April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


JWC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 7 November 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18491107-JWC-JCA-01; CL 24: 280-281


Wednesday [7 November 1849]

My dear Jane

I have been most foolishly putting off writing from day to day till I could tell you that the parcel was sent to the Paper People—and in that small enterprise I have been hindered by the unpunctuality of my dressmaker who has kept me from day to day waiting for my new stuff-gown—without which I could not abdicate the other—the said stuff gown has finally been sent home and is just—sent back again for certain alterations—so you see!— In a day or two the affair will get itself wound up and meanwhile I have at last the sense to write about those stockings— I can't think what Isabella was dreaming of when she said I expressed any designs upon stockings this year. I dont want stockings knit for me the least in the world! Last year when your Mother was ill and reading more than was thought good for her I wrote a request to her to spin me some Stockings—purely for the sake of turning her “superfluous activity” into a more harmless direction—she could not spin, it turned out, and so I thought no more of course about the matter— But a thousand thanks to you Dear all the same for your obliging offer— For the present however I shall not avail myself of it

I have a good many pairs of satisfactory stockings on hand—or rather on leg—at present, and when I need more I know where I can get Shetland knit stockings, by paying the price, which is worth while, they are so soft and fit so well and last so long—as to the bonnet I should not be wearing it at this season, so it may wait for John's or somebody's coming—“half a crown” or three and sixpence which would be the cost here is not much to pay—but if the bonnet be no more it would be what Mr C would call a practical solecism to pay as much as it costs for the carriage of it—

For the rest I have no news to tell you except that I have got a new cat—who gives [sat]isfaction hitherto—but they all do that in the beginning, and end in having to get themselves drowned out of the world— I have been very busy lately at all sorts of trades—chiefly carpentering—and in your own line—painting and varnishing—so the last two days I have been giving myself a lark—actually have “with my cough and at my time of life” sat two days of my mortal existence over a three volume novel!—but it was the last new one of an authoress who sometimes goes by my name so I wanted to see whether the present work came up to my reputation!— it is quite curious how this woman says things that I have said exactly in my own words—which are often absurd and wild enough—

Poor John Macqueen!1— I felt quite wae about him—setting aside all thought of the loss of a good tenant—as I suppose he was—I remember gratefully how like a gentleman he behaved to me in the matter of taking all my spare furniture off my hands at my own valuation. What will become of the Sister2

Ever your affectionate