October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 8 April 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460408-TC-JCA-01; CL 20: 161-162


Chelsea, 8 April, 1846—

Dear Jean,

Some ten days ago I sent you off a small bundle of very useless Books,—which were not worth their carriage from Edinr. I have meant, ever since, to enclose you 12 stamps, and cover that charge; and withal explain what was to be done with the Books: and behold, it is but now that I can muster for such an enterprise! Here are the stamps; which you actually are to take without any grumbling; for the Books were, as I say, not worth their carriage. As for your disposing of them,—send to my Mother the two Reviews of Cromwell (the Doctor may suppress the rest of the “Prospective Review,” so soon as that part is read, I think!):1 and as for the others, I have forgotten what they rightly were; and have only to bid you keep them, or divide them with Scotsbrig Jamie,—in short, do what you like with them.

I am thro' the Text, as they call it, of my Second Edition, after another distressing struggle (for my whole impulse towards the job is spent, and converted into a kind of weariness and even disgust,—especially in these bilious spring months): and I am now fast working up the Appendix;—the whole business, Printing and all, ought to be done, about a month hence, and the Book fairly out. I need not now be in any hurry about it; all I have to do henceforth is mere tatters and tagraggery, about which for most part I can take my own time. But we are of a “hasting” disposition: that was known of us from of old!—

These are not healthy months; our weather too has been very wet, for ten days back, till yesterday: however, we hold out pretty well; struggling to keep out of the noise, if one could, which is the worst element of all for a poor thinskinned creature like me! I am seriously thinking of getting away into the Country somewhere, to rest up there;—but it is very difficult to do. One is fretted all raw, and cannot take kindly to any place. In poor old Scotland, when I come there, I feel myself very much like a ghost now. Indeed I am getting very languid about many things; desirous chiefly to keep quiet:—in fact getting old, which I have a kind of right to do.— Jane is away out of Town mostly these three weeks; some ten miles off, with the quality people we were guests of in winter: this gives me freer room for all manner of grave reflexions; they are not unprofitable at all. I go out every Saturday; but get myself all “dadded abreed [shaken to pieces],” by the foreign ways there; and come back no joyfuller than I went. Jane is to return in ten days now.— — I have got my Horse back, and was out today upon him: a bright day among the buds and blossoms I expect to grow fresher and fresher now; I have no intention but of working very gently indeed thro' the rest of the summer if this job were done.— You may send this on to my Mother, or send her word about it: Jack and she were with you lately. Adieu dear Sister. Blessings with one and all of you. T. Carlyle