The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO DAVID AITKEN ; 22 February 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410222-TC-DA-01; CL 13: 43-44


Chelsea, 22 Feby, 1841—

My dear Sir,

Above two months ago I was on the point of writing to you, and ought not to have heeded the fallacious whispers of Indolence but actually to have written, That Baillie's Letters had actually come into my possession. A certain Dr Murray,1 an early acquaintance of mine in Edinburgh, happened to possess the Book; and sent it me for an unlimited time. I have read it; with unusual interest and profit. One wonders that such a Book ever fell into such a state of rarity, of un-procurability. It is scandalously edited too, or rather not edited at all, only printed,—and that also in an entirely scandalous manner.— The Bannatyne people, I am very glad to find, are getting out a proper reprint of Baillie, to be accompanied with Notes.2 He is a great block-head B., but he carried a pair of eyes in his head; which so few do! I have got Turner3 from Cambridge; I can get a variety of things: but all that has been suspended for some time with Proofsheets and chaotic etceteras.

What you say of Dodds4 corresponds pretty exactly with all I have been able to learn or surmise about him. The other day he sends me a most tumultuous boisterous explosion of a Letter: good in the heart of it, something almost like genius in the heart of it; but wild as the woods. Such an Orson5 will take terrible shaving and tawing [dressing: as of leather]!

On the whole I wish you saw the man, to report about him. A poor brother struggling in that same Orson-state, if he be aidable at all, appeals to one. Help is due to the help-needing!— I want your report about Dodds as soon as you can.

We are not ill here; glad in some gleams of returning spring. The tumult of London, ever onwards from this season, gets triple and ten-fold; more and more hateful to me, fatal to me! Were the weather once warm, I seriously meditate running off somewhither.

We unite in all kind regards to Mrs. Aitken.6 As for you,—you must take care of the Edinburgh East-winds! It is a serious sad fate to be “seldom free from pain”;—to be never free from it: ah me!—

Commend us also in the kindest manner to our right trusty and well beloved Sam.7

Yours always truly /

T. Carlyle