August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 24 October 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421024-TC-JCA-01; CL 15: 144-145


Chelsea, 24 Octr, 1842

Dear Jean,

Thanks for your new Letter; yours are almost the only articulate tidings I get out of Scotland now. We have yet no word from the Doctor; but imagine he must be thro' Liverpool by this time, and in his old moorings again. I have been wae these two days to think of our Mother's sorrow at parting with him. But we should rather be thankful at meeting than wae at parting,—if we were wise and humble in this world! Having now got the correct money account, I enclose a draught to pay it. James will get cash for it by shewing himself on Wednesday (the day after tomorrow) at the proper Bank. The net sum I owed him seems to be £6.11.6: there is here a sovereign more for Sister Jenny which she must accept of me; and also Sixpence for my esteemed friend, James Aitken the Second, to purchase peeries [spinning tops] with, the villain!— Many thanks to all of you for your successful assiduity and punctuality.

Our Mother's Picture continues to be praised by everybody; some of them much better judges of pictorial talent than we. James could not of course deliver that message about the whiskey: but I really do lament much that a talent like this should drown itself there!

The Frame-maker talked of tomorrow (“tuesday next,” was his phrase) for the Frame; but we hardly look for him till towards the end of the week. Jane bargained with him for £3, and seemed to approve very well of his workmanship and proposed pattern. It was very lucky indeed that we did not frame at Dumfries.

No better success attends me as yet in my writing endeavours: but if I can keep myself at it, the thing must and will, and also shall, take fire at last! When I think of the misery a man has in doing any kind of true work whatever (were it only making a pair of shoes truly, instead of falsely), I say often. Let no honest workman expect complete payment, or so much as grumble about the want of it.

The hand of the Quack is heavy on me even here on this paper! I can now get no paper here anywhere on which a man can write otherwise than abominably. It is not made of true rags, it is made of lime and size. An emblem of too many things and persons,—fast breaking down in one huge mass of ruin in these very times. “Come out of her my friends!”1 Let us have no part or lot in all that accursed concern; whether it stand or fall, let us stand wide from it!——— Jane has got rid of her cold again, and sends you kind salutations. Adieu dear Sister

Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle

One stroke on the Newspaper next Wednesday will signify “all right” for me, till you have more time.