August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 17 September 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570917-TC-JCA-01; CL 33: 86-87


Chelsea, 17 Septr, 1857

Dear Sister,

I ought to send you a little word, tho' it must be a very brief one,—announcing at least that Jane is come home. I picked her up at the Edinr Railway Station,1 Wedy gone a week (this is Thursday night), and brought her home with me. She is very considerably improved; visibly changed in the look, and practically in all important particulars, as sleep, eating &c: in fact if she go on as she has done for the past week, it will have been an exceedingly successful expedition; and we may fairly calculate on fronting the winter on better omens than those of last year were.

This morning I got a Letter with a strange black card in it,—announcing that good David Hope of Glasgow was dead and buried.2 The news came sorrowful upon me. He was one of the oldest acquaintances I had now in the world; always kind to me and true: no blither more innocent heart lived in the world. It often seems to me as if my world wd grow, if I stay in it long, quite solitary. I have lost, since last year,—much, how much: and the like of me has daily less and less left. It is a wild scene this world;—and I make the reflexions on it whh all have made, and whh are new and strange to every new mortal that arrives at the stage of making them.

I stick like clockwork to my business: progress is far from brilliant; yet if I can hold out for a ten months more, I calculate on getting thro' this first and far worst bout. I think I will then go to the Country, and for a whole year live upon milk and meal and honest country fare, and do nothing but sleep and ride! The Book will not perhaps be entirely worthless, tho' not worth much: but really that is next to no concern with me in comparison. If I were honestly out of it, my thankfulness wd be great, regardless of other conditions.

We have bright hot weather again; very “mooth,”—by no means agreeable to the working nerves. I often think of the busy shearing and inning that must be afoot in Scotland;—sore work truly, yet of a glad sort. We had deluges of rain before; very sore upon men, still more upon stooks.— Our Town continues nearly empty of acquaintances: I have habitually no companion at all but my horse. All work & no play; making Jack a very dull boy at times,—if it were to last always.

Adieu, dear Sister. With love to all, Your affe T. Carlyle