The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 10 June 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510610-TC-JCA-01; CL 26: 85-86


Chelsea, 10 june, 1851—

My dear Jean,

I am kept terribly busy at this time; printing that volume on John Sterling, which needs a great deal of fiking and revising before the Printers get it and also after. Besides I vehemently urge speed upon them; being impatient to have it done. They are not yet quite clear of a third of it; and it will be six weeks or so (I fear, the lazy dogs) before they let me altogether out of it. I send a snip of one of the pages,—out of the Waste-basket. It will be a readable enough little thing, a thing also which I was bound to write; and otherwise it will be good for next to nothing whatever.

I have written off to little Woolner (T. Woolner, Esq, 101. Stanhope Street, Mornington Crescent, Hampstead Road), the Sculptor of that Medallion; who is to send you a Copy framed (a facsimile of one we have here): he will send it by railway, so soon as ready; and I will settle his bit account for him, poor fellow,—intending to make you a present of this wonderful article! It really seems to me, and to some surer judges; a rather clever thing,—as certainly the little sculptor himself: a very good young fellow, who we hope will come into notice yet.— Do not be impatient, if he delay a little; for he seems to be rather slow in such operations: you shall get notice so soon as the thing is on the road.

Poor Jenny, she has left us now; and all her sufferings and confusions on this side of the water are winded up,—to open, in a new chapter, we know not how, beyond seas far away! I was very glad to hear our Mother took it so bravely: it was clear there was no other course for poor Jenny.

We have charming mild Summer weather here,—and grey enough, which is always my prayer: for example, today at 2 p.m., I am actually writing by candle-light,—the “dag of rain” is so dark otherwise! Sunday was a high wind: I went far into the solitary country; all was one huge sough of waving trees and verdure under the kind bright sky,—very beautiful and very solemn to me, as I sat looking into it over a lonely cigar.—— I have been in the Crystal Palace; went with Jane weeks ago once, somebody having sent us tickets.1 It is the beautifullest House, I fancy, that ever was built in the world. There are three huge trees (English elms, all in leaf in the middle of it[)];2 two fountains, water-umbrellas 20 or 30 feet in height, undisturbed by wind; light of course as under the canopy itself;—and 30 or 40 thousand well-dressed people flowing silently about; amid all the nicknackeries of the collected world. To have looked at it as sense, or tried to learn or study anything in such a scene wd have driven me mad: but as nonsense, I pronounced it to be superlatively well got up; and looked at it for a couple of hours, as the gravest Man may do at a Children's Ball, or other bright Tomfoolery, with a transient satisfaction,—glad, that I had no hand whatever in it!— — The sky is getting clearer again; and my hour for walking has come. Poor Jane has got a stiff-neck by the damp, and is decidedly out of order today. Her cousin Helen is expected tomorrow from Liverpool:—we have a very good servant, whh is useful in that case. I will write again before long. Best regards to James. Your affecte Brother,

T. C.