1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 27 March 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550327-TC-JCA-01; CL 29: 277-278


Chelsea, 27 decr [March], 1855—

My dear Sister,

I got your Letter this morning; many thanks for the news you send me. I am much concerned in one interesting matter you allude to:1 for all sakes take care of yourself, in regard to that! You did not prosper well the last two times;2 and certainly whatever care can do ought to be done on this occasion. Rest and composure of mind, so far as there can be attained: these I understand to be the recipes; and of course whatever contributes to health generally must emphatically contribute in such a case. Mere thrift and prudence will prescribe all this to you;—and I very earnestly counsel that you be a good Bairn, and do what is so clearly bidden you!— I hope that little malison will not go and drown himself again, for one thing (tell him so); and that there will be “silence in the ship,” and good steady order kept, and no foul weather, till this affair is happily finished.

I am getting on scandalously ill with my Book; but sticking to it,—what other can I do? Our weather is unwholesome again, bitterly cold, tho' still and windless in these last days, with occasional glimpses of hot sun. It very much irritates the skin (I conjecture), and thro' it the liver &c; much obstructing the “human mind” in its work, if said mind is lodged in a weak body.— The Doctor too has got some ailment since I wrote, something of the biliary sort too, but threatening to become surgical withal, if not taken in time:3 so he stays in the House since Sunday last; and reckons himself to be successfully beating it back. I saw him yesterday; smoking with his back to the chimney jamb; cheerful enough, and giving good account of himself.— Nothing else is passing here that is worse than wearisome: the Roebuck Committee, the endless foolish talk (and even levity) about it &c &c. Let them go their way; go thou thine: and steady!

The painter Tait brought me down three of the new Photographs. I choose you the best of them: it will do to be put into a little frame,—the Stationers sell such here (gilt-paper mainly, glass and all 1/), or perhaps you may like to have it in a better frame, poor as the mere picture is: Alas, alas!— It makes me very wae the Picture I have in my bedroom,—sad enough to look up to it when I rise and when I go to bed;—bu[t I] would not want it4 for any consideration.— Adieu dear Sister, my time is all up again. Best regards to [J]ames and the Bairns. Yours ever T. Carlyle