April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 6 October 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18491006-TC-JAC-01; CL 24: 264-266


Chelsea, 6 Octr 1849—

My dear Brother,

I need not say how your news of last night distressed me; alas, I perceive my poor Mother is still very unwell.1 You do right to let me know the accurate worst of it: I beg you very specially to continue with all faithfulness to do that at any rate; the truth whatever it may be is not likely to exceed the product of my own haggard imaginations in such a case. Pray write me, were it but one line, every day; merely to report how things are. These loose teeth, that skinless palate &c must be abundantly distressing; and, alas, there is so little strength to work upon,—the strength has been already so “worked upon” by the tear and wear of so many toilsome and anxious years in our dear old Patient's case!

Your trial of ale speaks promisingly to me; she was always fond of ale to porridge, and seemed to get good of it. Would not a couple of glasses daily of Port wine be worth trying? You can get Port or other wine tolerably good from Postie, I believe; at one Walker's in Dumfries all kinds of wine used to be noted for good: half-a-dozen of Port, if you think it wd do no harm, wd at once come to you if you gave me signal,—it would be a real solacement to me (which you owe me in my absence) to contribute any help at all in this case. And Oh be careful, be gentle and attentive, dear Brother; and do your best now if ever! One of the most comforting circumstances of the matter is that you are now there in person.— Perhaps I exaggerate, and have aggravated in my imagination as I lay awake last night a good while, the gravity of this affair. Write to me, at any rate, one word daily, that I may see how matters go on.

Jane is very considerably better; is just gone out (3 p.m.) with Miss Farrar2 &c who have called. She will gather strength daily I now calculate. I myself am busy,—“annihilating rubbish,” in preparation for something better.— Fuz called, Strachey the Youngest being already here, the evg before last.3 Talk, talk, but little to the purpose. Thackeray has been dangerously ill, still lies close in bed: “slow inflammation,” thot to be produced by too diligent a course of dinners,—poor Thackeray!4 He has had formally to suspend his Pendennis nonsense; and everybody says he had better give it up, the total, and even, tiresome inanity of it being palpable to all creatures. Dickens again is said to be flourishing beyond example with his present series of funambulisms:5—I read one other No of it (I am quite fallen behind) last night; innocent wateriest of twaddle with a suspicion of geniality,—very fit for the purpose in view, which Th's is not. Fuz likewise had seen Manning, happy Fuz; talked long and not instructively of that and such topics, then went his way rather late. John Chorley I saw last night for a while; smoked a cigar, set him on ordering “two gallons of brandy” for me. He has a dreadful apartt in respect of atmosphere sure-ly!

Jamie's harvest, I hope is getting on; I hope all things, many things, will be better than my fancy of them at present is! God bless you all.

Your affecte /

T. Carlyle