July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 2 July 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580702-TC-JCA-01; CL 34: 5-6


The Gill, Friday 2 july, 1858—

Dear Jean,

Many thanks, many excuses, about the trouble you take. I perceive there is no use taking such pains in the roasting of such an egg,—partially rotten to the same human nostril. Unless I bargained with a Country Wife to spin me, honestly of good fine wool, a bit of honest blanket and dye it with lichen (Stane-raw) into indelible russet,—I see the thing I want is not wanted (or is supposed not) by other people; and I must pay toll and tribute1 here as elsewhere; and ought quietly to put up with what is to be had. The thing is not life and death, after all!—

Those tartans are all too thin: perhaps the niched2 bit of tweed (come this morning) may do for a dressing-gown; I shall get a cape out of some specimen;—and Mary3 at Annan found me a thin rag of pepper-and-salt colour whh may do for a jacket in defect of better. The Orleans4 Stripes fawn & steel gray will give waistcoat and trowsers:—in fine, I have sent today to ascertain when the Tailor5 can come; tomorrow with this new fact I will write to you again,—or perhaps even come up (if Monday is to be his day) with a return ticket; and so, witht fail, be ready for him wisely or less wisely. Be quiet therefore, and make no more search,—except indeed for one thing, Winter Drawers whh I quite forgot. If you can find any genuinely good thick flannel (that is to say spun of good fine wool), I believe that would do: spun of bad wool, I know very well what they all turn to (stiff as yellow plank, & shrunk unequally all into bags and strings;—Sorrow upon Cheap & Nasty6 altogether!) —but we must be content with the best we can get; and that will end the problem.

Your second Note came this morning by post: yesterday morning a short Note from the Doctor7 led me to guess he might call here in the course of the day; but he did not, nor have I heard farther of him. I only infer he stuck stamps on your Note, and put it in some post-office.— My ancle improves (I think), does not worsen by any means: I fetch long stretches round by Ruthwell, by the Brow &c,8 in solemn enough mood, in these grand summer evenings. Yesterday I wrote nothing; lounged all day under hedges, reading; today I have plenty of writing; but will here end. Tolerable news from Jane; who had been to Brighton not to her profit but was now out of that again.

Your affecte Brr

T. Carlyle