August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 4 February 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470204-TC-JAC-01; CL 21:152-153.


Bay House, 4 feby, 1847—

Dear Brother,

I might have written yesterday, had I recollected what first struck me this morning, that you lose a post for Liverpool by our southern position here: however I hope this will still find you safe in Maryland street, in which neighbourhood I suppose you to be for the last four-and-twenty hours. At Manchester you will find Espinasse, and little Ballantyne; Miss Jewsbury can point out their location; or you may ascertain at once by going to the “Examiner-Newspaper Office.” Espinasse was with us lately in London, arranging about certain German Translations he is to be employed in. If you think of going round by Leeds and Bradford, I will send you the Introductory Notes at any time you like.

I hope we shall be in Town by the time you arrive: at all events, you will find a house with rooms in it, and a little handy maid who will be ready to receive you, if you give us warning so as to announce your approach. T. Erskine is in London (55. Baker Street), and the Chorleys and many other old acquaintances of yours.

There is nothing yet settled about the time of our leaving this place. I rather think the people themselves have a vague eye to the very end of this Month, for the Lady is not to quit till the first of March: but that, I rather imagine, may for us be too long a date; idleness, tho' coupled with fine weather and other adjuncts, will not do for too long. Meanwhile Jane seems decidedly to improve; is indeed wonderfully well at present, tho' unable to get out except in favourable hours of sunshine; I myself seemed on the improving hand last week; but for the last few days I have got into sleeplessness again, and have not much to say on that subject. Baring is this moment off to Town; to return on Saturday with Lords Lansdown, Clarendon1 &c: the rule is, To be in Town all week from Monday till Saturday, during which interval we are left perfectly quiet here. I read all forenoon (with a fair chance for smoking too); then a walk by the quiet beach, in sight of the Steamers & skiffs; then dinner: talk, reading, and the other etceteras: with good sleep and health it might be very pleasant. I am engaged in no writing, am not strictly meditating any. My own thoughts, often enough of a sombre and abstruse enough complexion, are company enough for me. Frequently I think of getting away from London now altogether: I never till within the last two years felt habitually that I was old, actually not far from being ended,—my poor portion, such as it was, of this grand Universe not far from spent! It is a thought unspeakably impressive; sad, and yet great, almost godlike.—

Poor Christie is in terrible tribulation: his Wife is just dead;2 broken down, I believe, by hardship long continued; and the poor creature, still altogether forlorn in regard to economics too, seems almost in despair for the time. Jane is in great distress about him.

You must make many kind compliments for me at Maryland Street; to Mr Welsh and all the rest,—especially to Helen my fellow-passenger in that astonishing Slow-Coach, which neither of [us]3 will ever forget! Remember me also at Seaforth, if you go thither as is likely.—

Adieu dear Brother.

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle