1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JANET CARLYLE HANNING; 13 December 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18541213-TC-JCHA-01; CL 29: 215-216


CHELSEA, / 13 decr 1854.


I got a little newspaper from you yesterday; I had a short letter from you not long before; and newspapers come now and then, testifying that you go on without bad accident, which it is always a pleasure to us to know. I am kept very busy here, hunted about by confusions of which you can have little idea! However, I determine to write a word today, the first thing in the morning, let the rest of the day's work go as it will. Tho' I absolutely write no letter that can be avoided, this seems to me to be one that ought to be written.

I have not been in Annandale, nor anywhere away from home even for a day, since the last sad journey I made about a year ago … . I have been in poorish health, rather worse than you used to witness in me (but) not very much worse,—in fact the chief origin of it is, confusions of many kinds that have long been going on with “repairing of the house” here, (a very sad and almost endless business, as I find, not suitable to a thin skinned man), this with sorrows which you may judge of in part (irreparable losses in which you also have shared), and as the result of all, little or no visible progress possible for me in the work I have on hand, is the chief cause of my sicklier condition of late. Besides, it is certain enough I am getting old; nor do I forget that most serious fact: however, it is really wonderful how softly I am handled in that respect hitherto; only one of my eyes has yet given symptoms of failing; and except the dispiritment, and indeed the indifference, about most earthly things, I trace wonderfully little effect of age on me yet. I hope too, by obstinate persistence, to get on a little better with my tasks; and on the whole to improve a little by-and-by. Jane too continues much as you knew her; is subject to colds, &c., in winter time; but has generally better health,—I should say certainly not worse,—than she has been used to these thirty years now.

[“Then he goes into details of deaths and other events, among their brothers and sisters and other relatives and friends and neighbours she knew, and coming round to her affairs and her husband, Robert Hanning, he says:”] You need not doubt we are right glad to hear of Robert's steady industrious behaviour, and of your content with one another. The little lasses1 too will be growing apace. Try always to help him and them in all good things, dear Jenny: that you will find to be a great gain in the end. And take care of your health.

[“Then he gives news about the weather of late and says:”] That and the Turk War are what we mainly talk of. Give my ever-affectionate regards to Alick whom I have loved for near sixty years now! My blessings on you and your household, dear sister.

Yours ever, /