August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 5 May 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580505-TC-JCA-01; CL 33: 217-218


Addiscombe Farm, Croydon / 5 May, 1858—

My dear Sister,

We are out here for a few days of country air and quiet, which it was thought Jane might profit by, and I too: we came on Monday,1 and are doing very well hitherto;—are to stay till Monday next, and then take ourselves home again. I have my horse with me; and my principal utility here is to go riding with the hospitable Lord of the place, who is an excellent horseman but prefers company to solitude in his excursions thro' these beautiful neighbourhoods. Three hours of it aday we have; the rest of my time goes to idle reading, lounging, smoking,—with perhaps a Proofsheet whh had rather not wait till my return home. We are printing along without abatement of speed; and I still hope to see the end of it about the end of this month or shortly after. Which will be a welcome event indeed!—

The Country is beautful as May itself; this (about noon now) is one of the finest days I ever saw: all is beautiful here and around,—and all is very sad to me and others! It was yesterday gone a year that the presiding Genius2 of it was called suddenly away; and left a blank that will never be filled up to those that staid behind! It is the universal lot of man: what can we say? At the years I have now got to, the world is by necessity becoming a very vacant place.

Jack had got home from Edinburgh, before I left home; he had set up his staff at Scotsbrig again,—probably you have seen him, or may soon see. I was dreaming of some month or two months alternation between Scotsbrig and The Gill; but there had nothing been fixed; and the Doctor talked about some of the Watts3 being with him (perhaps having already come), whom of course I must not interfere with. I have yet fixed nothing, except that I must get away.

No good news yet, I fear, from Liverpool: it is impossible to get into a place if there are none discoverable. I pity poor Jim4 who is doubtless filled with anxieties and desire to be successful: I suppose you find it usefuller to preach patience than any other doctrine to the poor fellow. “Dinna tine heart; if thou tine heart, thou tines a’!”5 this was a parting speech I got from One who is not now here to speak to us.6 The echo of these words has many times come back on me. Good b'ye dear Jean. Your affectionate Brother T. Carlyle