The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 28 May 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500528-TC-JCA-01; CL 25: 82-83


Chelsea, 28 May, 1850—

Dear Jean,

I had imagined you were in my debt; and so was taking no thought. At all events I see they have been remiss in sending you news from Scotsbrig; for I have written very diligently to that quarter of late,—to that quarter, and I think to no other.

My work does not prosper with me at all in these days; indeed nothing prospers with me, my health least of all,—and I seem to be climbing with terrible toil, and expenditure of my last strength, a steep hill of sand, whh continually slidders down with me again!1 The truth is, my liver and stomach and whole inside machinery is far out of order; which aggravates every other distress and confusion (and I have my own private share of these too) to a very sorrowful [de]gree; and I have got nothing that [seem]s so wholesome for me to do (I often think) as rigorously to hold my tongue (not spuing my reek in the face of anybody, but burning it myself, as a good machine ought), and to speel away, if I made but an inch daily!— The June Pamphlet is done some time ago; and the July one shall be done too,2—for I am nothing like beaten yet;—and if I live at all, I mean to do three or four more; and not wind up till I have ended, for all the dogs in the town. But after that, I do purpose flying away to some quieter country (uncertain whe[re] yet), and actually lying down to have a long rest, whatever become of it. And so you must wish me speed; and expect I shall get thro': if you had help otherwise, I know it wd be mine; but alas you have not, nobody has!— Alas, alas, how easy wd life be, and always have been, if one's poor clay case were like other people's! But it is not so; can't be so; and it will not alter for prayer or scolding of mine.

Jack came on Sunday,3 as I suppose he tells you in this Note. He seems brisk and well; is going off with Ay Sterling this evening (I believe) to see Epsom Races tomorrow. I do not know what his farther plans are.— No “newspaper” came along with your [letter] or since. Here is a sovereign (at the [bac]k) for poor Mary Grier;4 give it her gradually as you see need.

Jane says, “Why doesn't she (i.e. you) write to me, who always answer at once?”— — We rejoice in poor Tom's progress:5 I believe he will be a clever fellow yet, of one kind or other. He has fire and strength in him, poor dumb soul, to char his way thro' many a thing.— — Kind regards to Jemmy; take care [of our] Mother. Adieu dear Jean. Ys ever / T. Carlyle