The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 13 July 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400713-TC-JCA-01; CL 12: 189-190


Chelsea, Monday, 13 july / 1840—

Dear Jean,

Your second Letter1 is here this morn[ing. I] am, as you compute, very busy; I write no word of letter to anybody that I can help. I wrote to my Mother, since her Letter to you,—which I like right well to read, a nice little Letter! I have now written to Alick. This day I employed Jane to write to you; but she is out, somebody came to give her a drive; and I fear the Post will be over before her return. A poor Edinburgh lad,2 come here to push his fortune, has detained me above half an hour; it is 3 o'clock; my task not yet done;—you will put up with a very imperfect word from me!

I have wished to say, many times, that you should take the little girl down to Mary's, for some seabathing: I had, at bottom, nothing else to say. It is very gratifying to me that the poor little thing is better, and running about. But do not overlook the seabathing still, when a blink of good weather comes.

I am nearly finishing my Third Lecture. It is a work against the grain; yet I persist, out of a kind of superstition against giving anything up half done. We shall see what comes of it.— The Library does not cost me much fash: I stand out of the way of that, and leave others to manage it, who lie nearer it in place, who have more time than I.

My horse still gallops with me; but my liver is far from well! I think of giving up the horse; it is such an expense: however, I speculate always on having a ride into the country of England for a few days before parting with the quadruped. I can find no comrade, or I would set out at once, and try it; but whether, in the feckless humour one gets into as to all “amusements,” I shall be able to muster resolution for going by myself, is very dubious; yet still possible, or even not without probability.

There has been another Letter from the Doctor since this that I inclose; another longer one; I keep it for my Mother. Jack is well; rather melancholy of mood in his solitude; seems as uncertain as ever about what he is to turn to, continuing in that situation &c. He makes heaps of money; but nothing more; and that is not enough.3

Thanks for your news about Mary. I get seldom any full narrative from any but you. I wish you would tell me, if you know, how Alick gets on; and chiefly, what is the real state, progress or decrease, of that very sorrowful habit of his!4 Poor fellow: could one once know that he were done with that, one would have no fear for him; but with that—alas, one knows not what is not to be feared! Good at any rate, never came of it, nor will come. There is, as you may fancy, nothing connected with any one of you that afflicts me at all in comparison with this. But do not speak; there is evil, and no use, in speaking about such cases.

Jamie expects a Letter from me. I never can muster time,—time and energy together. My liver is not my friend. Ah me, I wish I were far out of this braying whirlpool; left to be quiet, to be quiet! By God's blessing that time will come perhaps.— I know not whether Scotland is to see me or not this year; but I still keep confidently hoping it.— Adieu dear Sister. Commend me to James, and then to all of them. Your affectionate

T. Carlyle