April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 22 November 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441122-TC-JCA-01; CL 18: 271-272


Chelsea, 22 Novr, 1844—

Dear Jean,

I have forgotten whether it was the 22d November (Martinmas,— opposite to Whitsunday) or the 22d December, that was Jenny's day for getting her little fraction of a £5 from me: but I am anxious to keep the day, both now and in future;—so pray tell me, if you can. In the meanwhile I have written to Jenny by this same post, to say that you will pay her the £5 whenever she demands it, for this year; and will tell me the precise day for next. Pray request James to attend to this. Punctuality is always beautiful; especially in a case like the present.

I do not send James any money, as yet, to make the payment with; because there is already an account against me, and I have other tatters and tagrags of money to send: My next request to you therefore, properly my first request of all is, To send me that Clothiers' Bill and all the other bills and concerns that I owe you, or that I can pay by your means. Jamie of Scotsbrig was directed to send his Account to you, more than once directed; but probably he has not done it. Do not stay for him therefore; send me what you have, and let me get the affair settled up. It hangs there like an ugly tatter which I desire to clip off.

We have had no direct Letter from you this long while; Jack sent us news from time to time which rather uncomfortably explained your silence. He reports now that the poor child is somewhat better, and your household more at rest again. May it continue; and perfect itself, this new state of matters!— As there is now no regular writing hand in your region to send us due accounts, I conclude you will have to take up the pen again, even tho' you be a little busy.

Jack is still with us, but goes into his new lodging tomorrow. He is still without work; very idle, indeed; but otherwise well. He cannot get to any work,—so he says always, and such really on one account and another is the fact: if any one could help him to a little work, it would be a real blessing to him, poor fellow!— He is not to go into his old lodging: the Landlady1 has kept him waiting all this while, upon some chance of turning out a new pair of lodgers she had got and did not altogether like,—but now she decides not to turn them off after all. His new place is fully nearer us than the old was; much quieter,—looking out into nurseries, over a very unfrequented kind of thoroughfare, not a street but a road at that part of it: and the people, we find, are partly known to us,—connected with very decent people whom we know. Most likely it will do very fairly.

As for myself I have had much ugly drudgery since I saw you, since I wrote to you; and still have,—tho' with bright blinks in it too! I have gathered most of Cromwell's Letters, Public Speeches, everything that survives of himself; washed it clean, with infinite toil and disgust, from the horrible stanks [stagnant pools] it has been lying hidden in for these hundred and fifty years or more;—and mean to set it out as a Book by itself, preparatory to whatever other Book I may find myself equal to about the man. This will soon be ready to publish when I like: two volumes, I think:—but I do not mean to be all at once in haste with this; till I see how the other shapes itself, a little more clearly!— No more of it at present. I have some hopes of getting the frightful job all done by & by: it will be a great deliverance to everybody!—

Jane is pretty well in spite of the damp cold. Send us word that the poor little child is better; that you are all well.— Ever your affectionate Brother, T. Carlyle