July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 1 December 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471201-TC-JCA-01; CL 22: 171-173


Chelsea, 1 Decr, 1847—

Dear Sister,

One of these days there will a Parcel of Books come to you; which consists merely, I think, of two Copies of the Miscellanies (a new edition of which is out); one of them for my Mother, the other for Stewart of Gillenbie.1 You will have to pay the carriage, and mark it against me; and to send Stewart's Copy off to him by your first convenience As to Mother's Copy, I want it bound before it go to her: therefore, pray take instant order about that. Get the Book bound, in some decent effectual way, so as you think will suit my Mother's taste best; then send it to her, and the whole account to me,—without delay! She already knows that it is coming or come to you; therefore the sooner the better. I trust to you farther for seeing it well done. The good Mother has at present nothing but the American Edition;2 and of course it is very fit that she have the Book in full, and in its best state.— This is all of message that I had to send: no doubt is entertained but you will do it with all fidelity, and without more specification being needed.

There is just coming out a new Edition of the F. Revolution too; but I think you are all supplied with that. This contains nothing new except an Index, and I suppose it is better printed than any of the others. I have a copy or two to dispose of, if anybody specially requires them; but I keep them lying here, as there is no hurry.— The slow Bookseller3 has never yet called to pay me for those two Books; but he will have to do it, for all the “pressure” of the money-market he complains of! There is also to be an edition of poor Sartor again, before long.4 It seems very strange, and is indeed almost pathetic to me, that these poor bits of Books should still be read, and now yield some “meat, clothes and fire” to me: but so it is, and I ought to be silent and thankful. They were written in sore tribulation; the children, as it were, of mere sorrow and tears: but it is best if one can get one's weeping over, if one has to weep, at the beginning than at the end of the account!— — I had one or two poor insignificant duds of volumes that I meant for yourselves; but was too late with them: so they may lie till another occasion. Furthermore: I do not now know what the conveniences of Carriage to Dumfriesshire accurately are; which, namely, is the best method now of getting a Parcel to Annandale, or even to you? The railway carries Parcels at 3d a pound direct to Ecclefechan: is not that perhaps the best method? Jack even throws a doubt on your having now a Coach or Conveyance from Edinburgh: but indisputably you have some mode of communication still! Say a word about this, for my instruction, when you write.

We had a Note from Scotsbrig the other night, which keeps us still in some anxiety. Our poor Mother, on Saturday morning last, felt such a giddiness that she could not remain up: Isabella added an express Postscript to the Dr about it. Dr says it is probably nothing but some “indigestion,” and makes or affects to make light of it: but I am very anxious for some Letter from Scotsbrig again! None came yesterday; I hope there will be one today.

We are tolerably well in health here; Jane herself, tho' a day of frost incommodes her, has a good average of health; but her spirits are none of the best, in the dark months especially. I sit secluded up here, among Books and Papers, all forenoon; keep for most part very solitary, and try to advance towards something worthy,—at lowest, contrive generally to “consume my own smoke,” which is something!— In this Number of Fraser's Magazine is a little Paper of mine with some Letters of Cromwell; which you will rather like to read. My Mother has a Copy (of the Article by itself), if you see it nowhere else.

Last night we had a Letter from Alick; which is now (when you read this) forward at Scotsbrig. They will send it you doubtless in due course. Alick is busy and they are all well.— — The Dr is much more fixed here than was usual with him: he stands fiercely up to his Dante, and I think will really do some good with it, poor fellow.

How is Jenny? Is her bit Bairn better, poor little creature? Tell me how you are all getting on, and what news there are among you.

God bless you dear Jean, you and yours.

Affectionately always

T. Carlyle