The Collected Letters, Volume 11


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 16 September 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18390916-TC-JAC-01; CL 11: 186-187


Chelsea, Monday morning, / 16 Septr, 1839—

Dear Jack,

On Saturday towards four O'clock our Postman met me accidentally in Brompton, and handed me the inclosed Letter, a little before the time. I stopt into Sterling's, and answered, in time still for that evening's post, that I would forward the letter by the first opportunity, that “Scotsbrig Ecclefechan N. B” was some 300 miles off, that “should any of her Ladyships wishes be frustrated by this circumstances, Dr Carlyle's sorrow” &c &c—a proper nichtssagendes [saying-nothing] Billet; to which no answer having come, I suppose that all is right, that her Ladyship is gone or going as predicted, and that the Note is of no pressing moment.1 Sterling today can perhaps get me a frank for it, however; I will send it forthwith.

I am literally altogether busy today, have not time for a word. All goes on well enough: my travelling hurricane is nearly calmed again, and I feel rather decidedly better than while with you. Weather still rainy, showers and sunshine, hardly one day entirely dry. What becomes of poor Jamie?— I have gone thro' nearly the half of Meister, darkening some pages considerably; it is my staple work at present. An Hon. Rob Talbot, an elderly man, of Hampton Court Palace, has dedicated his Faust to me, a second-edition English Faust not so bad at all, and splendidly printed with the German opposite!2 I must answer that I thank him, but that, Is he sure he is not a fool? The Swedenborgians send me a new cargo of pamphlets, with a letter to be answered.3 The Paris National has an article violently attacking my theory of the Vengeur;4 the Editor of the Globe sent it (for I have not yet seen Cavaignac), and asks whether I will not myself chastise the Critic? Schwerlich [Hardly].— In short I am very busy.

Anthony Sterling sails on Saturday next from Liverpool for Canada: his Wife continues here in Knightsbridge, till he return, it is hoped in spring. I have not seen Mill or anybody. Fraser is out of town; his Clerks cannot get the American F. R. off without delays. The Miscellanies &c are advertised, I find, in my Mother's Examiner:5 pray send that No back without soiling it, can you? I would send it to Emerson in America, instead of a Letter. Here on Saturday morning it will still do. Unbedeutend [Without importance]!

Yesterday I heard a young thick lipped energetic-looking mechanic lecturing to a considerable crowd on teetotalism; what a miserable beast he himself had once been, how much better he was now, happy he and his “old woman,” and ever growing happier &c &c. The people listened attentively, in considerable numbers, in perfect silence: it was a sermo [personal utterance] meaning a thing, not a babblement meaning no-thing. I with my whole heart wished him speed.6

How is my dear Mother? How are you all? Take my hasty salutations one and all of you. Jane has got most of her goods back, has the house all brightened up again.

Ever yours /

T. Carlyle