The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 19 February 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500219-TC-JCA-01; CL 25: 30


Chelsea, 19 feby (Tuesday) 1850

Dear Jean,—Many thanks for your little Note; which I was right glad to read this morning. I am very glad to hear you express your adherence to the painful doctrine I set forth; it is really a terrible job,—so lonely as I am, no man sharing my adventure, only all men looking at me in it as they wd do at a man walking perilously on the roof-ridges,—asking themselves, “When will the dog fall?” He won't if he can help it, friends; and he has a bit farther to go!— Almost 30 years back, I can recollect the poor little craw Jean running tripping about my feet, eager to catch what I said, when Jack and Alick were with me; and I have always respected her rugged veracity and strength of natural judgement, and been very glad to be approved by her.

No 2 has been done some time; but I am like to break my heart over “No 3,”1 which seems as if nothing could ever do it! But that is always the way; by some course or other, I shall get thro' No 3 too, better or worse.— By the bye, as I send by post my mother's copy, I think there will be one superfluous, remaining on your hands; is there not? If so, I wish you could send it regularly to Gillenbie2 (whom I quite forgot, till a pair of wedding cards came here the other day): if there is not a superfluous copy, or if difficulties any way intervene, never mind this at all.— — — The Pamphlets have “a vigorous sale,” the Publisher says; otherwise the response of the public hitherto, I think, is pretty much, All the dogs of the Parish barking sharply, “Whaf-thaf? Bow-wow!” and a few private voices of men saying earnestly “Go on, go on!”3— —

But I must out, and have a walk, as this headof mine admonishes. We have good walking weather now, some rare times very beautiful, tho' there is still much wet and bluster of winds, and puddle of darkness and mud. I am by no means strong in the liver department; must do the best to husband my strength there!— — Jane is pretty well; will write to you soon, I hope.— Good b'ye dear Sister: my regards to James to Jenny and them all. Take care of yourself too!— Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle