TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 23 December 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18551223-TC-JCA-01; CL 30: 144-145
TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN
The Grange, Alresford / 23 decr, 1855—
My dear Sister,
It is probable I may have more time for writing at present than you: I will send you a brief word at any rate, merely to testify where and how we are.
On Monday evening, according to plan, we arrived here: a pleasant enough journey, for a railway one; but the preparations, and preliminary arrangements, infinitely disagreeable in my present humour! Indeed it could not be considered as for the sake of “pleasure,” or with any eye to profit except in the medical sense perhaps, that I undertook this visit. I am in all ways grown perceptibly older, and am in sad sour humour, not calculated enjoying the kind of things and persons that are chiefly here at this season.1— The worst thing hitherto is, we can neither of us sleep: poor Jane suffers especially that way; but we hope the strangeness will wear off; and the effects of continual exposure to the fine country air &c &c will produce its results. I have walked every day to very considerable extent, and also ridden in spite of the intense frost; I do not try working at all (vain attempt, I know by past experiences); my only scheme of benefit is to lay in a stock of Exercise, and be a little rested and clarified by the time we get back.
There is a mixed rapidly changing population of guests:2 few of them of almost any interest to me; but all friendly enough,—whom, if one do not like them, one can easily get quite rid of for most part, without violating the rules. A son of Sir Robt Peel's (one Fredk Peel, whom you read of in the Newspapers)3 is the most interesting neighbour I have at this point of time; a truly ingenuous modest young man: but it is likely he will be off in a day or two again.
Oh my dear Sister, what a day is this Sunday to date back from,—two years back!4 Every feature of that ever-memorable Christmas is most sharply present to me; and I can only hold my peace, and think with myself of Love and of Loss, of Death and of Eternity, and things that lie beyond the scope even of thinking. God be good to us all. Yours ever