October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 28 October 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18561028-TC-JCA-01; CL 32: 18-19


Chelsea, 28 Octr, 1856—

My dear Sister,

Here was a heavy bit of news unexpectedly awaiting me when I came down stairs tonight! Your Letter is the very image of Mother's Tears: woe, affection, resignation, grief without measure. Alas, alas. I myself could almost weep (tho’ long unused to it), to think of your bit bonnie Bairn that was smiling in my face last Autumn,—like a little human flower, new-sprung on the bosom of Eternity,—and is now cropt away on a sudden from you.1 Forever, in this world; but he is gone to Eternity again and to his Maker; and there we shall all of us very shortly be, as he is. God is great, God also is good. I see you are nobly resigned to a Higher Will, as it beseems us all; and the tears you weep are soft and pious. God grant you His consolations, my dear Sister; and may this heavy stroke (as our dear Mother would have said) be sanctified to all concerned,—to you who feel it more than all. A Mother's love, a Mother's sorrow; there is not in this scene of things any feeling comparable to it, I believe;—and if pious and wise, that is a blessed grief withal.— Write me a word, so soon as you can, and tell me that your distress is getting settled into its place,—as all things have to do in this stern world.

I have had no health since I quitted Annandale; that day of Express-Train and then the reeky tumult of this Babylon, seemed to demolish all the former account. Yet I somehow, at bottom, have felt always as if I were considerably better. And it is certain I am getting into the very thick of my work,—in a humour grimmer and sadder than I ever knew before. I have got a clerk (to do writing for me &c &c who answers well),2 and this afternoon I got a Horse and tried it.3 These two articles and the way I got them, one after the other, seem to me almost like monitions of Providence, and a token that I shall get my sad task accomplished.— God's blessing be on you, my dear Sister. I add no more. Your affectionate

T. Carlyle