The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 9 January 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500109-TC-JAC-01; CL 25: 1-3


Chelsea, 9 jany, 1850

My dear Brother,

Your Note this morning was abundantly welcome, with such good news of our Mother1 &c as it brought. Often do I think of her, and how she is standing the bitter weather! It appears she does wonderfully;—and indeed you seem to have fully a better edition of the weather than we here; for the Sun rarely visits us, and we alternate between frost and abominable glar under the shadow of a firmament generally lead-coloured. Today we are falling a powdering of sleet, which glazes all manner of paths and roads; while towards Charingcross and farther inward, it will be all soft mud:—and as for light, I had to get candles about noon today, and have them burning again now a little after 3 p.m.— We have to pluister on under considerable disadvantages of weather. However, “we are all afoot still, and that is a favour.” A week or two more, and there will be improvement in the weather.

Today I send two Books; one which is Emerson's Lectures2 a Book of yours, which may perhaps amuse you in a dark evg: it came here, with a Copy for myself, two nights ago. The other is Fraser for my Mother; some better reading in it than usual. An attack on my Negro Question is of very slender structure,—I do not in the least know by whom.3 By some “man of mark,” Forster says the Newspapers say; by some poor hidebound dunce, I have no hesitation in replying.— Alas, this is but the first sough of the storm I shall have to raise among that class of cattle, when I do fairly open my pack, and make known to them what my mind is;—as really now must soon be done!

I have been quite overwhelmed with rubbishy labour for two weeks or more; and only got a place of stopping, the day before yesterday; very much worn out indeed. Chapman is for a “Series of Pamphlets”—kind of Carlylese “Tracts for the Times”;4—and really I begin to entertain the proposn, as one method of getting my “pack” made lighter. He carried off about 10 days ago, two “Pamphlets” to make the Printer set them up &c; and so soon as all this is settled, I believe they will come out.5 Terribly agt “voting,” philanthropy &c &c. One of them has come back in type, but in a wrong shape yet: upon “Model Prisons,”—runs a redhot poker thro' all that nasty stuff, of “abolition” &c. The other which is to be the first calls itself “the New Era”; upon that I have been puddling ever since you heard last of me. I suppose the thing will have to go on;—and sometimes I am sufficiently alarmed about it! For my stomach and liver, to say nothing of all else, are by no means too strong just now.6 But I must try to husband myself. I believe I shall have to try the thing!—

Here is the acct of your Newsman. On the other side was paid: Garthwaite (14 / 1,—but where are the spats?); from Chorley7 8 / 6:—tell me what else there is; put me right, and I will clear it off;—meaning to write again to Jamie or some of you, in a day or two. At present no more. Right glad am I the shoes fit; no feet ever better deserved a pair of shoes from me than those! Our blessings on my dear old Mother, and on all of you. Ever yours

T. Carlyle