July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 16 January 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480116-TC-JWC-01; CL 22: 211-213


Alverstoke, 16 jany, 1848—

You have got a headache, poor little creature, by your exertion in writing to me,—so John intimates,1—and today we must put up with that for news! Take care of yourself, I bid you; and do not talk too much to your Miss Wynne, and on the whole keep quiet, and get well again soon.— — Today too I am writing in the Drawingroom, three people (two Taylors and Buller) round me: so put up with the confused rubbish I must send you.

Nothing passed yesterday: I rode in the carriage with Mrs Taylor to Gosport; Baring and Milnes were for “a survey of the fortifications”:2 I declined to attend, being unable for much walking; but we all went together to Gosport, whence I and the little Lady returned,—she very cold, I safe in my watchcoat not. After that I read, and smoked, and daundered [strolled] about,—Lady Harriet out riding with a groom, having formally declined me on Baring's proposition of me: in the afternoon came Sir J. Richardson, with whom Taylor and I talked,—whom I then accompanied round by Haslar3 (declining to enter), and so home a little after sunset; and the day (all but dinner) was again done. “O Paig, Paig, a misspent life!”4 After dinner was all done, Buller unexpectedly came stumbling in; very absent, mazed-looking, and with some faintish tint of officiality visible in his new manner; a “pleasant additament” for the evening: he returns tomorrow. His Father is ill; influenza they call it: so he could not go to St Leonard's,5 and had come off hither for his Saturday. Milnes was to go today; but puts it off till tomorrow: we lose the availablest element we had when Milnes goes, and are like to be sadder, whether wiser or not, when the Taylors alone remain.6

I was very uneasy, sickly, dispirited and every way unwell yesterday; but towards evening I began to feel better, and today, after a better sleep than previously, I feel decidedly improved. On Friday afternoon I did, with effort, succeed in getting out the Pony, a thing as fat as a pig and quite wheezy and lazy: but it jog-trotted with me for an hour and half, and was greatly better than nothing in my then circumstances. On Monday, tomorrow early, it appears, there is a horse coming for my use, “a steady hack,” of which I shall be extremely glad as matters stand,—at least till I get into walking trim again. This, Dearest, is all the poor news I have to send thee from my Castle of Indolence: if there were more, I would transcribe it gladly!— — All the curiosity is now to know whether “Mrs Carlyle is getting fast better?” Everything turns on that, it seems! On the whole, I have yet given no program of my own stay; but it is understood I am soon to go if you do not come. The weather today is beautiful, sunny &c,—in fact, capital weather and air here: but that is all we have to brag of specially! Do as your own feeling and insight finds good. I think the railway journey (if any) must be by express train, and with a hot jar for footstool: I myself in spite of all wrappages had got quite cold in the feet.

No Examiner has come to myself this morning! No matter: it may arrive tomorrow evening (if Jack bethink himself), which will be soon enough for me; and in the meanwhile it may have amused poor Goody for an hour the evening before.7

Buller and one of the Taylors are gone into the sunshine: nothing here now (not even the parrot) except little Mrs T. who is scribbling away close at my hand: a most dainty little creature, full of cheerful orthodoxy, of hero-worship for her husband, and of all manner of convenient qualities;—looks considerably older and thinner since I saw her last. Taylor, it appears, refused the place of Stephen, tho' it is of £2,000; too unhealthy for it: so likewise did Spedding;8 that too, it seems, is a fact. There are philosophers for you!—

Adieu dear little Bairn. Thank John for me, very kindly Miss Wynne too. Tell John, and beg of him if need be, to write to me another bulletin.— Ever Yours

T. Carlyle

Buller calls to smoke, and I must run!