The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 6 December 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501206-TC-JCA-01; CL 25: 304-305


Chelsea, 6 decr, 1850

Dear Jean,

You are all very kind, to run about looking for scope to my whims and schemes. By this same post I had a Letter from the Doctor, reporting to the same effect as you, but more in detail, about Kelton, Cargenholm &c.— It is clear that there is nothing in the least like suiting me but the lease of that thing you call “Drungun's Lodge,”—if I read you right?1 Pausing on the Brig of Cargen that day of my walk, I very well remember seeing to my right, on the south bank of the Cargen, perhaps 3/4 of a mile off, a not too brilliant white-looking House among woods; a narrowish Cart-Lane (just across the Brig) leading towards it along the course, or rather up the course, of the Cargen. That is Dungun then? The rent, at £20, with a field or “park,” is what surprises me! Really if there is a habitable house, of any capability at all, to be had on these terms, it seems to deserve a little consideration.

Will James, at his leisure, examine this Place a little farther; let us know more correctly what rooms, and of what size, &c &c there are in it; what the “park” is;—and how it comes that a place of that kind is to be let for such a rent. A £20 were well worth paying annually to have a quiet sleeping room, do sitting room, and convenience for boiling a porridge-pot, to fly to in extremity! Our old drunken Landlady of this House, it appears, is suddenly dead; whereupon, as we understand, the House falls into the hands of Attorneys and money-lenders; so that it is very likely we shall have to lift anchor out of this at any rate. Tell us about this shelter on the Cargen!— In seasons when I get very ill, it seems to me there ought no cause whatever to detain me in this noisy captivity; then again, when I get better any day, and reflect what I possess here, and cannot hope to attain or attempt in any country place,—abundant Books, total freedom from the question of money-income, power to choose my society from the best of the kingdom and even to be proud (rather than otherwise) of being and continuing poor among them, and flunkeyless and carriageless among so many flunkies and equipages,—I feel as if it would be very rash to cut London, too. And so one wavers hither and thither; and is a fool,—and unable to carry his sick liver with perfect propriety! Tell us about this Drungan's at any rate,—and write the name plain, for one thing.

Hogg wrote and Beard wrote; and to cut the thing short, Jane and I went, and it is done, and I suppose now fairly got to hand in Edinr The ugliest of Portraits, and angry as a Hyaena; the foolish creature wouldn't let me sit as I wished, but insisted on having my head perked up &c:—Jane says it is “extremely like” withal!— — Adieu, dear Sister. Ys ever

T. Carlyle.