The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART ; 26 October 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401026-TC-JGL-01; CL 12: 300


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, / 26 October, 1840—

Dear Mr Lockhart,

In reference to one of the topics touched upon yesterday, when I was lucky enough to come athwart your o[r]bit for a little,—it strikes me that I might as well have asked you, If you did not by chance possess a copy of the Covenanter Baillie's Letters and Journals? Or perhaps you know some charitable soul who has one, and would lend it me to read? As I borrow Books from all persons, it ought to be added that I endeavour to make conscience of punctually returning them uninjured. I have been in quest of this Baillie for two years and more, to no purpose hitherto. It strikes me that one Peterkin republished it at Edinburgh lately, or was about doing that; in which case you are more likely to have it.1

I will ask farther, now that my hand is in, whether you have not, in defect of Baillie or not in defect, some stock of Books on that Period of History; in which a hungry reaver might be allowed, on occasion, to forage? I desiderate greatly the Literature of it, Songs, Pasquinades &c &c,—so far as it had any Literature.

At lowest, perhaps you can tell me something about Jenny Geddes! I search to no purpose for any glimmering of light about Jenny. K. Sharpe (in Kir[k]ton) says, she had sat on the Cutty Stool for a mistake in behaviour; but even this small fact I am unable to verify. Burns, you tell me, named his mare after her;—proper surely. In truth, she stands as a most memorable monumental Figure, this poor Jenny, to me; featureless, I am afraid, forever.2 Shakspeare's is not the only lost Biography! Greedy oblivion makes haste to swallow us all.

Believe me, / Yours very heartily,

T. Carlyle