January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 17 March 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430317-TC-JCA-01; CL 16: 89-90


Chelsea, Friday, 17 March / 1843—

Dear Jean,

Here is another little Note, written in a small minute which I have been able to snatch from the general gulph; for I am still kept incessantly busy, and have no time at all to spare, of late days. Our Printers are hard at work; and I think have now about the fourth part of their job done: perhaps the worst with them is over, which generally is the getting of them fairly set under way,—in the way they are to travel. But I have also had a good deal of fash [trouble] with certain Copyists; persons, namely, that I had to get in great haste to copy a portion of the Manuscript for the use of the Americans; to prevent a certain ‘free and enlightened citizen’ there from stealing the Publication of the thing from me. In short, I am and shall be kept in a perpetual fike [fidget] till this business be off my hand: I send you a printed leaf to shew what kind of look it is like to have;—and will say no more about it at present.

The other day I had a letter from John Carlyle, our half-brother in Canada:1 poor fellow, he does not explain much of his situation; but writes in an affectionate manner; and does seem to be busy and in health, and making the way about as long as the day, in a tolerable manner. His first Farm-lease is out; but he has taken another Farm, and planted himself there, about 5 miles from the old place,—his former address still serving. He says he has not money enough to buy a cleared Farm; and his sons rather incline “to be mechanics” than farmers.2 I sent the Letter over to Jack, and he was to forward it to Alick.— Alick seems to have made up his mind to quit his present business at Ecclefechan; but nothing other that is satisfactory hitherto suggests itself to him. Poor Alick, I wish greatly he could fall into something: but I cannot give him any advice; indeed nothing but his own choice could give him a fair chance in whatever enterprise he took to. A small Farm might suit him: but I doubt there is none attainable in your part of the world at present.

Jane keeps tolerably well; and now we have got sunshine again too, beautiful spring weather. Our servant Helen is about to bundle; she has long been discontented, very useless, inclined to insolence withal; so yesterday she was finally apprised to make ready. Jane thinks a good successor may be procured from Liverpool, by aid of her cousins. We can do either way, for a while, as it is not our expectation or purpose to continue thro' the summer here, but to flit somewhither towards the sea-coast.

Jenny I suppose is come up to you by this time: give her my kind regards, and encourage her to write again. Sucess to James at Thornhill.3 Sucess to you too! I hope to hear good news by and by.——— Jack was here, as usual, on Sunday: all well and cheery. Adieu dear Sister. Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle