1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 30 June 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540630-TC-JCA-01; CL 29: 121-122


Chelsea, 30 june, 1854—

My dear Jean,

I think it is you that are in debt on the Letter account at present; but I have been thinking to send you a word for some days past, reflecting how much more convenience I have for writing than you,—when, last night, the inclosed Letter from Alick was brought me (by post, so busy is our Doctor, or so disposed for writing Notes, at ¾ of a mile distance!)1 with order to forward it to you,—and from you to Grahame the owner of it. Read then; and despatch when you have done. Poor Alick is very sombre of mood,2 as indeed some others of us may be; but otherwise mostly well, and going on well.

As for us here, we have no news at all; nothing that is worth speaking of, much less writing;—in fact, I am in a lowish kind of way, in very many sad respects, I for one; and cannot get my work forward at all at all; therefore may be said to have no comfort; for, in truth, the one satisfaction I could have in the world, and the one sure defence and amends amid perversities whatsoever, is at present denied me, do what I may! However, I persist in endeavouring, and will persist while life is left: perhaps some other day you may still hear some better tidings from me? We shall see. The truth is, I have not strength of nerves, nor fire of heart left at present to subdue those horrid masses of lumber, and wring out of them what their available essence is: that would be “work,” my “Work” itself; and I should then be quiet under every rebuke, and make no complaint more. But we are not there yet; we are a pretty way off that yet, I doubt!—

Meanwhile the raging Town will, in a three weeks, empty itself of about 150,000 idle noisy people; and I look forward to sensible increase of quiet; which will be a real blessing. I do not mean to stir away at all; “Home, stay at home, and hold your peace as much as possible!” that I find to be the great wisdom for me.— Poor Jane is very weak and sleepless in the hot weather,—which is not yet come to the hottest: today we have an airy sunny day, which has issued in thunder abt this hour (4 p.m.), but does not seem to bring rain. I sit always up aloft here, in my new garret; and shall get it made a good workshop by and by,—if I had once experienced and studied it all.— John and his Household are well and cheery; we give or get a brief visit in the evening oftenest. They are extremely busy fitting out their Boy, a fine smart little fellow, who is to sail tomorrow:3 they will then be more enjoyable a little. Jane whispers me most interesting news about Phoebe,4—which I am heartily glad of, for poor Jack's sake, if it prove all right! Husht, husht!— Adieu I will write soon again. Yours ever T. Carlyle