The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 11 February 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400211-TC-JAC-01; CL 12: 42-45


Chelsea, 11 Feby, 1840—

My dear Brother,

Your Note1 arrived yesterday morning; welcome tidings so far as it went, we expect to hear more minutely one of these days. I have written to my Mother today, chiefly to apprise her of your safe arrival: as there seemed nothing secret in your Note, I inclosed that itself in my sheet, thinking she would like it better. Whenever you specially want anything to go no farther than myself, give some indication of your wish, and I will strictly follow it. In other and in all cases I hope my own attention to such considerations will be awake.

On Saturday night these Notes came from W. Hamilton: they can be of no immediate use to you; but they may as well be in your keeping as in mine. Hamilton2 asks me farther to get him introduction to the Times Newspaper for certain Scotch Friends who are coming or come hither to advocate the antipatronage cause of the Scotch Kirk!3 I can do nothing in that. I have not answered yet.

Nothing new has occurred with me since I wrote,—if it be not that I have got my hair close cropt! Nothing has arrived, except worthless pamphlets &c. Mazzini was here, Craik, Cavaignac; they all asked kindly for you; the two latter specially desired to be remembered. Poor Mazzini, I suppose, perhaps felt the want of you more than anybody, no Italian medical adviser now here for him! He is in no good way I doubt, spiritual or physical. After long talk, I incline to consider him irremoveably fixed to the Progrès4 concern; a man destined to walk forever on paths that lead to little but confusion; and, all his days, with a pair of the keenest eyes, to look thro facetted spectacles disturbing in the sorrowfullest way all things in Heaven and Earth for him. Poor fellow!— At Milnes's breakfast I found a set of lords and sprightly persons of quality, some of them with Charles-First moustaches: altogether unproductive for me, or nearly altogether. One Macarthy (I think) proved to be the person who was here seeking me: a head hairdressed in the mode of Christ in Italian Pictures, a tall, would-be lofty-thoughtful man, who “thinks he is thinking”;—of whom the world is hardly worthy!5 A goodnatured man too; volunteered to visit me here, and work wonders: Heaven be good to him! Shortly after myself, the repast now all over, old Rogers came in. I care nothing for the old man, except as old, and kind to me; but he applied in such pathetic wise for my company to breakfast “any day at any hour,” that, after so many refusals, I could not but go. Yesterday, breakfasting first at home, I went; thro' mud, rain, and the tumult of Queen Victory's wedding: who should be there but poor Kenny6 alone! Kenny “smoked” a good deal, what you call smoking, was full of civility; both were full of civility; both full of ennui. And yet do but think I am engaged to go and dine there on Thursday; I felt astonished at myself all the way home how I had engaged: I have not sufficiently the art of saying No! And tonight we are in for Wilsondom;7—and a dog in the rear-quarters of No 6. has been annoying us for some nights, and—pity me, and hope I shall learn No!

Hunt's Play was what they call successful; it really seemed to me as if here and there the audience did feel it in their heart;—as if the Play might run for some time, which is the grand result. The account in the Examiner is not favourable enough, written in a negatory spirit.8 Heraud sat behind us in the Box; as dirty and joyful as ever. I have not seen Hunt since.

The Examiner as you will see with satisfaction contains farther an angry shot at Chartism; revealing withal, what I did not know, that many persons “shake their lank locks” over the Condition-of-England Question! A certain unwise Mr Slaney actually brought forward a thing of the kind,—as if he had taken me up literally and verbally!9 The world is not a wise world.— Of course you will send the Examiner across into Annandale: I told my Mother so; two strokes if you are well.

I have written more than I intended; it is worth nothing. I expect some news from you directly in return for my former Letter, which I think you would get on Saturday or so. We need not overlap at so short a distance as we now happily have to contend with: nor do I mean to do that.

No word from John Sterling direct hither. “Penzance,” the old Stimabile still says.10 If I knew where he was, I would fling him a line some day. I wrote a word to Jenny at Kirtlebridge one day, the briefest of words, pity that one cannot make time go farther, as money now will, in that matter.——— My days still get dreadfully frittered away; hardly a little reading to be snatched from the waste whirlpool; say nothing of writing or thinking. Ah me! But that will and shall alter.

Now good b'ye dear Brother. Hoping to hear that you do the best, and find that prosper; ever loving you in prosperity or not

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle