The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 25 November 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18531125-TC-JCA-01; CL 28: 324-325


Chelsea, 25 Novr, 1853—

My dear Jean,

I must not let the week end without a word to you and my poor frail Mother, on whom my thoughts so often dwell. I have heard twice from the Dr; his Note of today inclosed one he had got from you, which I was glad to read, as the last and most authentic news.1 Things are not worse than we might have apprehended; they are better than our fears might have been! Poor Mother, I perceive, sleeps a good deal; and that is surely a favourable thing.2 I fear she has not been out of bed at all in these late days? Indeed it is perhaps better not; for the weather is eminently unkind, even healthy people find it so. Jack, I conclude, will be with you today or tomorrow; and will write to me from Scotsbrig as his good custom is.

I keep trying to work here; but with very indifferent success; however, there is no way of succeeding but by trial. The consciousness of trying keeps my own mind more quiet; that at least is one result I can count on,—a very small one.

The winter here is very unhospitable hitherto; I hardly remember more unpleasant weather than that of this week and last. A dirty damp dark frost, rime or hoar-frost with glazed streets the chief result of it, and no sun, nothing but frozen mist: you cannot keep warm at all, except in bed (if even there) or in violent walking. For three days once it thickened into frozen London Fog; ending on Wedy night in such a black-sea of dirty atmosphere as put all wheel-vehicles to a stand, and made in fact one of the ugliest nights to be imagined. We kept close within doors, and suffered nothing. Rain followed, with at least cleaner skies; and still continues.

On Monday week, it appears, we go to The Grange:3 I design to try if I can bargain for some room to work in, thro' the forenoons; otherwise my time will pass rather ill there:—on the whole, I never had less heart to go anywhither; but I suppose the country air will be useful: to stir one up out of this sad stagnancy may on any terms be useful.

I will write again in a day or two. At present my fire is out (to say nothing of my time), and I am cold into the bone, till I walk a couple of miles.— Say whatever is kind from me to my Mother: blessings on you all evermore!

T. Carlyle