April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 6 November 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18481106-TC-JAC-01; CL 23: 151-152


Chelsea, 6 Novr, 1848—

My dear Brother,

It is a quite affecting thing to me to hear of my poor Mother bundling off to Annan, in the cold weather, to seek me a Dressing gown! However, I will not quarrel with it, since it has turned out so well for her: if she have got no hurt by the errand, I know she will in her good heart get a great deal of benefit by it.— With respect to the making of the garment, I wish Garthwaite to be rather lucky [full] in his measures generally, to let the thing come down to the very ancles, and wrap amply round one,—the last he made me was a little scrimp [scanty] both ways (2 inches more in length for one thing will be an improvement), and being very thin and fully lined, was always an ineffectual garment. As to lining,—the gown I have on, which was made by Sampson,1 is lined throughout and down to the very base with this stuff, a worn specimen of which I have just clipt out, and here send you: sleeves and all are lined with this; it was very warm once, but is grown a little thinnish now. It seems to be some kind of woollen drugget; I of course care nothing about having the same kind of lining; any equivalent texture, and dim colour, will suit equally well. And if the sleeves have flannel, or some warmer lining than the rest, that will be no evil, I suppose.— With these pregnant hints, Tom2 and you must manage it;—and 'ware, both of you, of making a mess of the thing! As I reserve to myself the important privilege of grumbling, nobody knows when you will hear the end of it!

Today I send Fraser for my Mother; I fear she will find but little in it, so low runs the water there at present. I write duly, myself; but to little purpose, or hitherto almost none. Persist!— We have no news, except of bad weather here: I have got all my shoes done with gutta-percha (pronounce, pertcha!), and absolutely can defy the damp on that side; a real improvement in such mud. Jane has been reading a Manchester Novel, Jane Barton, of which you will see some account in the Exr by Fuz.3 I have got a copy sent me; the author it seems is a Lady; the Book, I really understand, has some merit,—at least for that kind of Book. Perhaps I shall read it myself, if Fichte were once done (rather a sorry job that, I grieve to find all Ich and Nicht-ich, and such like shadowy concerns):4 Buffon I have pretty well got done with,—have ridden down till it dissolves into watery material.— — John Chorley came up to Craik and me yesterday; I have been twice to smoke a cigar with him on an evening. His Mother is pretty well in health, but now nearly quite dark,—yet will not consent to an operation: Miss Chorley is “no better, much the reverse indeed,”5—poor John intimates with deep tone that he “sees no issue for that but one!

Espinasse is speaking about some engagement with R. Chambers,6 which, if he could get it, would take him back to Edinr: he is decidedly rather burdensome here, poor fellow, when he comes down! We had W. Maccall too one night; a most tragic man, so far as fortune and economics go; but possessed of talent, courageous, cheery, not unteachable, I hope. Poor mortals, “after all”!

No meal has yet come; but tonight it probably may. Thanks to all. The butter will be right welcome the fresh being about half hog's lard at present! When do you think of coming? Write soon again.

Ever yours /

T. Carlyle

I have found out new excellent Y.T.7 tobacco again; in Prince's Street:— have a specimen!— Look at the “works of art” too.8