April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 3 November 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18491103-TC-JAC-01; CL 24: 276-278


Chelsea, 3 Novr, 1849—

My dear Brother,

There is nothing to be called new here; but I must write you a line to give thanks for your kind intelligence about my Mother, and to ask you for another little packet of tidings. We have had a touch of east-wind with frost, since you wrote; I know not how that may have suited our good Patient's ailment; but at any rate the wind is round again, and we have a kind of damp still atmosphere today, with heat enough for the season of the year. You do not say anything about the teeth; I want to know how our poor Mother gets on in that respect. If she were well again otherwise, there are such helps as artificial teeth to be had.— So long as she is able to stir about, and read, we will wait more patiently for the complete disappearance of that bad business.

Inclosed here is a measuring tape; a useful implement in itself, and one for which I have a special end in view at present. It was as if settled before my coming off from Scotsbrig that I was to get my Mother a new Carpet, a thing she has been speaking of for some time. The Kitchen Carpet, namely, was to be thrown overboard; the present room-carpet was to go to the Kitchen; and a new Carpet was to be ordered by me for the room. The pattern of Grahame's Carpet at Burnswark, which he got lately at Glasgow (and can still, I suppose, get the like of there) was the kind approved of: only one thing was wanting while I remained, there was no correct measure to be had about Scotsbrig; I was obliged to guess the room by my steps. Here now is a “standard measure,” however, sufficiently exact; and I want you to take the dimensions, and to bid Grahame write for the thing directly (if Grahame's is the pattern still preferred), and let the account be sent direct to me here, where it will be easy to pay it to the Glasgow bodies. Or if you do not like to speak to Grahame on the subject, I can write to him myself.— Pray attend to this, for my sake; I have had it in my eye all this while, but thought it would only be a bother while my Mother was so ill. There must evidently be a new Carpet got; and the sooner the better.

I am haggling along here, in the midst of some old papers, endeavouring to try if I cannot do a small somewhat; but hitherto my progress is none of the best. “Dreadfully stiff to ye raise, man!” Clearly there is nothing for it but to haggle away. “To sit down by the side of sad thoughts,” as Oliver says,1 is no thrifty employment for any of us.— Here is a Fraser's Magazine despatched along with this; it contains among other thin ware an impudent but goodhumoured Caricature of me, in an Article (“Bubble Girl”) which you will see;2 really not ill done, and very ridiculous in its sort: Jane and I had half an hour of real laughter over it, which is not so bad in these sorrowing times. My Mother will perhaps be amused with it and Jamie too.

Plattnauer, much to our amazement, came tumbling in the other night; had quitted Lord George (with tempests of “tears” on both sides), had important mysterious “business” &c &c,—in a word we greatly feared his old enemy3 had got up on the poor soul again: however, as a new tutor was not easy to get here, it is now settled that Plr shall return, and settle to his old work at Ballyare; that the “business” here shall consider itself as done. He had dinner with us yesterday;—and, I grieve to say, did my sleep no good by the operation. Tell Jamie to take care of himself. Jane is out walking. My love to my dear Mother, and to all the rest.— Ever yours

T. Carlyle

I heard yesterday of some explosion Louis Napoleon had been making; so that news are now again expected from France!4