April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 21 September 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440921-TC-JCA-01; CL 18: 216-217


Chelsea, 21 Septr, 1844—

Dear Jean,

I must in a hurried word acknowledge the arrival of the Garthwaite clothes, in which tho' there is no word said I detect your friendly and judicious finger, successfully doing its work! The dressing-gown is very well; the cloth much liked; and fits, and will suit well, tho' Garthwaite has made it without cuffs; following some distracted trace of a new fashion, I suppose. No matter about the cuffs; but there is one real omission; the want, namely [of half a] yard of the same cloth to mend with, to make new sleeves with. Perhaps the omission was not yours: and if so, Garthwaite must still have a mass of remnants, not one clipping of which shews its face here. Will you look into it for me. Your best way will be to forward this Note to Jamie at Scotsbrig (if you did intend that there should be a remnant), and let Jamie examine the state of the Tailor's Cabbage,1 and report to you: at the end of the account, do not neglect to let me have by Jack a sufficient piece or set of clippings to mend with; whether rescued from the cabbage or purchased anew from the shop, let them arrive here. My old dressinggown is not nearly done yet; I am strong in dressing gowns.— The black waistcoat was well chosen as to cloth &c: it is wron[g bu]t we have now discovered a way of remedying it by a hook-and-eye. The Trowsers seem of a cloth not unknown here, and will fairly serve the turn.

Perhaps you already know I was in Hampshire, visiting great people for a few days lately. My host was Lord Ashburton, who did the American Treaty as our Ambassador two years ago:2 a very worthy courteous and good old man. We had bright weather for most part, a pleasant company, an immense park and house all to ourselves: if I could have slept, I should have certainly done well; as it was, I did well enough, and really got some good of it, I hope. The legions of flunkies, stirring you up at every turn, were a great annoyance to me! It is all over now.

Returning home I found Jane well, and my side of the House papered anew and painted. She beats us all for a deep thought! [W]e have had a poor German young gentleman these three weeks in our house; lately recovered from temporary madness, and without any other even of the rank of an acquaintance here to look after him. He went away last night in a Rotterdam Steamer; he is to meet his Brother-in-law, a rich Silesian Count,3—from whom just in the nick of time we had a Letter of thanks to ourselves, and of direction for the poor Patient how to meet him over the sea. We were very glad to be handsomely quit of the business.

Poor John Sterling—alas, he is now no more among us: he died on Wednesday night last; full of a kind of sublime composure; a most brave and beautiful soul of a man,—whom we are not again to behold in this world. “God is great.” That was a word often in his mouth, while he sat composed to die.

Dear Jean, I can write no more at present I send my hea[rt's bl]essing to you all. O let us live well that we may [die we]ll. Ever your a[ffec]tionate T. Carlyle