The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 2 January 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410102-TC-JCA-01; CL 13: 6-7


Chelsea, 2 jany, 1841.

Dear Jean,

Thanks for your Letter, which had been long looked for, and was welcome when it arrived. I shall have to write at greater length before long; but today, in the extremity of haste, I send merely a word on something of the nature of business. This is it. A Parcel, sent by Fraser,1 to Edinr, will arrive shortly addressed to James by Coach; perhaps is already arriving. On opening it (having paid his cash!) he will find nothing for himself but a poor ragged fraction in print, called the Siller Gun;2 a Dumfries Poem,—which he is to get put into very sober half-binding, and keep with considerable estimation for its own sake and mine! This is the whole business so far as relates to the Siller Gun. But now beside this there will lie a larger Parcel with the address “Ecclefechan” on it: this, all wrapt up as for instant despatch, I hereby authorize him to open,—and indeed to keep by him till he get farther instruction. I do not yet discern with absolute clearness what is to be done with it; for the thing has a story of its own.

Alick, namely, having mentioned to me some while ago that the Ecclefechan Library meant to buy a copy of my Miscellanies, I determined to present the poor bodies with a copy;3 and this you will see is it; I wrote to Alick4 requesting to know whether they were still in a revocable state with regard to their Bookseller and this Miscellanies they were about ordering, and 2ndly how my copy should be addressed and sent. Not a whisper of reply from Alick; Fraser's Magazine day arrived:5 I decided on sending it as you see. And now Alick instructs me yesterday; that the Ecclefn people have actually got their purchased copy,—which of course puts an end to the whole negociation! I partly see what is to be made of the thing; but … -er again from Ecclefechan … -ther this time. You … -bout the Book … hear. This … .

One … -bout … this … whole boiling of them! We have got our fine sunny thaw; our ice all changed into rivers of thin glar [mud].——— I get my time terribly cut up here; swear some times that I will go to Puttock itself and write my Book! What rent does Corson owe,6 or when was it due? We must look into this. What an explosive cheese; a very French Revolution of a cheese!—

The Doctor came suddenly in upon me yesterday; I expect to meet him today again … to walk. They are here on a … think; the Patient's Aunt with … cheerful; still al- … he will keep his … more. … -mend me to … all good, … I am writing.