January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


JWC TO ELIZA DONALDSON ; 20 August 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560820-JWC-EDO-01; CL 31: 182-183


Craigen villa / Morningside / Wednesday [20 August 1856]

My dear Eliza—Miss Eliza—if you like that best—but if I were you I wouldn't— I dont write merely to give you my address—for my letters have been forwarded to here, all right; but to ask for your address in London1—which was to have been written out for me to help my failing memory, and to tell you that the bonnet reached this stage of its destination—without the slighest crumple, and has excited the highest degree of female enthusiasm Tho' to hear how my Aunts hammer away at my unfortunate ‘soul’ to bring it into the patent saveable shape, one might fancy they had quite cut with all vanities of life; I assure you they have as smart a taste in bonnets as you or I; and could appreciate all the pretty details of that one!—and “lyrically recognised” it as if it had been a—Dr Candlish's sermon!2

For my part I think the bonnet very becoming, and “fit to appear in any society” (the highest formula of praise in London; I have remarked”) but prettier for me than the bonnet, and more gratifying to my thoughts, is the kind obligingness with which you put together the Ideal of it in your busy little mind, and the really courageous persistence with which you brought your Ideal into form; thro all the difficulties that arose—especially that weighing down headach! It is one of the items in the good treatment I received in my dear old native Place, not to be forgotten—nor shall I forget it—

Oh my Dear kiss your Aunts for me, and be very good to them— I know they would be sorry sorry to have me go far away again!—they love me so dearly for my Mother's sake—and that makes their love always infinitely precious to me— Ah it is different being loved for the sake of ones dead Father and Mother—and being make-believe-loved for the sake of one's living “distinguished Husband”!

I forgot to ask you to tell Mrs Cook when you see her that I was sorry her state prevented me from calling3— Our Mothers were intimate— I am dreadfully bitten—as badly as your Mother, only I havn't aggravated the bites by scratching in my sleep— I am afraid I cant get back to my cousins till Monday—from a complication of things I need not enter upon—after Monday my address will be Auchtertool / Kircaldy / Till I know the time Mr C has fixed for going home. Depend upon it being married is a great botheration in some respects—indeed in most respects— Especially if you have “a distinguished Husband” who never will make up his own mind about anything till the last moment— I believe the Bishop4 is coming to tea here this evening. The Canaries are remarkably well and send you their timid compliments—

I inclose a little photograph of a very remarkable picture at Berlin— It represents Frederick the Great when he was a little child playing on a drum, and holding the hand of his favourite Sister who was afterwards Margravine of Bayreuth. I think the child's face perfectly charming—and it is a curiosity in England—being done on purpose for Mr Carlyle—kind regards to your Mother

Yours very truly

Jane W Carlyle