The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO HELEN WELSH; 22 December 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511222-JWC-HW-01; CL 26: 275-276


The Grange / Monday [22 December 1851]

If it were not for the worry to yourself dearest Helen, I should rejoice at the little mistake which has procured me two nice long letters from you instead of one—the other letter came with its inclosure all right, nor did I even notice the misdirection— Thanks very many for your prompt and liberal execution of my little commission—the tinsel ribbon was quite an inspiration of Providence. it suits so beautifully the ornament to be suspended round my neck and without which I could not wear the only low dress I had brought with them—any bareness being horrible against my feelings at this date tho Lady Sandwich who is turned 70 shows a whole neck and breast much less presentable than mine, every day— I have counted sixteen splendid silk dresses in which that old Countess has appeared since she emerged from her sick room!— —the last was white glacé with a low polka of the same profusely embroidered with white bugles! as for me I have just two decent gowns and I put them on on alternate days— For the rest, I am pretty well recovered now—tho' I have only once gone further than the Conservatory—so afraid I am of getting fresh cold. our fine visitors, all went off this morning—for a cabinet meeting—leaving behind only Mr Clough (a Liverpool man) and Emily Baring Lord A's sister— Lady Grey who generally calls her husband “my Earl” reminds me always of Mrs Davidson at Haddington1—no great shakes of a Lady— and a young Lady Alice Lambton2 whom she brought with her would in our circles be called a little white Negro—but as the daughter of Lord Durham, she passes for a young person of very elegant manners and great intelligence The old Marquis of Landsdowne was also here and, as a proof that my private suffering did not make me dull whatever else—he has invited me as well as Mr C to Bowood3—a crowning grace of aristocratic favour—which may remind you of Miss Sedgwicks book on England, in which she mentions having “scaled the social ladder” beginning with tea at Thomas Carlyle's, and ending at Lansdowne House”4 There is a good deal that is wearisome in it but also an interesting account of Jewish manners—and many eloquent and thoughtful pages—

I must stop—Dear—the meaning of this separate page I will tell you next time—

God bless you all

your affectionate

Jane W Carlyle