July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 26 October 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471026-TC-JCA-01; CL 22: 137-138


Chelsea, 26 Octr, 1847—

Dear Sister Jean,—You must think me an abundantly careless and unthankful man, in that I have never yet sent you the scrape of a pen1 since my parting with you, this day four weeks I think! The reason is not want of remembrance; but many other reasons,—of which we will put off no time with speaking at present. For one thing, I have been very busy for the last week, and today still am; nay further, Emerson the American Friend came upon us last night, and is now here,—nothing but talkee talkee;—for the rest, a very fine fellow, whom it is pleasant to talk with. He stays “till next week,” I dimly apprehend; then goes to Lancashire &c to lecture to all manner of Mechanics Institutes2 and the like. He is at this moment rummaging among my Books in this room, beside me; waiting till I have done writing to you!—

On Sunday or Yesterday you would get, instead of Douglas Jerrold who had grown to be quite detestable to me, the Weekly Times sent off direct by the Saturday's Post; in this, with much rubbish, I have occasionally found some preferable to anything one can get in Jerrold; this, unless James protest against it, shall be sent weekly in future, will arrive on Sunday. So much for that.

The Honeycomb,—alas, I must not forget to tell the fortunes of the honeycomb! Know then that the Tinbox with my improvement on it did not answer; that James' plan of soldering the Box is, and in all future cases shall be, the only effectual plan. There is a shake in these railways and express-trains, which jumbles everything to pieces. So I infer, no means could have saved the honeycomb from being broken quite small, and all jumbled into a crowdy [porridge] (if that had been any damage, as it is almost none); but by James's plan we might certainly have kept it all within the Box,—and as matters went, she leaked, my lassie; leaked about a matter of two pounds, we guessed,—but luckily only into some shirts and such like, mostly dirty ones too! All is right now: a couple of pounds of honey was what we lost, and the rest (wax and all, making an original but quite excellent mixture) is safe bottled into small gallipots; and we are eating the Article,—and truly it goes like reek[smoke], for better honey we never tasted in our lives! You may tell that to Mrs Dick, and to yourself, and take Jane's thanks for your kind trouble, which you see is not lost, after all. Adieu, dear Sister: the Paper is done, and E's patience too. Ever yours T. Carlyle