The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 18 May 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400518-TC-JCA-01; CL 12: 146-147


Chelsea, Monday, 17 [18] May / 1840—

Dear Sister Jean,

You have not heard a word direct from me, nor have I from you, or indeed from any one out of Annandale, since this lecturing began. I know not whether they sent you the Examiner over from Scotsbrig as I desired, to let you see that we had begun, and were going on prosperously?

The Newspapers, which held their peace about us altogether at first, seem disposed now to commence reporting; now when it can do no good, but only mischief. Here is a thing called Tablet, a Paper just started, which contains my first Lecture; for which reason I send it you. They have the second ready, they tell me; but I have put a prohibition on it,—meaning to set forth the thing myself, in some shape, by and by. To a like effect I have prohibited the Morning Chronicle; they too had “the Lectures all in a state of forwardness”; I told them they were not to publish any, at this late date of the work,—unless it were the First Lecture which stood here already reported in this Tablet.1 The Second, and others, I would either publish for my own behoof, or let them lie unpublished,— Had they begun at the very starting of the business, there might at least have been some shadow of likelihood of their benefiting me by it; but now there is none,—therefore “Stop!” say I. And indeed it could have been but a “shadow of likelihood,” I think; for at the very starting we were more numerous considerably than ever, and something like 70 or 80 have joined us since,—which proves once again the small use there is in all that fluff of Newspaper work, and how, for practical purposes, nobody or very few have any belief in it.— What you are to do with this Tablet however is to read it; and instantly despatch it to my Mother with instructions to send it over to Jack, and notice that we are going on right, and have only two days more till we be done with it now. Do not neglect this, the sending straightway of a little Note to my Mother! You can inclose this, if there be no better way. James will write on a proper slip of paper the Dr's Irish address, and inclose that too; so that they will have nothing to do, but wrap it on, put two wafers in it, and consign it to Postie. This is all; attend to this.

Did the Miscellany Books come? I infer so from the silence of all parties; I think you would have written had there been any mistake.

Not a word from the Doctor these ten days; tho' just at present he must be making some new arrangements. He hinted at its being likely he would quit. We shall hear soon.— My own manifold schemes, business &c &c after this week! At present I but bid Good be with you, and thankfulness along with me that I am again nearly thro' this horrible thing, in a creditable manner! My health does not grow worse; nay now that the steam is up, I feel as if I were much better. Bless you all, bairns!

Yours ever /

T. Carlyle