October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 18 February 1834; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18340218-TC-JCA-01; CL 7:99-100.


Craigenputtoch, 18th February 1834.

My dear Jean—

I will with great pleasure lend you any Book I have; on one condition, which I doubt not you would prescribe to yourselves, that they be kept free from dirt and damage. Nothing is more gratifying than to afford so useful an accommodation so easily, to any one that will employ it; much more to a Brother and a Sister. On the other hand few things vex a methodical character more than thumb-marks when the volume returns: spot of grease, above all, seems to deserve death without benefit of clergy!

I have sent you to-day: Holcroft's Memoirs, 3 vols.; Mackintosh's England, I vol.; Marmaduke Maxwell, I vol.; Young (for Sundays too), I vol.;1 Two Magazines: of the latter kind there are whole barrowfuls here; but it may be questioned whether they will profit you much.— When you want more, let me know. On the whole I am very glad that you and James take to reading in leisure hours: leisure, of which every mortal has some, cannot in any other way that I know of be so profitably employed. If one do not read, wherefore can he read?

We are going on here in the common way; nothing new except the favourable change of the weather. I have many Books about me, many Thoughts in me: if not happy, may hope to grow happier.

If Alick come to-morrow, you can give him that Letterkin; if not, you can commit it to the Lockerbie Carrier (whose name I forget), or to any other conveyance you think better.

Mary tells me our Mother is well; but there seems to be no kind of settlement made yet, or capable of being made, which I regret, but do not yet see means of mending.2

I know not exactly when I shall be down; but probably it will not be very long.— Commend me to James.— I am, ever your Brother,

T. Carlyle.