July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 26 March 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480326-TC-JCA-01; CL 22: 280-282


Chelsea, 26 March, 1848—

Dear Jean,

I wrote to my Mother, the day after your Note came, a stock of news, which I suppose you would immediately hear: today I am to be upon money matters; and having very little time, must endeavour to be brief.

Here is a Bank Cheque for £10, for which James will get payment: deducting his own account £1.9.0, there remains £8.11.0, which I commission him to hand to my Mother, to “help to buy the Gig,” or do what she likes with. I am very glad indeed to hear of a new Gig that you approve of, and decidedly think it ought to be purchased straightway. The half of the price you speak of will be £7.10, which leaves my Mother a Guinea over, to buy herself a “fairing” with;—and this arrangement will redeem my promise with Jamie, if my Mother judge fit to go exact halves with him: but I think it better to leave the matter wholly in her hand. And so I wish you to write to Jamie straightway how the matter stands; and on the whole to get the bargain concluded without loss of time,—or if any difficulty occur, to let me know about it. And that is enough for money today. Your poor dud of a “Newspaper” costs next to nothing, and is always paid along with my own: do not speak of it at present,—unless I happen to dun you for it! I have got a Times now, too, for myself; the world's history is getting into such a gallop everywhere, one can hardly keep pace with it. Jack and I have also got a French Newspaper (Le National) between us, daily; but that, I rather think, will have to be renounced, as more than I can get read. I am also thinking seriously of some kind of Book,—poor wretch!—but the times with me too are not without their difficulties!—

On Thursday I had again an eight-o'-clock dinner to execute at the Barings's, on occasion of Emerson,—or rather Emerson was but the excuse of it, for he kept very quiet; mild modest eyes, lips sealed together like a pair of pincers, and nobody minded him much: we had quantities of Lords, Town-wits (Thackeray &c), beautiful Ladies;—and I, as usual, got a most sick head and heart by it; not likely to recover for two days yet.1 One of the Ladies there, a beauty declared, Lady Castlereagh whom I had seen once before,—sends down a flunkey yesternight to ask me for another such ploy to her own mansion: Oh Heavens, no! I answered; there is nothing but mischief, and indigestion with headaches, in all that for me! This Lady, however, really seemed to me a very nice well-conditioned woman; her Husband (nephew and heir of the famed Castlerh2) told one by his very face that probably he was “a considerable of a blackguard,” or had been in past days.

We have dry hard weather now, with real pall of March-dust; in which I hope you participate. Jane continues weakly; avoids the N.E. wind, and does not stir much out.— Did the Picture come safe?3 Tell me quietly what our Mother thinks of it: opinions here are somewhat divided. I yesterday sent a Book: was that all right?—Write to me again soon, dear Jean: you are to have a Letter for your kind Gift of the mats. All good be with you all!

T. Carlyle