October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 28 December 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18561228-TC-JCA-01; CL 32: 66-67


Chelsea, 28 decr, 1856—

Dear Jean,

Tho’ in very great haste (as usual!), I will write you a word just now, lest there be no time at all farther on.

We are in the old way; Jane still mostly a prisoner, tho’ very considerably better, and getting on, in-doors in a contracted kind of existence, tolerably, considering. I, thanks to the Horse, feel as if I were, in some faint perceptible degree better: the riding is but uncomfortable, in such weather; mostly in the dusk too, otherwise I cannot get a days work done at all: my swift galloping &c withal has “stirred up” endless “bile,”—swollen face, gum-ache, continuance of headache (quite unusual things): but I consider, and even partly feel, all this is on the right road, and will lead to real improvement. Human speech cannot describe the inhuman state of body I have been in, more and more, for years past.— — The worst at present is, We have frost, slippery roads; and my riding is out for the last 3 days! Dangerous, these glass roads, crowded with vehicles; and nobody roughens here, seemingly (frost so “uncertain”); but waits for thaw.

For the last week I have been drawing up a “Chronological Summary” (with a Blessing on it!) for the French Rn, last vol. Happily I have now done with it,—forever and a day! Cromwell too is about ready for the Printer I have torn out a Print of his here, whh is tolerably good and of no use whither it was going. Perhaps you have some little Frame for it; or somebody you want to favour has?—

Poor Samuel Brown never wrote me anything that was worth printing.1 I believe there may be one or two old Notes of his, stowed by in some dusty corner; but really they never were or could be of any significance; nor could I find them (if they exist at all): Let the answer therefore be, “Alas, nothing!”— Poor Browne; he had something very fine in him, fine and high-aiming, and his fated course was tragical. They tried to help him by “praise” too, and favour; and did him only ill by it. Nobody can help a man!—

What a tragedy too is that of Hugh Miller! A solid stonemason soul, with a great deal of fresh manful quality and health in it; becomes “literary"; catches up “Free-Kirk,” and is caught by it; “geology” &c, and a crowd of Gomerals huzzaing around:—till the issue is, this!2— — I will write soon again. With kind love to all,

Yours /

T. Carlyle

Jane wants worsted (dark-grey almost black) for darning my old stockings. “Too much twined, too hard” &c, all that she can yet find here;—she thinks there will be none right in Dumfries either? Tell us; or “send 1 oz."