July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 13 January 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480113-TC-JWC-01; CL 22: 201-203


Alverstoke, Thursday 13 jany, 1848—

O, my Dear, I hope you are a little better today up, and able to look about you,—better off, in short, than I am; unslept, dyspeptic, bewildered; unable (for the moment) to procure a pen; and therefore writing (for the time is short) with pencil. Nay here is James1 at last come up with a kind of pen; let me employ the few moments I can count on, and use that.

I got into the railway &c all right; and got along well except that it grew ever colder in spite of all I could wrap, and the flurry of the morning, I felt, had hurt me. Reading was but little available. I sat looking out into the dim grey fields in silence. The stage after Winchester, our Coach-door opened, and there with a great heap of packages came—Richd Milnes. The same foolish social talking mortal as ever: he had been at the Grange; and then also at Lord Palmerston's,2 from which latter place he was now coming.— The “open carriage” stood waiting at the Station; Milnes's “impudence” (cool of the evening) laid on “luggage,” this time, enough and to spare! My cigar was not done, when we arrived here; found Mr Baring and the Lady sitting at a baddish fire,—very glad to see us;—and after a little while it was time to go and dress, dinner being at 6. I already felt flurried as I say, and hurt; the room was cold for my new dress, I had not a “pleasant” evening: but the sticking-place was the night! Ach Gott! Dearest, why do I complain to poor Thee; confined to thy own bed at present! Well I will not complain: only if you had been strong, I would have told you how very weak and wretched I was. Some time about 3, I think, I got asleep (after bathing &c); woke again some time after 5, went down out of doors to smoke,—had slept about 3 minutes more, when James with his brushed clothes &c started me up again, and there it ended. That is my history: an excuse at least for incoherent writing;— In fact, if it were not for my own consolation (for I know thou lovest me, Goodykin in spite of all thy harshnesses and distrusts) I think I need not have written at all. It seemed to me last light with triple and tenfold emphasis, what it has all along seemed, that I had been much better in my own bed at Chelsea than in this one!—

I am in the room I had last year; very dry, and the house all full of hot air; but the window will not go up! The hot air had a sickly stove-smell, very disagreeable in the night. The other room is reserved for you, your old one, for it is still taken for granted that you are to come; and Lady Harriet says she has written to you to that effect this morning (to arrive tonight):—and sure enough if you do not come, my stay here is like to be but brief. However, I will by no means advise, today at least,—nor till I am better. I am thankful a thousand times you took that illness not here but in your own shop; it would have driven you crazy the confused element we have here, had you arrived in it sick!—

Nobody but Milnes here, who is loose-flowing, sophistic, paradoxical, utterly idle, as ever. All alas is idle, and I think is like to be! The Lady seems herself a little unwell; is in an inferior key of spirits; played a great deal, last night, Milnes occasionally singing. I begged for Coolun;3 could not get it. Good Mr Baring has the old serenity of farnientism [delightful idleness] quite unimpaired. Henry Taylor, it would seem, is expected to come; and, very shortly ly both the Charterises:4 note that!— — But there is Milnes shout-shouting, at the bottom of the stairs: we are to go to Richardson's5 or I know not where. More tomorrow;—today it is over. I ought to have written to my Mother too, but cannot.

I hope Jack will send me good news of you tomorrow.— No Letters (thank Heaven) came to me today; there lay one from Craik waiting me, with that clipping from the Athenaeum.6 Forster has sent no “proof”:7 tant mieux [so much the better]. My regards to John, and bid him write, were it only a word.

Take care of thyself, take care; and get well again shortly! Ever yours;—not always so miserable as just now!

T. Carlyle