The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 30 November 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501130-TC-JCA-01; CL 25: 296-297


Chelsea, 30 Novr, 1850—

Dear Jean,

Lest I forget altogether, I will this day send you your 6/3 worth of stamps:— provision for an immense series of Letters; of which, I hope, you will let me have my just share among others! Many thanks for your care about the purchases; the articles will come safe by and by; and in the meantime there is nothing going wrong for want of them.1

We have got frosty weather these two days; and a kind of frost that is never welcome here: a dirty damp frozen-fog, against which there is no defending of yourself except by strong exercise and internalfire. Galt2 once told me the clear frost of Canada, congealing even Mercury in the thermometer, was nothing like so cold to the feeling. I hate that kind of temperature very much; and poor Jane, I doubt, is like to suffer from it if it last long. She has hurt herself on the breast lately, struck her breast on the corner of a sofa; and suffers somewhat by it since,—suffers in her mind, by apprehensions, a great deal from it. She is otherwise as well as usual; and so I am: “usual” is no very high figure for either of us as you know!— Indeed my poor “inner man” (I mean bodily inner man) is in general very badly off indeed:—and often there has risen in me the serious thought lately (which indeed is no new one for the last ten years) that I ought actually to get out of London and its tumults, to turn the closing years of my life to some better account than that of mere silent endurance of pain as here! Alas, there a[re]3 so many straps and tatters that bind a man!— However, if I had a house in the country, I do think I should now resolve upon going to it for shelter and seclusion. In about a year I should be above 30 percent better, tho' well is what I can never be. If James or you hear of any eligible little mansion to be sold in the neighbourhood,—a canny little place with ground for a cow and horse,—I do wish you wd let me know. Dumfries is indeed too far off; but one's “native” has attractions too which no other place offers. By the way, I see there is a certain Cargen Holm House to be sold this very week:4 does James know it? Of course he does. Did I see it, think you, that day of my walk,—a white house in the valley of the Cargen, about a mile on my right (or to the West) as I walked across the old Bridge of Cargen? If this or such a place wd sell for a thousand or £1500, I shd be greatly tempted to buy it, and experiment upon my luck!— Oh what a business such a nervous-system as mine is even if one had nothing else to mind in life!

Edinr Hogg writes last night, enclosing Portraits (really pretty good) of Wilson and Dequincey,5 and intimating—that I have consented to be drawn! We must see about it by and by.— The Honey kit has been opened: I couldn't do it; but an artist came “with a wedge of hot copper”; with this, and a hammer and knife (as described to me), he quickly forced his way: the Honey was all dished beautifully into gallipots; and it is believed the quality of it, like the quantity, will be first-rate!— — I must begone now, dear Sister; for I have much to do. Commend me to James, and the rest. Your affecte

T. Carlyle