July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 19 January 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480119-TC-JCA-01; CL 22: 221-222


Alverstoke, Gosport, Hampshire 19 jany, 1848—

My dear Jean,

I got your Letter here yesterday; and will send you a few words in answer without delay. We were to have come in company, Jane and I, and have paid a visit of some three weeks or more to the people here,—the scene we were with, last year;—and Saturday gone a week was to have been the day of our arrival: for which accordingly we had made all preparation at Chelsea, and awoke (at least I did) in expectation to set out forthwith. But poor Jane had caught a sore-throat overnight, had a good deal of cold, and in fact was palpably unable to go. She liked very ill to break her engagement, but there was no help. Our trunks stood on the floor till Wednesday morning; she in the meanwhile considerably better, but still unable to go: on Wednesday it was resolved that I should set out by myself, she to follow, if she could. Here accordingly I have been ever since. She is now expected tomorrow, but not quite confidently; if she cannot come tomorrow, she purposes giving it up altogether. I think perhaps she had better! However, we shall see. I myself have done no good here hitherto; have caught a cold too, what is rather rare with me;—in fact, would as soon get home again immediately, which if Jane do not come, I purpose to do. We are a large party; full of spirits, given up to idleness; I am much too grave an object for finding my home in the like. Noises, flunkies, French-beds, and want of sleep answer very ill to me. One inference I can draw is not unimportant, tho' indeed it is not new: The total inutility of wealth to me, or properly to anybody. With one little maid, in our small mansion of Chelsea, what things are attainable which here I need not look for!—

I did not know there was any deficiency in the supply of F. Revolutions, or I would have supplied it. If your copy is dirty, it will not do; my Mother's, as I remember, is clean. Better give them in the way you mention, and if need be I will make good the defect by and by. Thank you, dear Jean, for sending that desk warmer to my Mother: it was precisely the kind of thing I wanted that day Jamie and I were at Dumfries; but I could not get it then.— I have written repeatedly to Scotsbrig, but no new tidings have arrived; we understand matters to be much as they were when you left. The bad weather is severe upon our poor old Mother in this unhealthy year: when the Sun gets out, I have good hope she will also.— Last night I sent off to her a Letter which had just come from Alick; which probably you will soon see. Nothing new from Alick; all in health; all seems to be going well with him. Jack has been very diligent in his attendance on Jane; his Book progresses, tho' slowly; when it is done, I think he will come to you.1— My fire is not yet lit here; I sit in my dressing-gown merely, in a dam[p]2 east-windy day. Better be off. I will write soon again. Your affectionate Brother

T. Carlyle