August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 19 November 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18461119-TC-JCA-01; CL 21:94-95.


Chelsea, 19 Novr, 1846—

Dear Jean,

The instant I got your Note, I wrote off to the Bookseller people about the Parcel; certain that there was something wrong, and suspecting that it might be worse than it has proved. For I had bought the Article in an immense Haberdashers shop,1 and merely giving them directions how to send the thing, had never seen it more. My hurry on occasion of the Grange visit had even prevented any due notice to the Booksellers about it! Happily there is nothing wrong after all. The Haberdashers have proved true,—only forgetting a little bit of my verbal directions, as they were liable to do;—and the Booksellers, as you see by that Note of theirs, have now sent off the Parcel towards Edinburgh; so that it may still be looked for, all safe, before long. Perhaps in a few days; but at latest about the 3d of next month: I will beg you to send me a line, the instant you do get it, that there may be no farther uncertainty incurred. Our Mother also will require to be warned.— And now enough about this small matter!

Tell Jenny never for a moment to disturb herself about writing to me. There is not the smallest occasion for writing till she have perfect leisure, inclination, and something to say. I am sorry she lost sleep or gave herself any uneasiness about that matter: if she had understood my direction, she had merely to seal the written cover, and put it into the Post-Office, but she had considered that an unpolite thing: and happily now it is all quite right, and we have nothing more to say of it. Surely you do well to take all the care you can of poor little Jenny, and try to make her new home pleasant to her. It is impossible one can find fault with the perfection of her workmanship; tho', in a time like this, it is not the readiest way of getting on with one's affairs: but I believe too it will be found the surest way in the long run. I am aware of the dearth of all articles this year: if you ascertain or surmise that poor Jenny is in straits at any time I very particularly charge you to give me warning of it. If she can help herself thro', it will of course be much pleasanter and better for her: but be sure you always keep this other measure in reserve!—

We are just expecting our new Servant here; just expecting Miss Welsh (Helen) from Liverpool too; and so are rather in a revolutionary state. Miss Welsh is to go again “before Christmas”; the new servant is well recommended but we know not how she will prove: as for poor Helen (the old Servant) we much fear sad mischiefs at Dublin for the poor little Dottle [small creature]; but there could be nothing done to prevent them on our side. Her Brother seems a kind of fool; and she is one too.— The wonderful Miss Brown!2 Very wonderful indeed!— I am doing nothing in the Book way except read. It is with a kind of shudder that I go to a new Book; such a job is it, such a state of health does it throw me into. On the other hand, when I grow too miserable I am forced to begin.—— Thanks for all your details and news. Write again soon, and I will try to answer at more length. Adieu, dear Sister

T. C.