April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 17 November 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18491117-TC-JAC-01; CL 24: 291-293


Chelsea, 17 Novr, 1849—

My dear Brother,

Here goes again a little Note for you before the Week quite end;1 in the confident hope of getting another Bulletin from you shortly in return. Our Mother seems really much better; and we feel as if with you beside her she were safe: but a small definite assurance to that effect is still much desired.— Your last Letter was of unusual extent too, and unusual liveliness of interest; not written “with the Messenger just waiting.” Jane was greatly contented with her share of the Packet, tho' I suppose she has not said anything yet, being by no means in good case for writing just now.

In fact our one point of important news is, that she has got a cold again, poor thing, and is prisoner in the house since about Tuesday: the weather, which was dim-grey and damp, got a tinge of frost introduced into its fog about that time; and poor Jane took the earliest opportunity (she knows not how) of “supplying herself with a winter cold,” as she phrases it. She is not very ill at all yet; merely “sniftering,” and head-aching &c: so that I hope it will not prove a “winter cold” by any means, but pass off again by aid of better weather,—as indeed it is perceptibly better yesterday and again today. That, I say, is nearly all our stock of news.

The Copies of Cromwell came, I think on Wednesday: I sent one off to our Mother; it is directed to go by Carlisle; and I suppose will reach you before many days: a Copy for yourself, if you care to have one, is ready here at any time.2 The Book makes four very handsome volumes; and is correct wherever I have glanced over it: what kind of “demand” was for it, I do not the least know, nor, to say truth, almost in any degree care. It is an endless haggling and botheration, getting out any edition of that particular Book; and if another be never called for, I think it may almost “answer probably just as well.”— The thing is coming out in Fraser, tho' Parker would rather have “delayed it till New-year.” My other writing makes no perceptible progress, or next to none, in spite of some efforts.— We hope you prosper with Purgatory in your newly equipt room,—“more power to your elbow!”— You have a good quiet workshop compared with many a one, and a task which is at once clear and worthy. I fausto pede.3

I am very glad to hear of the Boys4 going to Annan: it may do them lasting good in their life. If they are likely to get above a couple of years there (which would be very desirable), I should considerably incline to try Jamie with Latin, as the readiest means of learning English and grammar: but under two years, I should fear he wd never get thro' the skin of it, and so the labour be lost. Consult well of it; and do not let the poor boy miss any chance of improvement to his mind and to his wordly opportunities, that is really open to him. On no account let him get into any of the “learned professions,” I should be inclined to vote! But to write well and freely, to cipher well, to understand a little geometry, geography &c, and have the resources of reading opened to him: this is an excellent help, whatever way he turn afterwards in practical life.

Thomas Erskine and two Sisters5 are here, on their way to Paris for the winter: I saw them for an hour last night; much as you saw them;—they got (as they have the fatal art and custom) me mainly to talk, and I came home tired, and having learned little.

Oh my good old Mother, how are you at all! I would say so many things, and hear so many things from you; and it is all dumb; no word between us at all,—only thoughts in abundance! Take care of yourself, dear Mother, and let John take care of you.— Adieu, dear Brother;

I will write you a better Letter by and by, I hope. The Nation seems to arrive on Saturday night now. I saw Dickens and Fuz, who attended the Mannings' hanging! Ds has written a Times Letter abt it.6— Craik is here, to return at Christmas.— Blessings on all of you:

Your Brother /

T. C.

Plattnauer is home again, arrives today; Ld George has written to me again—Nichts [Nothing].