The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 6 May 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510506-TC-JAC-01; CL 26: 78-79


Chelsea, 6 May, 1851—

Dear Brother,

Today I send the Fraser's Magazine; which, as soon as my Mother and you have quite done with it, you can forward to Dumfries, as formerly. The Paper on Charles Fifth's Cloister Life (of which I did not read or notice the First Part) is by Wm Stirling;1 and has some real merit as a bit of History à la Prescott.2 I have not yet seen Stirling, tho' he is said to be here for some time past, and I even think I one day left a card for him. Poor fellow, he is “surrounded by a friend or two,”—by no means of the most fruitful species! “Old Ford,” I hear, is just about being married, to a sister of Sir W. Molesworth's; his Ford's Daughter too is simultaneously wedding, I forget with whom.3 An idle dining dilettante-ing Clanjamphray, one and all of them.

What you did in regard to Jenny is altogether the right thing, so far as I can judge. If she get into a right ship, of which there is the best chance from the counsel accessible to her, she has the flower of the year for weather, and may hope to make the voyage under the favourablest circumstances: after which the issue must depend on her own omens and her own wisdom and behaviour, no friend can much help her farther in essential respects. I have a notion that she will do better there, and not worse, than she has done here; and that probably bother4 her Partner and herself, not to speak of the poor little children whose outlooks are not good on this side of the water, may have better days than they knew heretofore when experience had less taught them. Poor little Jenny, it must be admitted, has gone thro' her hard trial creditably and nobody can cast a stone at her for anything she has done in her difficult circumstances.— What you arrange about the money seems very good; and I will send you a Draught for my half of it, so soon as the account is clear. I will write to Jenny also before long. You did not tell me what the Book-Parcel cost? That also is my debt.

Printer Robson has got the first leaves of Sterling's Life; these were in such a confusion that I could not handily read or revise them: I suppose the Bookling had better be printed and off my hand, tho' it is good for almost nothing. Chapman is willing; Fuz also has read, and pronounced to be readable:—have done with it!— — I have lately resumed my Danish; am strong bent on getting the Scandinavian, Norman &c part of my affairs set in order. I saw Bunsen, one day, who has now lost all his Norse Books; he lent me a little thing of Grimm's,5 and was very kind. Full of windy admiration for the ignorant present, as usual withal. A certain Secretary of his, one Dr Pauli, came to me by invitatn some nights after; an intelligent laborious young man, but not deeper in Norse than myself, I find. Did not you once possess an Iceland Reading Book; kind of recent “Collection” for the use of learners? If so I will spend a shilling in having it carried up to me again.— Item a Reading Book of Anglosaxon? Your Dicty of that is here. Our Dr Pauli really knows something of Anglosaxon; and I wd take a lesson or two from him by some opportunity.

Our industrial Exhibition gathered 750,000 human souls round it last thursday;6 Jane and I sallied into the City, where all business too was at a stand. I have fine solitary roads on the Surrey Side; all the Blockheadism being gathered to the “Glass Palace” so-called. Three times I have been out riding, on a certain mare whh A. Sterling has now on sale; I am again going today: an excellt quiet swift creature. The weather is terribly cold; with frequent falls of sleet and even of hail. Oh take care of my Mother; keep her warm, and well within doors, till the Sun get out! Adieu, dear Brother: my love to one and all.

T. Carlyle