October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 9 November 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18451109-TC-JCA-01; CL 20: 47-48


Chelsea, 9 Novr, 1845—

Dear Jean,

I might as well have left you that imperfect Copy of the Cromwell Book; the delay in publication has been greater than I anticipated. However it is now about coming out; if all go right you will receive a big Packet in the early days of December, and one of the Copies for yourself, to read at your leisure in the winter time. They have advertised it to come out on the 22d of this month. They are getting a Portraitengraved,—which I fear will not do much for it; the Engraver seemed a very feckless creature when I went to overhaul him. What is still worse, you will find it a surprisingly dull Book;—and you and the Public must make up your minds for a piece of hard work in reading it, or else you will make nothing of it!—

I felt myself in rather good case when I arrived here, and so was Jane too: but the cold fogs came upon us unawares about a fortnight ago; and both of us, I first, caught an ugly dose of cold! Mine in a few days was subdued, and is now gone; but Jane has not got off so easily; a troublesome little dry cough still hangs about her occasionally, tho' she is otherwise pretty well, and that too is going. Our climate about this season is very bad; dirty fogs with eastwind seem to me far worse than rain itself. We have now however got westerly airs again; and the weather, for November, is beautiful;—only great apprehensions of scarcity are justly entertained. The Potatoes are clearly a failure everywhere; and food will infallibly be scarce.

No work, or anything deserving the name, is likely to come out of me for a great while yet! I do nothing hitherto but read a little; and “dauner [stroll] about.” Nay on Friday or Saturday next we are to set off for our visit to the South Coast: great folks, very kind to us, and extremely rational wealthy people;—they promise me “a horse, and all manner of nice things”; and the winter climate I believe is the best or one of the best in England, a thing that may be very useful, especially for Jane. How long we shall be able to stand it, is not settled yet; so long as it is pleasant; and that will depend on several things,—on my going idle, or being allowed fairly to work a little, for one thing!— If you hear no more, you suppose us to be there on Saturday next;—the place is near Portsmouth, close by the seashore, a mile or two from the Isle of Wight; about 70 miles, by railway, from this. You will write to us there by and by; the Address is T.C. &c / Hon. W. Bingham Baring / Bay House / Alverstoke / Hants/.—

The Doctor is very busy, working at a Translation of Dante. A long job: but now that he has got fairly fastened, I think he will complete it, and it may be really good for something,—better than nothing, as I say! Good be with you, dear Jean.

Ever your affectionate

T. C.

Will you tell Mr Aird that we have his Book,1 with many thanks; and are travelling thro' it in the evenings.