October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


JWC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 18 November 1833; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18331118-JWC-JCA-01; CL 7:35-36.


[Ca. 18 November, 1833]

My dear Jane

I commissioned Alick to transmit my thanks to you in the handsomest manner; but, ‘it may be strongly doubted,’1 if he acquitted himself of the commission at all to my satisfaction. So I now send them ‘under my own hand2 with the same warmth warmth [sic] in which they were at first conceived, and which is not likely to know any diminution so long as a morsel of the dainty remains.

How are you getting on? Bravely I hope, but the question would be better asked at your Husband than at you. There is never much to be feared for any one that is born with sense and truth in him, whatever else he may have or want. And so I always augur well of the judicious Crow3 in whatsoever circumstances she may find herself. If the Devil should get into her by a time, he will find her good sense and truthfulness such bad neighbours, that he will be fain to decamp before he have done any serious mischief. It is indeed a trying change to have two wills to consult instead of one always sufficien[t]ly imperative. I know it by experience and can sympathise with you: but my experience also permits me to give you the encouraging assurance that the thing [can] be managed without bloodshed.

I have made up my mind, after four years of deliberation, to be at the expence [sic] of framing the Lord Advocate in imitation—rosewood. So I send him to your Husband to get done— Nota Bene—the gilt moulding must be under the glass, as it is in your frames and is not in any of the others. A symptom of preference which strikes me as sufficiently bare-faced.

I expect Grace Cavins4 to-day; it will be a pity if she do not know that you are in Dumfries. Nancy is still staying on and does not look as if she were much disposed to flit. It is a gre[a]t temporal blessing5 for me that no interregnum has taken place; for my increase of years and infirmities has nearly altogether incapacitated me from working[.] You ought to write to me frequently and also to come and see me frequently when you are within such manageable distance. Our compliments to your Husband, who I hope may be able to get the upper hand with you for I can tell him it will depend on himself whether he make “a [s]poon of you or spoil a horn”—6

Your affectionate Sister /

Jane Carlyle the elder—