January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 19 June 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430619-TC-AC-01; CL 16: 207-208


Chelsea, Monday Morning 19 June [1843]

My dear Brother,

At going to sleep, as specified in the foregoing paper,1 I left the Letters for America (Mr Greig's Letter, and another of small consequence) in charge to Jane to put into the Post-Office; all sealed and ready: the Letter for yourself was left also all ready only not sealed. Jane omitted to take you Letter; so here it still lies,—and I now today add this little Postscript before sealing.

I went to bed, as stated, about 11 o'clock; by degrees fell sound asleep, and awoke in great astonishment about seven in the evening! Your Letter still lay here unsealed; but the American Letters had been most punctually put into the Post-Office in good time. Well, I thought it was all right; I went out and walked in the twilight &c: but just at going to bed I incidentally learned that poor Jane had put in the American Letters indeed, but never dreamed of paying the shilling apiece for them! There they were therefore, lying hard and fast in the Dead Letter Office, the Post-Office sealed till Monday morning, and the Mail Steamer sure to sail from Liverpool without them! I hardly remember a more provoking circumstance; poor Jane was in despair: we knew not what to do. I got a reasonable sleep in the night, however; and next morning early sallied forth, in one direction after another, to see whether something could not still be done. After several fruitless attempts, I went at last to one Mr Baring one of Peel's Ministry (whom John knows about);2 he undertook, if I would write another Letter, to get it still sent off that night by the Government Bag, which was to depart in the evening and still be in time for the Steamer. I directly wrote another Letter to Mr Greig, explaining the mischance, referring him to Clow for the particulars of your situation, promising the Letter itself by the next Steamer (4th of july), and in the meanwhile recommending you to his furtherance with all emphasis. This I have good reason to hope is already in the Steamer at Liverpool, and travelling on by the side of a Letter of your own to Clow. The other I will today recover from the Dead Letter Office and get forwarded by the swiftest route,—at latest by the 4th july Steamer; whereby even it, I suppose, may arrive before the Ashburton: and so again, we hope, it is all right; at least much better than we once expected!

I have slept both nights since that bad adventure; and am now for a heavy day's work at my Article (a most beggarly piece of work, which I repent a thousand times having engaged in!)3— I will write very shortly to some of you again; probably I shall hear from some of you today; and so, with my blessings and heart-affectionate regards, I conclude. Ever your Brother

T. Carlyle—