1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 9 January 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540109-TC-JCA-01; CL 29: 9-10


Chelsea, 9 jany, 1854—

My dear Sister,

You would see, by the arrival of the Newspaper last week, that I had got safely home; and I have really yet almost nothing more to tell you, except what your own heart and imagination will equally suggest without speaking. I have been as sad of heart as I expected, not sadder; I have yet seen as good as nobody; prefer still to be alone for some time,—alone with my own waste wintry thoughts, that I may get them sorted by and by into something usefuller and better. I began languidly on Tuesday morning to the task of sweeping away rubbish from about us, answering scrubby letters or burning them &c &c,—and endeavouring to clear a piece of ground for myself where I might hope to get to work again; or at least see that I could not work any more,—which is a thing I shall be very difficult to convince of. I have gone on in that humour; refusing to give up any day, but languid, weak and disheartened on all days. We cannot expect to cure from such a wound all at once. I fall into painful contemplations sometimes, sorrow that is really sharp on me: but in general my thoughts are of a better description, a mournful pity in them, ennobling their sadness; and my dear Mother, now hidden from my eyes in Eternity, as still a blessing to me, a help to me, as she always was since I first knew Time. God make us thankful, my dear Sister; for we have cause withal.

I wrote to John and to Jamie, very briefly that Tuesday; I have yet heard no word from any of the family: I suppose poor Jack is of opinion his loose brief Notes will now want their old vindication with me, which made any Note from him welcome. Poor fellow, I am sad to think so too; and feel a great sympathy with him,—greater from this very silence than the most eloquent writing could have raised in me. Tell him, however, by the first good opportunity you have, what is the truth, that I must hear from him as formerly,—in a hasty thoughtless style, or a considerate and thoughtful; the old frankness must not change;—and that I feel truly indebted to him (and to you in late months), and with all my impatiences, have not lost my brotherly love, nor shall if I can help it.— — Here is a Letter (from Mrs Johnston's sister, about those Books sent to Grange):1 read it; then forward it to John, who can read it at Scotsbrig too, and return it to me. We have had a great deal of snow; but it is all thawed now; and we have mud with little frost. I am well & Jane; be you all well. God bless you dear Sister.

T. Carlyle