August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO GERALDINE E. JEWSBURY; 27 November 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18461127-TC-GEJ-01; CL 21:99-100.


Chelsea, 27 Novr, 1846—

Dear Geraldine,

You have a beautiful little machine for making cigarettes, have you not? And it was constructed by somebody in Manchester?— Well, the thing I want you to do is, to get me an exact facsimile of that,—or if there be any improvement you can point out to the workman, of course I won't object,—but at least an equally excellent and exquisite Cigarette-machine; and to let me have it in my hands here (with the Bill of Costs &c) before Christmas morning next.1 I dare say you surmise what I am going to do with it:—in fact, I bought one here a while ago, a French article of some retensions; but it proved a totally useless affair, had to be angrily flung aside, and only suggested this notable device of applying to you, against Christmas, in the matter! As you are a very good young Damsel, with plenty of penetration too, I have no doubt you will effectually do me this bit of service; and also, what is not less important, maintain the profoundest secrecy towards all creatures with regard to it, not letting your left hand know what your right is doing,2—that so the achievement may with due suddenness of splendour burst forth, and delight the eye!

Dear Geraldine I am very serious in all this; and do trust you will get me the thing rightly done.

For the rest, I am in a very low condition; totally idle, as I may call it, which means with me the blackest kind of occupation, down deep in the bowels of Chaos,—where indeed the workshop of poor devils like me principally lies. One of the notablest projects I heard lately was that of a University for Manchester. A real University, made by men for the 19th Century, not by Monks for the 12th, as all the rest hitherto are!3 I sometimes feel almost ready to burst forth upon your population with some tremendous utterance on the subject, bidding them “Awake arise!”4—find it handier, however, to sit quite quiet for the present.—— Adieu. I hope you get on with your Book, and do your very best in it. Then let me know of it. Yours always

T. Carlyle