The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 7 December 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18531207-TC-JCA-01; CL 28: 335-336


The Grange, 7 decr, 1853—

My dear Jean,

We are got to our quarters as anticipated:1 but it will not surprise you in the present state of matters I am very unhappy here. Especially after Jack's letter; which I got last night after post-time, for it had been taken by mistake to Lord Ashburton, and by him forgotten all day: it threw me all into a shiver, as I read it by the lamplight (being outside, smoking, when I got it); and it kept my sick thoughts tumbling about all night;—and the feeling how far out of my place I was here rose livelier and livelier! Alas, I have no very quiet home at present anywhere; and the thing I ask of mankind at large, That they would for the love of Heaven leave me alone; cannot at all be granted!

The[y]2 have put me here into room more fit for her Majesty than me,—of vast size and perfectly secluded: here this morning I have installed myself, under the title of “working”; and with the certainty at least of being completely solitary till 7 at night; and that is really the best that can be done for me in this situation;—to which must be added that the weather is soft and bright at once, and a very great improvement over anything we have seen in London lately with its drizzle and its fogs. But all this does not avail me for the chief misery that lies on my thots: alas, alas!—

Jane asserts always I should be in the way at Scotsbrig; no sleep or quiet (which I greatly need in this state of nerves) wd be possible, she says &c &c. I want your word on this subject, dear Jean,—as well as your real thought about m[y M]other's state; for I cannot make much of John's hurried letters even as to that. Write me a word, please; but I know how occupied you are (perhaps by night as well as by day), and what an agitated state you must be in; and I will not expect or demand many words.

Wandering on Scotsbrig Moor, I think I might be less unhappy than here; but how I shd lodge; and if I stood in the way;—and my dear old Mother has never expressed any demand to see me, you said? That I can well understand too; and love her all the more for it. Ah me, words are very dumb: may God forever bless her and us all!—

The Gent[ry] here are only two family parties Brookfield [and] Taylor, with wives and a scrow of children): [and] ourselves, with insignificant comers and goers perhaps,—and I lose nothing by withdrawal into solitude for so many hours!3 Jane seems to be sleeping better— Adieu, dear Sister. Ever yours T. Carlyle