The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 22 April 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510422-TC-JCA-01; CL 26: 66-67


[22 April 1851]

Boys at Scotsbrig, whom he means to instruct a little; and I have written that there is none here, but that I wd directly write to you to try. If you can find any one of the books mentioned, buy it (half-price for the two first will perhaps be 5 /, for the two last 3 / 6 or so) and despatch for Scotsbrig: if you find none, write to John what Book it is he wd prefer of those on sale in your shops, and buy that at once,—marking the price to me. It is a thousand pities the poor Boys should hang fire for want of a mere book.

On coming to London, I gave M'Kinnel (or M'Kie was it?)1 a big box of such Books and could never see money for them: but these are all vanished now; and I think the poor slut of a Mac is himself vanished!— Do not delay about this thing: and so let it be off our hands.

I am as you surmise, not very busy here just now; but I still keep poking up and down: some day or other all faithful poking turns to account,—when once one finds the Head of the Spring;—and in the meantime patience is much to be recommended! I do not yet know, and indeed hardly care, whether I shall print Sterling's Life at present: but it will be decided soon now.

We have had the fiercest easterly cold, then suddenly (till Sunday last) bright summer and all the fruit-tree blossoms out; yesterday again there began a rain, and for 30 hours in a slow briefly intermittent manner, continues still! Pitter, patter: all is dim mud and clammy wet;—but it keeps the streets incomparably quieter; and, with gutta-percha and bad clothes, worth enduring for that benefit. Poor Jane, unfortunately, sits with headache, not being able to get out at all.2

Adieu dear Sister: I really must try for some semblance of work before 3 o'clock come, and it is coming, coming!— Give my kind regards to Aird; John Gordon was here lately, hardly changed at all since you knew him. Good be with you, dear Jean, and with all that is yours!— T. Carlyle