The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 1 October 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501001-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 241-242


Monk Coniston, Ambleside 1 Octr 1850—

Alas, my Dear, I am sinking from bad to worse in this expedition of mine; and have just decided to conclude it suddenly by the earliest possible retreat to my own poor den at Chelsea, where, alone in this Earth so far as I can see, there seems to be some prospect of what is most essential for me: Sleep, and being left alone!— Since leaving Scotsbrig, my nights have been worse and worse, my share of sleep “small by degrees and beautifully less”; and last night here was the worst of all,—with no prospect of improvet but of far the reverse while here;—so we will make one other great gulp; swallow down the horrors of an Express Train with its etceteras tomorrow, and get to the end of the affair. That was my resolution as I lay awake this morning, amid noises equal to those of Sharp and Roberts1 (with the addition of poultry, children and flunkeys), in a very sick frame of mind indeed, and much deserving to be pitied (at least by the gods) it did seem to me! But let me bother poor Goody no farther. I have written to Emma, that she may not be surprised when I arrive tomorrow or next day. Marshall has compulsed his Bradshaw2 for me; and I find I have the possibility of running in by Liverpool to “sleep,” if I find myself unequal to the whole of the journey while at it. So let it be settled. The voice of my poor Mother sounds faint but most distressingly impressive asking me (against prudence or reason) into Annandale again: alas, alas, I must even disregard that too, and go my own sour road, my case being decidedly a sour one!

As for you, stay where you are as if I were not.— You shall hear from me at Chelsea (I hope) next; and with more composure on my part than just now! Alfred Tennyson & Mrs Alfred, the Speddings male and female are here; love of the picturesque is here; “gorgeous magnificence” minus quiet or any sort of comfort whh to me (in my exceptional, thinskinned, thrice-morbid condition) were human: I had to run away abruptly from a survey of certain sublime rock-passes and “pikes” never-to-be-forgotten, lest the Post shd go without my writing. And now I do suppose it is on the very edge of going: so here (avoiding “Lunch” too, & taking a solitary pipe instead) I end for this day. “Feeling himself to be of all men by far the most miserable” (like that old Greek),3—yet knowing well privately that it is not so; and begging pity & pardon from poor Goody, whom God bless—

T. Carlyle