April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 14 December 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18491214-TC-JAC-01; CL 24: 310-312


Chelsea, 14 Decr, 1849—

Dear Brother,—Many thanks for your two Letters; for all your punctuality. The last of your Letters came the day before yesterday, and here today about noon is the Barrel itself! I have opened it, before going out: all is tight and right,—every thing looks good and excellent: nothing has been tried fairly except Garthwaite's waistcoat; but if all the rest suit as well as that, we call ourselves well used in the matter! Jane will write, herself, I believe, about all that; nay she was talking a Letter to you this very day, but people I hear have come in upon her operations down below:—this Note of mine is to concern our Mother's Shoes and little else, for there is need of despatch in regard to that.

Yesterday I went to the Shoemaker (one Grundy, in St Martin's Lane):1 he thot he could make a pair of shoes to fit from an old shoe; but petitioned hard to be favoured with some measurements as well; whh I have no doubt you can do, if you take a folded spill of clean paper and try, as you have seen the Shoemakers do here. There are 3 grand measurements besides the length of the foot: put your folded spill accurately round, and make a small tear or nick with your nail, at each of these 3 places: 1st, over the toes (at the spread of the foot where it is broadest); 2d, perpendicular over the instep where it is highest; 3d, from heel to front where it is lowest (the minimum of distance that way): these are the three grand dimensions, to be done by nicks as I describe, which the Artist here understand even in a mute condition. Lastly, however, he wished a trace of the sole (as you have seen Salter's people2 do it): with these, aided by an old shoe, he certainly ought to consider himself equipt!— Today the old shoe itself having come to view, I am constrained to say that it offers but a faint resemblance to the foot; and the new demand for measures seems to me an indispensable one. Up, therefore! Please let me have them with all despatch: I will send up the shoe but strictly charge the man not to stir till your new helps arrive. Also say whether my Mother would not like the shoe to come much better over the instep than this? In fact whether there is any objection, except ease of getting off and on, to its coming up as far as my own do, or as the man (with his india-rubber apparatus) wishes?— Perhaps it makes no difference to him, but perhaps also it does: mention it therefore. And now enough, dear Brother.

Your Dante shall be sought out,3 and all shall be ready to go (if we can manage it) so soon as the shoes are ready. Newspapers tomorrow too,—so far as I can comply with your order; item paying of the man,—the instant you send me a slip of Paper addressed to him, “Discontinue the &c” or perhaps that is not necessary if you give me his address?—— — The Nation came last night! A review of Forster is in it;—done to order, worth gar nichts [nothing at all].4 The Saint-Howard people are in a terrible tempest here about the Niggers; chaunting mournful “Ichabods!” over me.5 Which is all right. No more today; more very soon. Good be with you all. Your affe

T. Carlyle