The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 17 December 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18521217-TC-JAC-01; CL 27: 366-368


Chelsea, 17 decr 1852—

My dear Brother,

I expected somehow you would write to me again at greater length before I was to answer: but that does not seem to be your view of it; so I will send a word,—at this late hour, in the extremest haste (for Lewes &c have been here, and have cut up my time),—it is better so than delaying longer.

We have nothing here but dull mud, black skies, rain, and alas too frequently dispiritment of heart in the solitude one flies to: bad materials for an interesting Letter! On Sunday gone a week a vile lumbago laid hold of me, moreover; and it sticks by me, tho' in a diminished degree, ever since: in fact my nervous-system is in the worst order; and I do not remember being so low, this long while, as this collapse of all my German Touring and other diseased toil and excitement have brought me. By way of remedy,—which indeed is the only remedy, and if one could get at it, an extremely effectual one,—I have tried to fling myself into the chance of a little work again, such as even in this mood I am adequate to do: for the last four days, accordingly, I am steadily—translating1 since I cannot write. My job, a Frederic one, which was incumbent on me at any rate, may last still for ten days; and after that perhaps I may be equal to something better. I am learning, too, as you may perceive, to write with an iron pen,—a melancholy task for one so old, but which the revolutionary humour of Papermakers &c (striving to be “cheap and nasty,” such is their noble goal) drives me into: and yet I don't think it will do!— Enough now of all this.

We are delighted tonight with one thing: the fall of the Derby Ministry;2 never to rise again, it is hoped! Such a set of vilenesses, take them for all in all, had not appeared in British history before; and it is comfortable that the general British so-called “mind” has, amid all its fearful obstructions, found means to cast them off again. Old Lansdowne, they say, is trying to make a “Coalition Ministry” of some kind,—more power to his elbow!3 A worse ministry than we have had even he (one wd think) cannot well contrive to make.

Farie passed near you the other day, when you knew not of it; he is gone to the North, poor fellow, to pass some of the dark months: in London he was very idle and resourceless.— Jones, at the Library, shewed me your Béranger beautifully bound;4 I told him you would probably write, for it and some other Books, before long. If there is anything I can do in regard to that or any other concern here, you can let me know.

I have been paying my Builder and other House-Artists: Accounts dreadfully uncomfortable most ways (some 40 per cent dearer than I expected, for one thing!): but it is good to get them put by, and dismissed forever from one's memory; that is the one good one can do in them.

Neuberg is here; has taken influenza, got out of it again, and is not a beauty at all! He seems to propose living about Hampstead; not liking your old Lodging (or rather this dark quarter of the Town) whh Jane took him to.— I have heard nothing of my poor old Mother since a day or so after your Note, when Isabella wrote. You I hope are getting all things brought more and more into straight condition in your new habitation and way of life. I send, from the bottom of my heart, a thousand good-wishes to my Sister and you; and say abruptly, Good night!

T. C.