The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 10 May 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520510-TC-JAC-01; CL 27: 110-112


Chelsea, 10 May, 1852—

Dear Brother,—I must write you a word; but with such a dirty sputtering pen, and so many other impediments, I must be as brief as possible.

The Books, I conclude, wd go off on Saturday or even Friday; but, owing to my hygienic state, I was not able to look after the affair farther at all, being a close prisoner during both those days, and still only a kind of prisoner at large, and on good behaviour. I sent up Esquirol1 by a messenger I was otherwise employing about the Margaret Fuller concern, and that was all I could manage to do.— My cold, this time, has not been quite so slight as last; of which my own over-haste has been the main blame. The attack with blue-pill &c was intrinsically successful, and had I lain dormant two days instead of one, wd probably have ended the matter; but on the second day (Thursday) I rashly strolled up to the Library, talked with various people; lived on cups of brown soup instead of glasses of toast-and-water; and in short, made myself a bad feverish night, and needed no warning to be quiet next day and for eight-and-forty hours to come! At that point, however, the evening again fled in disorder; a teaspoonful of paregoric,2 the only drug I used besides a dreadful bath of sweating in bed, procured me six hours of “the sleep of an infant,” and I awoke restored of morning with a first feeling of clear health, tho' with great weakness as was fit. I had my bath again whh had been discontinued for 2 days, and a little walk in the bright sunshine, in my clean flannels, and sabbath thankfulnesses;—and in brief am going on towards perfect recovery ever since, and shall take good care of myself this time. Today again I am rigorously au sècret [in seclusion]; having, in spite of my wishes and precautions, fallen into some extent of talk, the least quantity of which I find is agt me. My assiduous little “medical adviser,”3 she keeps watch and ward over me, and drives back all enemies whatsoever.— These things you can report to my Mother, lest she is in any way fretting herself about me. I now see this cold, with its seat in the liver and adjoining regions has been coming on for many weeks, nay for several months; and I expect to be perceptibly better than the former average when once I am clear. A little whiffling cough now alone remains to me; and the skin is doing its duty as if by double-tides. This is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.— Enough of it here.

Of course I will pay at once any accounts of yours you may transmit to me for payt,—Jones's or others. But none have come to me yet, the very Paper I think must have been paid by Darwin to save time;—and indeed I think in general it will be best that they go to you first, as postage is so cheap.

Poor Jones, I doubt has little chance of advantage from this Library revolution; and on the whole the affair is threatening to take a quite ominous and reprehensible course. Not being able to go myself to Committee, I sent Jane to communicate my notions to Forster: namely that Jones shd be made interim manager; that first of all a thorough examination and illumination of the Library's condition, from the very heart to the surface of it, shd be had,—whereby we might know what kind of Librarian might now be the best for us;—and that not till after that shd any Election, or movement towards an Election, be made by any one of us. Forster as I knew he wd, patronised all these salutary notions, ready to swear for them on the Koran if needful; but at the same time said, there was not the least hope of getting them carried; or anything but one carried, viz. the Election of Gladstone's Neapolitan,4—whh G. and his Helpers “were stirring Heaven and Earth to bring about; and which from the prest composition of the Committee (Milman, Lyttelton, Milnes, Hallam &c,5 a clear majority of malleable material, some of it as soft as butter, under the hammer of a Minister in posse [with that capacity])6 they were “perfectly certain” to do it. With this answer Jane returned; quite of Forster's way of thinking:— I had bid her signify to Jones in some kind way that he must not pretend at all to be head Librarian, in case there were one, tho' his deserts were known and wd be attended to in time and place: this she had no opportunity of telling him, such a bustle was there. What they did at the Comee I have not all heard; Forster (who has cold too) has fled out of Town for a week. Gladstone, I think with Forster, will probably succeed: but he shall not do it without one man at least insisting on having Reason and common Honesty as well as Gladstone and Charity at other men's expense, satisfied in the matter; and protesting to a plainly audible extent against the latter amiable couple walking over the belly of the former.— Such protest I am clearly bound to; and that, I believe, will prove to be all that I can do. Of Gladstone's Neapolitan no man, Italian or other, has other7 heard the name before: from G.'s own acct to me, I figured him as some ingenuous bookish young advocate, who probably had helped G. in his Pamphlets underhand,—a useful service, but not done to the Ln Library particularly.

Adieu, dear Brother, I have written far too much! Commend me to my dear Mother, and soon rejoice me again by some good news of her.— We have strong west-wind at last; and today some blessed first-sprinklings of actual rain. Love to one and all.

T. C.