The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JANET CARLYLE HANNING ; 7 October 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401007-TC-JCHA-01; CL 12: 279-280


5 CHEYNE ROWE, CHELSEA, 7 October, 1840.

Dear Jenny,— Will you take a word from me to-day in place of many hundreds which I wish I had the means of sending you? My time is very limited indeed, but the sight of my handwriting may be a kind of enlivener to your kind thoughts about me. My dear Mother tells me you are afraid sometimes I may have forgotten you. Believe that never, my dear little sister, it will forever be an error if you do! The whirl I am kept in here is a thing you can form no notion of, nor how natural or indeed inevitable it is for me to give up writing letters at all except when I am bound and obliged to do it. You have no lack of news from me; to my Mother at least I send abundant details. Did I not answer your letter too? I surely meant and ought to have done it. If at any time you wanted the smallest thing that I could do for you, and wrote about, I should be busier than I have ever yet been, if I did not answer.— In short, dear Jenny, whatever sins I may have, whatever more I may seem to have, try to think handsomely of them, to forgive them. And above all things, consider that whether I write many letters or few, my affection for you is a thing that will never leave me.

My Mother tells me frequently how good you are to her; what a satisfaction it is that you are so near her. I thank you a hundred times for your goodness to her; but I know you do not need my thanks or encouragement—and to me it is a real comfort to reflect that you, with your true heart and helpful hand, are always so near. Surely it is a duty for us all, and a blessing in the doing of it, to take care of our Mother, and promote her comfort by all means possible to us! I will love you better and better for this.

You would see by my Mother's last letter, where the Doctor is at present. I have heard nothing since I had a Newspaper from Dumfries, the other day, no letters. I mentioned that the box for Scotsbrig was to be sent off; it went accordingly and is now on the way to Liverpool, likely to be with you soon. There is a small parcel in it for you. We rejoice to hear that Robert prospers in his business: it is difficult to prosper in any business at present. A man of industry, sobriety, and steadiness of purpose; such a man has a chance if anybody have. Jane is certainly in better health this year than I have seen her for a good while. We wait to see what she will say to the cold weather! I myself am as well as usual; no great shakes of a wellness at any time. I expect to be busy, very busy this winter, which is the best consolation for all things. How I should like to hear of Jamie's harvest being all thatched! My love to my Mother, to Alick and all the rest. Jane unites with me in special remembrances to Robert and the glegg [bright] little lassie.1

Yours, dear Jenny, in great haste, in all truth,