TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 5 September 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550905-TC-JCA-01; CL 30: 57-58
TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN
Addiscombe Farm, Croydon / 5 Septr, 1855—
My dear Jean,
You will take a little word from me, in defect of more; and not grudge to learn how I am going on here. Your Scotsman Newspaper arrived yesterday morning, and brought you direct into my sight again. This morning comes the Courier; which has got itself readdressed for Canada without being much looked into.
I think I told you it was on Thursday Evg last week that we came out hither; Jane by rail, I riding privately on a nice little Ho[r]se1 Neuberg had lent me. We arrived within few minutes of each other; got fire raised, lights kindled, excellent tea made; and the business fairly started. Jane had several arrangements and negociations, next day,—idle truck of Housemaids &c, “unable altogether to cook,”—but she settled it all with her customary glegness; and seeing the thing now fairly in motion, went off home again on the Sunday morning preferring Chelsea with its resources of company and the like to these vacant solitudes: indeed she had slept very ill poor soul; and could hardly get any right sleep here at all in spite of the dead silence. She has been out again to see how my affairs were going on; staid only a night; will return when my provisions threaten to run low, and procure me more,—probably about monday next. Poor little soul! She has a heavyish burden too in this world, but struggles along with wonderful toughness, and does not in general make complaint about it.
There is store of Books here; some Books belonging to my work, which I use this opportunity of consulting or reconsulting: no limits to my reading if I incline to go on that tack. But riding and exercise I esteem to be the real problem; I ride between two and three hours every day, thro' beautiful silent country roads and lanes, well shaded with trees, yellow stubble on this hand of me and on that, intermixed with green meadows (getting mown a second time, summer hay having been so scant), and leading out into queer old straggling brick hamlets, and beautiful expanses of wild green, where my horse is willing to stretch himself into a bit of gallop. My solitude is total; my thoughts are manifold,—not by any means all of a joyful nature! Ah no: last time I was here, there was one subject of anxiety which has now fallen quite to rest; I think of that, and of all manner of cognate objects, with a strange tenacity, a strange exclusiveness,—as if Death and Eternity were the one great fact of this Universe; which, in a sense, they are. I do not weep any more these many long years: but there are thoughts that far exceed tears in sadness. Let us stand to our work, and see that our work is honest: there is no other remedy; and that, under Heaven's goodness, is remedy enough.
Jack was to sail, as you know, on Saturday evg; to be in Hamburg on Tuesday morning, if all went right. I fear he must have got windy weather, but I think too there could be nothing worse than a good fit of sea-sickness for him in it, and this might be no mischief in the end. I hope we shall hear of him still perhaps within the week.— — Keep yourself quiet, dear Jean; and be of good heart. My affectionate regards to James and all the rest. Ever your Brother
Today I send the Magazine2 too, as I hope you will see.