The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 4 August 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510804-TC-JCA-01; CL 26: 118-119


Great Malvern, Worstershire / 4 Augt, 1851—

Dear Jean,

This is but an unpleasant writing apparatus, this of mine at present; however, I ought to scrape you off a line or two, simply to satisfy you where and how we are. I put off answering your Note till we should get hither.

Jack, as you know, joined us at Chelsea last week, on Tuesday or Wednesday; we had a Miss Jewsbury still there for a couple of days; and with a world all stirring and swarming in the “Crystal Palace” way about us, we were held busy enough. Indeed it was growing daily worse, that same accumulation of windy blockheads from all ends of the Earth, a fair proportion of whom directed itself towards me: one felt that there was no remedy except getting out of London as soon as possible. Thank Heaven, it now all lies about 150 miles off us, that mass of noisy delirium; and we have now nothing to do with it, but see beautiful bright skies and the finest expanse of quiet hill and plain, with no dirty human windbag-building botherations for us in it!

I think, you know we designed to come to some “Water-Cure”: this is the chief one in the country and Dr Gully, the director, who among his other merits is a great reader of mine, was the first person I consulted on the subject. He answered with eagerness that we must come and be his guests (in his house where only himself and two sisters and two children are, not in his “establishment,” where are sixteen unfortunate patients at 5 guineas a week); whh is a very distinguished honour indeed; and being offered in so perfectly frank and kind a way, we did not hesitate to accept at once. And so here we are, poor Jane and I, in two nice little rooms, in a beautiful little country rather than village house (like one of your “Lodges” near Dumfries, Castledykes1 or other such) with nice grounds and shrubberies round us,—and excellent pleasant people, to all appearance, which is the greatest comfort of all. “Four weeks in all”: till Saturday come three weeks,—that is the limit of our time, and the Doctor has this day begun his water treatment—“packing” (in wet sheets, and a world of blankets over them), bathing, sitbath-ing &c;—the whole of which hitherto is quite handy and almost pleasant to such a lover of the bath. He has capital horses too; on one of which he led me a brave gallop yesterday. The air itself, and the silence under the shade of these trees, is a real medicine to me. I make little doubt I shall gain some kind of improvement greater or less within this month.

We left Jack commander of the house, during his pleasure. Jane boards her servant; Jack finds himself:—that, after study and comparison of experience, was found to be the best method. And there, I suppose, Jack may do very reasonably well for a few weeks. The Western population of London is nearly all off; but there are innumerable multitudes of foreigners and country people,—still plenty of acquaintances for everybody.— — He told me incidentally that James and you had a thot of coming up for a week. If you do, of course you will find lodging enough in our house; and Jack will be a great help to you as a guide. Just send me a line; Jane will write to her woman that will be all right. Probably the fare up and back is cheaper now than usual: you will see the Glass concern,2 too, whh can do you no ill!— Adieu dear Jean with kind regards to James— Yours ever, T. Carlyle