Selected Letters. Edited by K. J. Fielding and David R. Sorensen. Ashgate, 2004, pp. 263-264.





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If I believe in one human will having power over another even thro' some miles of other human beings?–if I believe in Spiritual Mag[n]etism?–Most assuredly! I believe in it absolutely and entirely! It is the great Central Fact of the Universe for me! The concentrated Essence of Life!–I wouldn't
say as much in 'mixed company'; knaves and idiots have so taken the name of Magnetism in vain–so disgraced and disecrated it with their Clairvoyant Champaign Breakfasts their after-dinner table-turnings–all their brutal nonsenses, that
to declare oneself a firm believer in Magnetism–and in little else–were to expose oneself uselessly to the misconception of the greater number: but it suits my humour to begin my correspondence with you by a confidence! For the rest; I do wish to see you; do wish to hear from you; do love you; (you know that; why make me say it?) And, further I mean, deliberately and imperatively, that we Two should be friends for the rest of our lives,–and good ones–to make up for lost time. That is my modest meaning; understand!– Set yourself against it if you can! In reading your programme I thought for a few moments of asking Mrs Dilberoglue to let me meet you once more in her dear little Temple of Concord, on Sunday evening; or asking yourself to make Time to come here again one morning before our departure– But the idea was quickly rejected. The impression left on my mind by our Parting the other evening was so good! so exactly the sort of impression of you I wished to keep till your return next June, and suppose I managed to arrange another–parting; how easily, in the prosaic unsettledness and bustle of the next days, might there arise something from without or from within to make the second parting less satisfactory to think of than that other! and to disturb or mar the impression of that other, which I wished to keep intact! A cowardly apprehension you may think! at least a nervous one! But, anyhow it came to me with the impressiveness of a Monition of Nature; and having no 'principles of conduct' 'to speak of,' the more need I should give heed to my Instincts!!
You will write to me when you are settled? I mean when you have leisure of mind and body– I dont want a letter written, as I am writing this one, in a worry of Things! I have the strangest thing to tell you about your flowers! The moment I set my eyes on them, and before setting my eyes on the note, and in face of the glaring improbability that
grapes and flowers should be sent from the same person, on the same day by two different messengers (!) I knew somehow–knew as assuredly as if I had taken them out of your hand–that those flowers were from you! My maid, in
entering the room with them said–'not from Mr Ruskin I think mam'!–at least it isn't his man that brought them. 'No' I said as if I had known of their coming 'they are from Miss Cushman.' And I knew the note was from you, before I had looked at the signature or read a word of it! I did not know the
handwriting yet I knew it was yours! I must stop– I have to go up to Piccadilly to arrange about–about– Oh Dear me about something much above my capacity! viz placing Mr Cs horse out at grass for a few weeks!! He has gone and got himself bitten, (the horse not Mr C) on the neck by another horse, and Mr C who calls himself or is called a Philosopher is so ashamed of the trifling disfigurement to his Horse's beauty, that he declines taking him on a visit to an Aristocratic Stable!-and I (!) must find him a month's grazing somewhere!– My Dear! Men are–what shall I say?–strange upon my honour! God Bless you–kind regards to Miss Stebbins with the clear fine eyes and gentle smile–your/  affectionate


Carlyle, Jane Welsh, 1801-1866


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


5 Cheyne Row Chelsea, London, UK

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Location (Recipient)

London, UK

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Carlyle, Jane Welsh, 1801-1866, “Letter from Jane Welsh Carlyle to Charlotte Cushman, [early September 1861],” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed July 18, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/463.

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