The Collected Letters, Volume 11


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 23 November 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18391123-TC-JCA-01; CL 11: 213-214


[23 November 1839]

[—]joice to hear the accomplishment of. Her milk-supply too ought to be settled; I wish you had spoken about it. Isabella seemed to me always a most reasonable woman, far above any petty thing; and who would herself wish to have petty causes of annoyance put out of the way. On the whole, however, our Mother and she must be allowed to have done better than two of a thousand could have done in that relation.

You forgot to mention whether M'Kie's books arrived. In a letter of Alick's to Jack which came the same day with yours, he did speak of one of the things I sent by M'Kie, the “article” on myself; but there were two Books in another parcel, which should have come along with that.1 From my having asked thrice or four times, and got no denial of its having arrived, I incline to infer that all is right. By next month I send another parcel to my Mother; not thro' M'Kie, but over by Edinburgh and the Coach, direct to Ecclefechan: in that, there will be, if I can find it, a Cobbett's English Grammar2 for James, an excellent book for learning with. I warmly approve of his purpose to instruct himself in that and in all things within his reach. I already notice the Copperplate address on the Newspaper: he writes as well as anybody need do; no small credit to him! Could he not get himself connected with one of your Libraries, and set forth in a large course of reading? There is nothing more manful than a man of hard work and much business, who nevertheless contrives to instruct himself, and become a thinking enlightened man,—as there is nothing to hinder his doing, if he will resolve upon it.

But now I have another piece of business for him. On looking into the pipebox some days ago, I was shocked to discover, tho' it looked still a fourth part full, that the filling was mere hay, and I had now come upon the last stratum of pipes,—perhaps some thirty pipes now left and no more nearer than Glasgow! Instantly let the goodman address himself to that invaluable carrier; mission him with a broken pipe (of the right species,—and O bairns be careful of that!), and let him get five gross at Glasgow as before.3 It was all right before. I have forgot the potter's address; but I doubt not, it will all be right again. Probably a seventh part of the pipes were broken when they got here: the carrier can see if that is the natural proportion? A full half broken, they were still a gain to me. So send them, get them sent,—for my blessing!

We are to have postages for four-pence in a few days now;4 one will then have some heart to write. I intend a Letter for my Mother, probably next week; however you may try your best to let her know about this too. I must omit all other inquiries, rem[em]brances and details till then. The Austins will be at Gill now? The Hannings gone to K. bridge? By the bye what was that of “Firparknook” in your letter?5 A mere mistake of the pen?— Adieu dear Jean. Be well and wise, diligent and cheerful now and ever.

Your affectionate Brother—

T. Carlyle