The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 27 May 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410527-TC-JCA-01; CL 13: 143-144


Chelsea, 27 May, 1841—

My dear Jean,

Today I can do nothing more than send you, in the hastiest manner, an instruction for your Goodman about a little piece of easy business. Yesterday, namely, I sent off, in the old way, addressed to him at the Commercial Bank Dumfries, a sum of a hundred-and-ten pounds; which he is to get me a receipt for, as before, and put beside the other, safe, in his drawer till we hear farther. I think the money will be there ready about Monday;—or perhaps they only communicate with Edinburgh once a week; in which case it will be there, on Wednesday. Pray let me have a small notice that the thing is done and right, and then we have it off our hands. A half word will suffice; or even an empty cover addressed merely! You make a wonderful scraffle [struggle] to write; for which I give you great credit, knowing how busy you are held with all the Bairns and Etceteras.

This new £100 is from America; a purse of my own which I sank there, almost two years ago, in the second edition of the F. R.—this now once more in my hands, I will let them fight with the rest, and all that comes will be clear gain. Booksellers, it appears, are in a confused state there as here, and all trade much out of joint. A considerable knavery, I also doubt, is seldom wanting.

Jane received your Letter, the other day, with the straw plait, and will write for her own behoof. She seemed to think the plait beautiful and not dear,—tho' the charge of making adds 7/6 to the bonnet here.1

Jack was with us yesterday; brought a present of a walking-stick, which you can spread out, put straps upon, and make into a stool! I have it sitting in the garden under the thin shadow of our one plumtree upon the “bleaching-green,” to repose upon while smoking. I went out with Jack and his patient, who were bent towards the City and region of banks (my errand was that Comm. Bank money for James's care); we prosecuted our expedition by rope-railways, steamers and all sorts of conveyances,2 across the entire diameter of London, and saw the clear countr[y] on the east side of it. Jack never rests; his patient and he fly like a pair of thunder-spaiks3 For the rest they seem very happy together. The good Doctor! He has sent his second metal portrait4 to our Mother; has Books under way, which James I think will hear tell of about the beginning of next month.

The weather these last three days has been absolutely fiery. The sun blazes down on us with all his fierce splendour; a strong north wind blows, but even this is like the breath of a furnace, so heated is our continent of stone. We hope for thunder and rain. A little more of this would soon set me travelling; tho' as yet I know not at all whitherward. The Glen House can be had for nothing,—except the obligation, which indeed is perhaps something! I begin to find on the whole that I must give up my old5

We have heard nothing since of my mother; and should like very well indeed to hear! But they are lazy people, and leave us to our hopes