The Collected Letters, Volume 27


JWC TO CALLIOPE DILBEROGLUE ; 8 January 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520108-JWC-CD-01; CL 27: 5-6


5 Cheyne Row / Thursday [8 January 1852?]

Oh Heavens! How beautiful! You—the shirt—the whole thing! It is not in mere terrestrial prose that one should acknowledge such a gift; one's thanks should be a new ‘Song of the Shirt1 as bright and glowing as the other was dark and dreary—if only I had any power of Song left in me!—but—alas! Let me keep my thanks then until we meet dear Calliope, and give you them in a kiss, which may be made poetical in any degree according to the sentiment one puts in it— But the shirt—when I had shaken it out, and hung it over a chair, and gone some steps back to look at it; it seemed to me in its glistening loveliness an emanation from the Moon, fallen on this lower Earth! “What a beautiful thing” said Mr Carlyle “is it for sleeping in’? the question awoke in me some practical considerations as to the wearing it— Be kind enough to tell me; am I to wear it on the outside of my gown and to let it hang loose, or to tie it round the waist with a cord? or how?—for with Heavens blessing I will wear it come what come may!— I will astonish the finest Ladies in London with my bit of “Orientalism”—my glistening shirt out of the Moon! Only I should wish to wear it in right fashion—so you must do me the further kindness to teach me the right fashion—

How glad I am that you have made such progress in English—for now we shall understand each other when we meet, all the difficulty, I think, lay in the want of a mutual language— I meant to write a long letter when I began, but a tiresome Lady came and sat an hour and has run me close on our post-time. And I would not miss another post in announcing the safe arrival of your work— Will you give my kindest remembrance to your Mother. I have forgotten quite the few words of greek which she taught me— To your Brother I will write soon—

All good be with you dear Calliope—

Ever truly yours /

Jane Carlyle