The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 18 July 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530718-TC-JWC-01; CL 28: 207-209


Chelsea, Monday, 18 july, 1853—

Thank you many times, dear Jeannie, for the kind and punctual Notes you sent; very valuable to me in many ways. The first came on Friday night,—after the last chance I had of getting a Letter conveyed to you till Monday (thanks to the Scotch Agnewites, and less power to their elbow, the dirty Pharisees!),—so, with new protest on the Saturday night when your second Note came, I had to be silent till now.— Undoubtedly you kept a most desolate 24 hours off me by suppressing John's message: my poor Mother, my poor old Mother—but what can we say or do! Send me, and bring me, the faithfullest account of her you can;—above all things, if there is any good I could do her, any little gift I could make her— But, alas, I fear there is none. Oh be you good and kind and patient to her;—I know you will. And stay there as long as you can find it good, on candid survey of the ground; that is still my advice to you. We have here all last week, and over into this, the wettest weather ever seen: deluges of rain think nothing of continuing for 16 hours; yesterday was dry, windy, and inexpressibly bright; but today it is clashing and showering again. If you have it so at Scotsbrig, that will be a great drawback; and you cannot judge of the place, or its capabilities as a lodging, on those terms.

Unless your own mind strongly carries you towards it, I do not advise Haddington. You will have 100 miles, twice over, of clatching in railways to do for sake of it: last time it was all a city of the mind,—left beautiful to you to think of;—a second visit may alter that, but cannot mend that. Nor am I, at heart, sorry about Thornhill: little but sad tears could await you there,—why seek these in a world otherwise so copious in them? Crawford we will go to, one day; we, I say, when things are come straight again: there is nothing of mean, or unholy to be met with there; and it is human and fit that one should make such pilgrimages. It is very accessible from where you are, a stage beyond Moffat on the railway: but you must not go without me, at least not yet.— — These are my thoughts, given to you: but you know, you are mistress, and alone capable of ultimately choosing in such a case. Parliament won't rise, I hear, till towards the end of August: no Ferguses, therefore;1—and indeed I doubt much if they would have suited greatly. On the whole, do not many things point even to that issue (the welcomest of all to the Unprotected here),—making up your packages where you are, and coming home again! Your rooms are, or can instantly be, all right here;—and I shall be very happy to divide with Nero what tewheets he has caught (the villian)2 so soon as ever he likes. That is certain, you can tell him.

I am very solitary here; sometimes in mood rather ghastly,—but I really think, on the whole, getting rather better in health by such still life. I see few, nobody that does me good; and brood over a most waste continent of thoughts indeed, for most part. My sleep is not bad, considering; Fanny (for an irrational creature) is really very good; all smiles, promptitude and serviceability. Living is: scrag as hertofore,3 now hot, now cold with ham to it; small handful of peas, and bit of steeped bread. Which really does as well as anything.

One day Lord Goderich came.4 I begin to see a young man of some originality of mind in that small personage; a promising little fellow. Unhappily Helps, while we talked, came in; and things got into a screwed condition. One day I met Senior on the street: “Dine with us tomorrow,”—Ach, Nein! I went on to the Athenaeum: there also no face that was favourably known to me!— Yesterday I sat in the house all day, solissimus [totally alone]; Chorley came at 3; to Kensington Gardens thro' the breezy summer, and smoked a cigar; after that, home again to my Books (very poor ones too): really desirous of a little human speech, but not seeing well where to get it.— One evening Forster (‘fast Quaker) came down: there is a clang really of something very bad audible in that man:5 I thot of him and the call I owed him, last night; but could not undertake it in the circumstances, and sat still. The Ashburtons are here; and I called about Friday last: but that also does nothing for me; Lady A. seems quite out of humour with me at present (I suppose by reason of refusal in the Highland expedition), and truly I cannot help it, but must leave it to its course;—it and other things, one or two!

On one point I expect to surprise you: A Cubitt Builder6 is actually coming here (the unwearied swift Chorley has investigated and searched him out) to give me an exact survey, with exact estimate (time, money &c) of an impenetrably deaf apartt up aloft! I hardly think I shall dare to build just yet, after all. But these summer noises, in some of my neuralgic moods, drive me upon such speculations. I still hope and believe you will, in some magnanimous day, undertake the Ronca poultry; yes you will: really we should then be very well as we are; a nice house as need be! However, the man shall estimate.

Now write without fail; copiously as you can manage. My affection to my Mother; to Jean if still there; to Isabella & to everybody. Your affectionate / T. Carlyle