April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 27 December 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441227-TC-JCA-01; CL 18: 297-298


Chelsea, 27 Decr, 1844—

Dear Jean,

I have had a small message to send you these three days, and every day have been disappointed of time to do it in: I take the top of the morning today, and send it you the first thing.

Poor Mary at Gill is evidently in a very weakly way, not likely to gather any real fund of strength till the sunny weather come again. It strikes me that all the prescriptions she could use do not together amount in effect to this one: keeping her skin rightly warm. Jack is agreed with me in thinking so. What I want of you therefore is, To get her two complete suits of interior flannel clothing,—knit stocking work will be best: I mean two pair of knit drawers, two knit flannel shirts;—one suit to wash the other. Pray get these for her, and send them out with my injunctions as soon as possible. You will buy them with your best skill; a good warm article: then send me the account of the price, and I will exactly pay you.— This is my message.

I have hardly time to add a word more. We are very busy indeed, and somewhat sorrowful that our work prospers no better! We must try it again; we must stand to it thro' fair weather and foul;—by Heaven's grace, we shall perhaps get it done at last.

Jack is off in these days to the County of Durham! His old Italian Friend, Mr Rainie,1 whom he visited in coming up to you last summer, is at present in a low way; he invites Jack to come and see him as a Doctor, offering a fee of £20: Jack is off accordingly on Wednesday night last; is to return in about a week. He dined here, his Christmas dinner, and then drove away.

I have got a cold three days ago; but by vigorous exertion have already subdued it somewhat. Poor Jane cannot so well subdue hers; She has not been across the threshold for a month; she struggles away wonderfully nevertheless,—considerably better than she once was. Our weather is abundantly ungenial. Wild ringing frost, all flying with detestable dust too and reek; then foggy thaw,—as in these two days,—with all the smoke and dirt of London hurled over our heads; and a kind of dark damp freezing temperature, colder to the skin than Russia is! We keep good fires; and resist, outwardly and inwardly, the best we can.

I learned indirectly by Jenny that you had got the Bank draft, and that all was right there Our Mother and Jenny were to go from Gill on Monday last; I hope the weather did not prove too bitter for our Mother.— Your Bairns, I fear, are still a little feckless [weak]? Take care of yourself and them! My blessings with all of you.——— In great haste

Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle