August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 23 August 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420823-TC-JCA-01; CL 15: 39-41


Chelsea, (Tuesday) 23 Augt, 1842

My dear Jean,

Your two Notes have successively come; at their due times: thanks to you for them. I also saw Jack's the day after it arrived; Jack himself I have seen twice since then. It appears, by the best guess I can make, that this may find you with my Mother at Gill on Thursday; you will all get my little scantling of news or no-news at once.

Jack instantly took measures with me about Jenny's money. This very day, I suppose, he will send off £5 for her to your care at the Dumfries Post-Office; it is most likely lying there at the time you read this; you will of course send the money down [to Jenny at] the first chance. We agreed o[n his paying this su]m at present, to make the matter straight [between hi]m and me. We had some consulting about what would be the right annual sum to send; we thought about £4 a quarter, £16 a year, to be sent regularly at the four quarter-days of the year (equinox, solstice, mid-winter) might be the fit sum; but we want your advice still; and will have you to consider and say. It is impossible to get much light out of Jenny herself; for she, with a very natural modesty, holds back: but you with my Mother can consult together, and, without consulting her at all, advise us. Four pounds a quarter is something under a shilling a-day; if you think more will be of real service to her, say more. But doubtless it would be her chief blessing if she could get something of her own to do withal; and a motive ought to be left her for that. It seems to me she will be best entirely in an establishment of her own, under a roof of her own: this she ought to contemplate as the season draws round. Of Rob1 I do not think she will ever get more good: it would be well if she could entirely forget his existence; but this, of course, she will not be willing to do till she herself see farther. Pray encourage her, poor little thing. Tell her, in the meanwhile, that she is not to take it up in the way of pride; there is no instruction for one in pride: this is a real humiliation and disappointment,—as such she must accept it: but it is an innocent humiliation for her (which few are); and a worthy and honourable life, if she have worth (which is now to be tried), still lies before her in this world.— Preaching indeed is oftenest useless in such cases; therefore I will not preach any more: but recommend the good little creature to the good affection and help of us all, by what means soever we have it in our power to help.

The day after I saw Jack's Letter, I addressed a small message to Hawick with a draft of two sovereigns as a gift to our poor suffering Aunt Tibbie. It now appears she had already got beyond all earthly suffering and earthly help; and would not know that any friend was caring for her even so far, in this quarter. Well; her heavy burden is done; borne to the end without help of mine. Poor Tibbie; her death is very sad to me: my Mother will be much grieved;—but long sorrows and many losses have taught her to bear patiently one other sorrow and loss. Living or Dead we are all present with the Most High God: a little while, and we shall all be on one side of the veil, and no Death can divide us farther any more! Poor Hugh:2 one is sorry for him too. I told them to write to my Mother; that they need not write to me any acknowledgement, for I should soon hear round by Scotsbrig.— —

We are moderately well and busy here; tho' suffering sadly from heat now and then. Last week is of a truly West-Indian temperature: so much the better for the harvest,—for the Poor among others. They are getting quiet at Manchester, I believe: what else can they do?

Jane still continues in Suffolk; seems to get on