January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 20 April 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590420-TC-JCA-01; CL 35: 81-82


Chelsea, 20 April (Wedy) 1859

Dear Jean,

Don't make me those beneficent Flannel-shirts: I have at present not the least need of them, having already a stock for winter, and a do for summer, all quite fit for their function; besides you could not (without the linen or cotton model, whh poor Jane has locked by) have any possibility of fitting me with that uncertain material;—and, alas, my poor Missus is far indeed from being able to help you in it just now!

She is close in her bed, with a Doctor watching over her,—rather sensible kind of man, who comes daily, and gives little or no medicine, but prescribes food (or attempts at food), and above all things, absolute silence and the steady endeavour to give a chance for rest.1 He does not seem alarmed about her general state; but says that of all the patients he has had she is the most excitable, and is so weak in bodily respects that she amazes him. As weak as an infant, poor little soul; and loaded daily (not in these days only) with such a burden of suffering; whh she bears without quarrelling with it more!—Yesterday I did not see her except once, so strict was her order for seclusion.2 She sleeps very little, but not absolutely none; it is the same with her eating.—I flatter myself, and the medical man flatters me, with the hope of seeing her fairly on the mending hand (as indeed, we hope she already intrinsically is) in the course of a few days more.

I myself have a good deal of cold; but I bathe, go riding &c: and, tho’ with more pain than usual, do not feel more feckless or overclouded. Could I but get on with my Affair, whh is my one excuse for continuing in the world (as I often feel in my grim moods)! But of course one has not a very fair field, as you see:—the clearer one's duty to make the best use of what field there is!—Let me to work therefore!

Cressfield House is already occupied.3 The thing we might want in that kind would be a good tight lodging place (no great size requisite), among wholesome green quietudes; near friends, near shops, and capable without much bother of furnishing milk &c in abundance, and keep (and especially groomage) for a Horse. Both of us depend on the Horse, either saddled or else yoked. Near Dumfries, I shd say,—some of those woody Hillsides behind Cargen,4 or the like? Sea is as nothing to the above indispensabilities. Alas, we can stand no bother; we are not now called to be anxious abt money, but in all other respects we are fallen lower than before.— Enough, if you do hear of anything suitable, look into it a little. That is all we can do. Adieu, dear Sister Ever your Affecte T. Carlyle