August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 30 December 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18571230-TC-JCA-01; CL 33: 142-143


Chelsea, 30 decr, 1857—

Dear Jean,

Here is a small Newyears remembrance of many years we have now passed in a brother-and-sisterly regard of one another; a favour of Heaven, I do acknowledge and believe, to both of us, so long as Heaven is pleased to continue it to us! May you have yet many years “to see good” in this world;—or as poor Edward Irving was wont to put it, [“]May the worst of our years be past!”1 Some of them have been deep-ploughed with sorrow, of late: but in that too there may be a blessing; that too is the universal lot of man;—and we must not complain.

I am holding on here; health still holding out; goal still a good way ahead of me,—“faint, yet pursuing.”2 As to health I really think it is, if anything, fundamentally better than when you saw me last,—thanks to the 2,000 miles or more I must have ridden since, in pursuit of that object! Nothing can be more constant than I have been in that way; and at this season, in these cold desolate twilights, amid the roar of chaotic London and its environs, it is a kind of virtue to hold out in it.— I have this day been setting about arrangements to send off my Horse for a couple of months into the Country,—turn him loose, shoeless, and make me rid of him, till the days lengthen, especially till the slippery frosts go! My remembrance of last winter and its glassy conveniences for the horseman in these parts, is so distressing, I cannot stand another bout of it, & am minded to walk till February or March.

The Book goes slowly, but it does not stick: if I can stand to it, there will come the end. Jane is still moving about; but very frail; so ill off for Sleep always,—quite missing, one night out of two or three; and never getting the due quantity, not to speak of quality at all. Yet she is very cheerful, when at all left unbrashed; and has a wonderfully tough spirit.— — Since I began writing there has this Note come from Jack, whh I may inclose.

My kindest regards to James, and to all the young Branches of the Family-tree. My blessing be on you all, if my blessing be good for anything!

Your affectionate Brother

T. Carlyle