The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE ; 7 March 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410307-TC-JC-01; CL 13: 51-52


Chelsea, 7 March / 1841—

Dear Jamie,

Your Letter has lain more weeks unanswered than I intended. I will write you a little Note today; for indeed there has been less heard of us at Scotsbrig for a while back than is usual. About ten days ago I got my Proofsheets all done; tho' I do not know that the Books are yet out,—a great many things require to be done before all is ready. Probably they will come out this very day.1 Some copies of them will try to reach Ecclefechan and the kindred there, about the beginning of April I hope.— I have sent a copy in Sheets to America; where, I suppose, they will print an edition for themselves. Jack got a copy in sheets too; not without trouble on my part: and guess only whither he sent it! Not to my Mother; not to any of you,—but to Glen at Carstammon!2 I have laughed several times, to consider it: A place where one man only could by any chance see it, and that man not in his wits! He is a wonderful fellow, our Doctor, in some of his notions.

One of my projects was to get down to Ryde and see the Doctor; I wanted much to see the country at the same time. I have not gone yet, and so do not know whether I shall now go. Just as my sheets were ending I was taken ill with an Influenza which all the world has here. It is like an ugly kind of cold; weakness, aching bones, loss of appetite &c. There is no danger attending it; but it is a very irksome disorder, and keeps you lame on the place. I did not venture out at all for some days. I have not gone up to Town even yet; I get across the Bridge3 into a kind of resemblance of country. The disease is gone now; but a considerable weakness is only yet going. I rather consider it will do me real good, were it once gone: for I have had a dull ugly kind of peculiar biliousness hanging about me for a long time. What is worst, poor Jane, just as I was getting better, fell ill of the same business; and has been keeping her bed these two days. Hers takes the shape of a sore throat: she is not very ill; I have seen her far worse every winter since we came here. She too will be clearer and better most probably were this thing once away.

The bright weather makes me think of the summer that is coming: I have a very great desire indeed to get out of this place, and pass the whole Summer among the green grass! If Jane did not like Puttock still worse than I do, I think I could run even thither. But one might get a house somewhere else. Are there no houses (something like Puttoch, with a park attached) within ten miles of you? I wish you would really send us word. I am decided to consider about it. What is Newington Lodge at Annan? What is the rent of it; the nature of it?— I am not entirely without cash; and cash, I imagine, can do little that were more grateful or more useful than get me into the free air and silence for a while. I often feel as if it would be useful for me to quit London altogether; and make my headquarters in the country, only visiting this frightful tumult when I had real business there.

Will you give these two Letters (two in one) to my Mother. Isabella will read them to her; they will be entertaining for a moment. I am to write to my Mother myself very shortly. Jack sent me word as from Jenny at Kirtlebridge that all was in the usual way at Scotsbrig. I have had a letter from Jean too; she had been complaining since her confinement; but professed to be well again.

You and Alick may consult about this of the House in Annandale! Tell me whether there is any thing eligible; or what things there are. I do not think I will stay here thro' the summer; and I am about as free to go to one place as another.

Give my love to them all; beginning with my dear Mother, ending with little Tom. Jane will send you her goodwishes next time, she hopes, not from bed. Good be with you all, good souls!

Yours, dear Brother, / Always truly / T. Carlyle