January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 1 July 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560701-TC-JCA-01; CL 31: 113-115


Chelsea, 1 july, 1856—

Dear Sister,

I must by no means let this post pass without a word to you: but nobody could guess what a deep well of confusions I am in (first with my work whh

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Jane Welsh Carlyle, by Robert Scott Tait, 1 July 1856.

Carlyle House, Chelsea.


Reproduced by permission of the National Trust.

has all misgone today, and secondly with impertinent blockheads bothering me from without, one waiting down stairs this some time, there lethim1 wait!)—so that I must again be brief in the extreme; brief, and not yet conclusive.

I am greatly obliged by your promptitude, and much taken with the picture you give of things at the Gill: in fact I have a strong leaning and eager tendency towards it; but dare not say I have resolved yet; only almost,—poor wretch that I am! I am so weak of body, grown weak of mind in such things; the distance, the &c &c. Nevertheless I almost do believe I shall come. Were the weather to become burning hot, as it might do any day, it wd start me up; but hitherto it has been good weather, and today has grown actually rather cold again.

In short I will write again in a day or two; and you need do nothing in the interim. I will try to make up my mind: sorrow, sorrow, why am I to go shifting and jumbling, and cannot help it, tho' I like it less than any man! There are a good few packthread complexities tied round a man in this world, and pegged into the earth,—which keep him well on his back, and at discretion to the world, for most part. Oh whow!— — But I will write no more today; another day soon, and more definitely then. Consider it fairly likely that I will indeed come; and so let it lie.

Jack has not been findable for a three days past: he came here last night; but then I in turn was out. Jane seems to be better a little; but the element (just at its noisiest now) is by no means wholesome. In two weeks hence, probably 50,000 foolish persons will have poured themselves out into the country, and other 50,000 will be thinking of it; and London will be much quieter!2

With kind love to all

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle