January 1835-June 1836

The Collected Letters, Volume 8


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 18 February 1836; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18360218-TC-JCA-01; CL 8:302-304.


5. Cheyne Row Chelsea / 18th feby 1836—

My dear Jean,

I must write you a brief word tonight; and very brief it must be, considering what O'clock we are at.

The day your Letter came, I proceeded to make inquiries about Corrie's1 Kinsman. As you would notice by the Newspaper, I found out both that he had been here, and that he was here no longer. Archdeacon Corrie,2 it was told me, is a most worthy man, who has done much good in India; in consequence of which they have justly made him Bishop Corrie, and he sailed, with that title, to Madras, last july, where he must be arrived before now. It appears farther that he has two Brothers in this country (both in the English Church; one of them at Oxford3) and also a Sister, who was with him in India, and is now married at Leamington in Warwickshire.4

If Corrie still think it worth while to write to the Bishop, it can still be done; tho' Dumfries is now as near him as London is. Mr Clyde or Mrs Clyde5 could easily perform it for him; the address will be: “The Right Revd Bishop Corrie of Madras, India”; and the Postmaster will easily explain how it can be sent.— It strikes me that poor Corrie will not do this; and yet that perhaps he ought. I would have written myself to one of these English Corries, had I known any particular that I could distin[ct]ly specify; but except the name “John Corrie of Braehead”6 (somewhere in Nithsdale, as I guess), there was nothing I could found a question on. I ought to know the name of the Bishop's Father7 and in or near what Parish or District he and the old man of Braehead8 dwelt (the approximate dates &c &c were also good): I could then ask this English Corrie, “was your Brother the Bishop such and such a man, that made inquiry about &c?9 In that case I have to answer that there is a John Corrie, so and so situated; and leave you to impart the same to your Brother, and do what else is good.”— I rather incline to think it will still be worth while for me to do this; the rather if poor Corrie grow unwell, and get into straits.10 I am truly sorry to hear he is threatened that way; pray advise him, aid him, all that you can. If it be judged expedient then, send me these facts (the names and Parishes, at all events; the person's name of whom the Archdn made inquiry, and when he made it, were also usefu[l]); and I will most willingly write.11 Tell Corrie this; and charge him well to take care of himself, and good may yet await him. Drink, above all things, as the detestablest invention of Satan ever sent to this Earth, I do hope he avoids, and will forever avoid, as the poison of body and soul. Poor fellow! But he must get strong again, and recover himself out of this sickliness first of all.

I have just been writing to Alick. The note James sent on the Paper was very sorrowful for me; I had not minded your announcement (tho' it now seems there was one) that the poor little creature was ill. It will be a sore grief to both of them; I remember the poor little lassie well, and reflect (as one does in those cases) that the little figure of her has vanished mysteriously fr[om t]his Earth forever.— To my Mother I must send a small scrape of the pen tomorrow. I know not rightly where she [is] at present; most probably about Annan.— Jane kind[ly] salutes both James and you; she is rather better than she was[.] Thomas Carlyle's12 hand was on the back of the last Letter: pray give him my kind remembrances, and tell me (or bid him tell me himself) how he gets on. Above all, let him be a good B[oy.] [page torn] always (my dear Sister) with affection,— T. Carlyl[e]