The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JAMES AITKEN ; 10 November 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401110-TC-JA-01; CL 12: 319-320


Chelsea, 10 Novr, 1840—

Dear James,

Not hearing from you, I infer, according to bargain that my notion of the account was correct; that £7”9”5 is the sum I owe you.

Yesterday I went along to the City, and despatched for Dumfries to your care at the Commercial Bank, a Hundred and Eight Pounds. The Hundred you are to take out a receipt for, similar to that of the former hundred; and lay them both up together, carefully, in the heart of your repository, till farther news! Or perhaps you may join the two into one receipt in my name; which will make £200 and some fraction? I have forgotten the ways of the Bank. They are easier kept as one paper; but otherwise they will answer perhaps not so well. Do as you like.

The £8 that will then remain over is your change; which now makes us straight. An overplus of some ten shillings is a present to the little enemy of a Boy (James the Second),1 to buy him a pair of breeches,—so soon as he arrives at that preferment of breeches, if not already arrived: it will be a memorable day to him for the days he has to live.— And finally Jane or you can write “all right,” or even signify it by a Newspaper with one stroke, if you absolutely have not a minute to spend in writing; and so we shall have managed for this time.

Yesterday I had brief notice2 from the Doctor that he had arrived at Linton in Nth Devonshire; all well: if I were in his place, I should be inclined to stay there a while!

In the Courier I saw nothing about that miserable M'Turk riot, except the suicide of the poor man. The rest, perhaps with a kind intention, was suppressed.3

I forget always to tell Jean that I did not see the Johnston Criticism in the Herald.4 The Appolodorus one, I find, is not Mr Aird's but by one Gilfillan who it seems is a young Burgher Minister in Dundee. The best that I have seen of all is one that has appeared in Paris in a (French) Review there.5 He calls me very savage, but &c &c

Lately I picked up a small old Book or pamphlet here, which I designed for you, if the Box had not been gone: it is called “the Siller Gun,” a Dumfries Poem, by a Dumfries man named John Mayne, who died here very old, not many years since, as an Editor and man of some mark. The thing is curious, and worth reading: every name it names is vanished now; Dumfries is the grandson of what it then was!6

When I went eastward yesterday, and got near the City, I was like to be choked by “the Lord Mayor's shew”7—some half million of people rolling like the tide of Solway, to catch a glimpse of that gilt-gingerbread pageant: I fled, making a circuit of almost a mile, by lanes &c, and got clear of it: nothing that I know is more oppressive, not to say frightful to me, than a London crowd,—a rushing torrent of people, flowing, flowing, sometimes for miles!

Here is the end of the Paper. Give our love to the Wife and Children. Good be with you all, young and old!— Yours always truly

T. Carlyle