August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 12 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570812-TC-JAC-01; CL 33: 19-20


Chelsea, 12 Augt, 1857

Dear Sister,—I got your Letter duly; and am obliged to you, as always: I get very little news from anybody out of poor old Scotland now except you.— It was very clever in poor Tom1 to recognise (with no face, I think, at all) in that Photograph! He has a quick judgement poor soul; if he can but make it into a sound one too, it may richly make amends to him for the other drawbacks he labours under.2 Poor fellow:—does he shew any sign of improved hearing yet? Perhaps in a year or time3 the really critical time of Yes or No will come.— On the whole there is nothing fatal to a Human Life, except Stupidity and Want of Truth; people have done a great deal of work witht even hands or feet, if only they were wise and true!— — The little view into the Garden you never saw elsewhere, for it was never taken before in any way.

I write this in the open air,—hot bright day, after rain last night and bygone days:—12th of Augt; many wretched “gunner-bodies” busy upon the moors;4 several of them about Craigenputtoch, I daresay. In old times I used to fly the place when this day came!5— — I have passed most of my summer heats under this awning, where at least there is no headache: but on the whole it is unfurthersome to be away from one's tool-box (3 pair of stairs to climb from this, every new Book I want);—having so very little strength, I feel as if I ought really to have “room” for it all. No complaints, however; bore away, under the given conditions: that is the only resource! Jane fairly getting on too, at a slow rate; and with endless trouble, day by day returning, and hour by hour: there is actually abt 150 pages of the unblessed stuff printed and off my back to all Eternity! If I can hold out for one other year— But it is an outlook still that makes me shudder, in some humours!

Jane is coming across from Auchtertool to her Aunts at Edinr tomorrow (Thursday): she is to stay there probably “a week”; then back to Haddington to take leave of her old Ladies (too possible never to meet again, for they are above 80, the eldest nearer 90, I think): after whh, home again,—I guess she may be with me again before the end of this month or soon after it. She is not for Dumfriesshire at all: she is very weak, poor little soul,—sleeps badly &c &c;—in short now that the fire of the heat is over here, she thinks she may be better at home. I always flatter myself she may feel, on returning and summing the thing up, that she has sensibly improved: but there seems little gain from day to day as yet. Her Aunts's Address is: “Misses Welsh / Craigen Villa, Morningside / Edinr,”—if you shd have any notion to write to Jane. But you need not, if not drawn to it by some wish or opportunity.— — Could you, some time (during Jane's time will now be impossible), ascertain from Mary— [Message is enclosed on a separate patch of paper;6 much my habit at prest to go on such patches!]— — I send my kind regards to James & the Household. Ever your affecte

T. Carlyle