1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 14 March 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540314-TC-JCA-01; CL 29: 49-50


Chelsea, 14, March, 1854—

Dear Sister,

I yesterday got, from Scotsbrig, these Canada Letters, which I think you have not seen: I send them at any rate; and after you have done with them, you can send them on to Mary. They contain little, but on the whole nothing that is not favourable, except that hurt or illness of Alick's youngest boy,1 of which I had heard nothing before. I conclude indeed that there has been one Letter of his and Jenny's,2 to somebody or other about Annandale, which I have never seen; Letter written in answer, namely, to the sad tidings I sent from Scotsbrig while there? To myself there has come nothing of reply, except the little yellow fraction of Newspaper-cover, which I likewise send,—and which came only two days ago, tho' it seems to be (by the Newspaper itself) to be3 of a fortnight earlier date.— Poor souls, they are all toiling on, yonder; and we must all toil on!— While Time yet is!

I got your Letter in due season, and gave it many welcomes; I have been a little busier (perhaps); and always put off answering, having really nothing articulate to say. I never was more quiet, since I came to London; keeping far away from all the idle babbles, and rumours of Turk war and other nonsense, in whh indeed I cannot be said to take the least interest: alas, I have a very heavy packet of accounts to settle within my own mind, and need all my industry twice over to get tolerably thro' these, if I ever do get! Last night an Anonymous Lady writes to me from Paris, at great length and with much earnestness, That I must immediately get converted to her way of religion, or that I shall infallibly be &c &c. Nine tenths of the Letters I receive are of an equally engaging nature to me. The remaining tenth, those that do need answer, I answer with uncommon brevity,—growing ever briefer! One becomes like a kind of lighted lantern, against which all the dark owlets in Creation are liable to come flapping;—can't be helped.

Our weather is much improved; and we with it: Jane herself is now on foot again. We are to have a final Papering of that famed upper room (Painting is done long since, and well): I think of shifting up thither, as the sun strengthens: it is really a fine roomy quiet place, light as day (from the top); and indeed the whole house is now a very good one for us.— Jack does not write much lately;—does not fasten upon Dienbie4 (I fear); we heard by a side channel that they calculate on being up here in April coming.— Adieu dear Sister: here has “Darwin”5 come, Jane out, and I must run down stairs.— Good be with you all ever

T. Carlyle