July 1836-December 1837

The Collected Letters, Volume 9


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; 4 March 1837; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18370304-TC-JCA-01; CL 9:166-167.


Cheyne Row, Chelsea, 4th March 1837.

My dear Sister,

There is a frank going to M'Diarmid about the House at Craigenputtoch, which a man, some man or other from East Lothian, speaks of probably “taking for for [sic] a time.” Still more probably not “taking”; only plaguing me with writing of!— However I have snatched an hour to write this inclosed Letter for Alick; and surely a minute on the cover is due to you.— You have not the smallest conception how busy I am kept. Since Alick's Letter was done, for example, just this minute there has come in the last Proofsheets of Volume First (two of them and more): abundant work for what remains of this day and the whole morrow. Happily they are the last of that Volume! Two Printers are now busy: soon in April [i]t will be over.

Alick writes to me that you have had jaundice; a miserable bilious complaint, proceeding from the liver. He represents you as better. I hope and pray you may get well fully, without delay: ill health is a sad clog on every thing. On the other, “little James” he says is a fine thriving fellow: this will be a great comfort to you.— I sent big James a Pamphlet by M'Kie—did he get it? It was an American Review of Teufelsdröckh: a Bookseller shewed it me in a shop one day, and I could not but buy it, and send it for some comfort to you. When you have all seen it, or in the course of your seeing it, as the thing may suit, let Mrs Welsh get a glimpse of it. The Book is my Mother's: but she will not grudge Templand a week of it.— Likewise there went off towards Templand and you a bundle of Necklaces (& Mirabeaus too, as it proved)[.] Have they ever come? Let James indicate by one stroke on the next Paper that he has got the Yankee review (if he have got it); then, as before agreed on, by three on some other Paper, when the Templand things come. Unless you will write a long Letter, or even a short Letter, without loss of time?— I have written to America about poor Alick;1 and could greet [weep] for waeness, but that would serve purpose, I believe, at bottom, it is the only wise thing to be determined on. May God prosper it! I pray and hope!— In Alick's Letter is an account how I am to lecture here; the instant this Book is off! “In the first week of May:” I declare I shudder to consider it. Yet it is very right, and fit, and must be done: we will “welter [stagger] thro' it,” one way or another; we never stuck in the middle of anything hitherto.— The Herald came in right time last week; tho' I think James could have made no new arrangement with the Hannings. The week before it was four days too late, and again dirty: another day and it would not have gone at all. I understand Rob and Jenny have plenty of Newspapers quite accessible to them. It will be better therefore to send this same Herald hither direct;—unless some of you that are punctual, and without snuff-drops2 can profit by it for a day? Monday is the soonest I can get it; Monday corresponds to your Saturday. Your James appears to me to be the only entirely punctual man, except myself, of the whole set. I will see you this summer surely! Till June it is not to be thot of now. God bless you both!

T. Carlyle

If this come to you on Wednesday, you may perhaps get the enclosure sent off directly. There is no pressing haste in it, nothing peculiar.— Jane is gone out, or she would have some word.