The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 5 April 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520405-TC-JAC-01; CL 27: 79-80


Chelsea, 5 April, 1852

My dear Brother,

Your second Note has come this morning. The Bunsens, as you know, sent no Books; nor did I myself succeed in gathering any. However, the Box, one way and other, is filled: after a severe tussle (for I could get no help for money, and did not ask it for love), the miscellany of tagraggeries is all stuffed in; the Box nailed and corded, standing at my door in expectation of the Carrier: so that I can believe it will actually get upon the trains tomorrow, and be at Scotsbrig in another day or so,—there to amuse you a little with unpacking it. In a certain old coffee-pot there is a slip of writing, apportioning some items of the rubbish. One Book (Statistical Histy of Dumfriesshire) specially addressed to Jamie.1 Whatever does not specially belong to yourself, and is addressed to nobody,—old clothes, books &c,—falls to my Mother, to be disposed of, kept or given, as she likes. No French N. Testament turned up; I think there was a Spanish one put in! Some of the trashery of books may perhaps suit Jean; but my Mother to settle and decide. De Thou amounts to seven heavy folios:2 I found a folio Spanish Dicty of which there were two quasi-identical copies; I sent on the better of the two. Planche's Greek Lexicon I propose that you shall exchange with me for the big Hogskin Latin Dicty,3 which is very well worth its houseroom here: if you at any time want such a thing there is one twice as big (not half so good) hidden upstairs, which (or the quarto Calepin)4 shall be greatly at your service. Fraser and the Westminster were included.— Here, at this moment, is the little Carrier who has taken everything away; and so we are now quit of it,—with my blessing! Poor Graham!5 I am sorry to hear of his accident; were he not a healthier man than one of a thousand at his age, the breakage of a bone might prove a more serious matter. Give him my regards; and say I hope to hear he is out on the hillside again before long.

We cannot wonder our poor Mother shrinks in from this weather. There was one considerable shower (two or three hours of the night) about a week ago; and for six weeks past not a drop beside: nothing but frost and dust, east north winds, veiled sun, and skies as of harsh potmetal! Uglier weather I never saw, here or elsewhere; and it is very unwholesome too: for example, I went out and had a galloping ride on Thursday last; instead of getting well thereby, I have got a dirty rheumatism ever since in my left shoulder (humerus, not scapula) on which the east-wind played, and at last this morning have even developed it into a straggling lumbago,—less power to its elbow! Rain and the good weather must come; that is our comfort.

We are beginning to think rather more seriously of a run over to Germany this summer;—perhaps even to pack up our things in the Pantechnicon,6 and get out of this old dusty house altogether. It is clearly impossible to get at the bottom of Frederic's History in this country, or by importations into this Country,—poor Watts7 is perfectly in despair at my requirements and his own inabilities:—and at any rate a plunge into some thoroughly foreign element might be of good service. We shall see.— No word yet from Canada; but I say nothing of it (nor need you); indeed I suppose your theory very possible, and at all events we can do nothing whatever in it.

I saw John Chorley8 last night; solitary he, and vivaciously grim as ever: most obliging as heretofore. Anthony Sterling has finished his Zinc House, and holds tabagies9 (or smoking parties in it, Spedding, Ford,10 Thackeray &c) in it, to none of which do I go. His Wife is in the Asylum again, worse than ever.— Our Anne continues prostrate with influenza—won't go into the hospital; stays with a big daughter of hers;—our house is under the care of two helps, one a good little girl (day and night), the other an excellent cooking-woman (two hours daily); and Jane has much bother keeping all right.— My blessings to my dear old Mother; love to all. Ever yours T. C.