The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 26 October 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18531026-TC-JCA-01; CL 28: 297-298


Chelsea 26 Octr, 1853—

My dear Jean,

I got your two Notes, in due succession, the second of them yesterday morning; I am greatly indebted for your punctuality in writing about my Mother: it is the best comfort I can get at present, to know exactly how she is; for generally one's imagination is [page torn; be]low the reality, poor as that is. My dear old Mother: it is a great blessing to us all that she has you to watch over her in her sad infirmities.

We have had the worst weather here too; drenching ra[in] muddy skies, and loud winds,—what a terrible business that [page torn] on the Isle of Barra (Western Isles of Scotland) was: 400 people tumbled into the wild waves at once!1 Within a week past, the skies here dried, and the streets got clean aga[in,] the last two days we have had beautiful weather, sun out and temperature quite warm for the season. Jane's cold is quite abated within the confinement pitch; some of it in her head yet, she says; but she goes about as if it were not there. I am myself well, what I call well; tho' a little ill off with stomach, with sleep &c, perhaps a degree more than usual. But I am stout for walking; get up early some mornings, when sleep is denied; and stride off a long walk into the lanes and suburbs, before any breakfast can be thought of. The miles on miles of new streets &c one sees everywhere laid out and begun, are perfectly frightful [in] extent: nobody can guess what London is growing to in [page torn]ess of years; and to me, under present circumstances, it is not joyful to look upon. All the “business” of the world is getting to be done here. And the new people that come to inhabit with [page torn]ly English or British,—not even Irish, tho' of these [page torn; v]isible shoals since the potatoe-time;—but the main accessions, at least hereabouts, seem to me to be French, German, Judean: all the hungry vultures of the Earth seem to have given themselves rendezvous here; and I often say to myself, “Is this what you call unexampled prosperity? This assembling of all the hungry uglinesses of creation? How wd a little adversity do, in comparison, and all those Jews sent back to Palestine!”— — But things will go their own course; at least, it is none of me that can sto[p them;] let them go.

I have no letter covers at all today, but these three whh I send you,—not of the size or sort to be recommended. A 12 stamps are with them. I will send you more and better if you ask again.— The two Addresses are also sent: I wonder if Garthwaite could make me (besides the drawers) a pair of trowsers, stuff somewhat like the clipping here inclosed; if he dare, let him do so; then the Packages may come when they like. This is all [page torn] cut short when I sat down to write (for the [page torn] is yet far from quite done); and today also I have not the [least] composure or time left.— — Oh be good and gentle and kind and patient to my dear old mother, and support her weakness as you can: she never grudged herself when one of us was ailing! Blessings on her and you all. I will write soon again.— Yours ever,—

T. Carlyle