January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 30 June 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420630-TC-JCA-01; CL 14: 211-212


Chelsea (Thursday!) 1 july [30 June] 1842

Dear Jean,

I have been scribbling along in a most confused way all week, making out lists &c of my Cromwell Parliament, which have quite stupefied me, and disgusted my mind with all writing whatsoever:1 otherwise I should have sent you a word in fulfilment of my promise sooner. The two Jeannies called upon your Miss Grierson about a week ago; they found her well and thriving; in good heart, a likely Scotch Lass; the chief thing that seemed to press upon her “The want of a language,”2 for she was getting out of Scotch and had not yet got fully into English! She has not to work too hard, gets to bed at 10 rises at 5; and then the busy season will be over in a few weeks now. In short they report every way favourably of her; as of one likely to prosper in her object here. Jane speaks of asking her to come down some Sunday Evening; but did not know whether at bottom that would do anything for her. However, I wish you would apprise the young woman very distinctly of our address, and also of the fact that if ever any difficulty occur for her, or any service that we could do, she is thoroughly welcome to all help of ours, and invited to come and let us know.

Your Note about Scotsbrig was very welcome: we had a Letter from my Mother herself not long before; with a postscript by Jamie and a Note from Alick inclosing the whole. I am much pleased with your project for Arbigland3 bathing in autumn, and hope you will insist of our good Mother going with you, for it will certainly do her good. I also embrace the Portrait project for the same occasion; and will leave the details of it all to James and the Limner Maxwell,4—and do hereby request him to see it done, in the best and truest way he can. Now mind this!—

My own work here is as untowardly as need be; but I do not give it up; I struggle on, and hope to see some good come of it one day;—as yet there is absolutely nothing above ground, and Heaven knows whether much below!— Jane continues, I think, to improve; tho' very slowly: she had a loss of sleep the night before last, headache in consequence, and is rather below par today. Our Summer is said to be the hottest and “beautifullest” these sixteen years: I get along wonderfully notwithstanding; I lower my green blinds; fly to the back of the house; above all, do not go out of doors in the hot blazing days till nightfall. I have passed no summer so solitarily for a long while; and I seem to agree with that plan. For the last three weeks, however, we have had and still have showers; and the weather is not at all unbearable with heat. John Sterling was here for a fortnight: he lugged me out somewhat, made us all go to Hampton-Court palace and picture-gallery &c:5 otherwise I live almost as silent as last year in the horrible dog kennel at Newby. My one aim, if I could attain it, is to get some more work out of myself!

There are some Books here which I am about sending to Annandale. James will get a cart of them;—the chief indeed is a Book of Wood-cuts long intended for himself. So soon as I have got the stock rightly put together, they shall go off to Edinburgh. My new Bookseller says he has a Parcel almost weekly thither.

Do you often write to Jenny? Keep your ear open to her, keep her in a state of freedom and readiness to speak with you; I doubt if she freely communicates with any other. Poor Jenny:—let her know always that whatever I can do is hers. She will gradually come to some resolution of her own, I hope: the sooner she entirely expunges Hanning from her recollection (if that were possible) will be the better!— Adieu dear Sister. Good be with you and your Husband and Bairns.

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle