1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 10 February 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540210-TC-JAC-01; CL 29: 28-30


Chelsea, 10 feby, 1854—

My dear Brother,

I have neither time nor paper today; but before the week end (which yours by the Moffat post-rules is now doing) I must acknowledge the reception of your two Notes; for which I am much obliged: they are almost my only correspondence for 8 days past, and I am always very glad of them or the like of them. Poor old “Parliament”!1 His death comes on me with a heavy dull impressiveness; like a blow from a sack. He was one of the most gross and low-sunk of men: but I remember him out of early youth; a boy with me at Hoddam school (some 5 or 6 years older only), where they used to upbraid him with being “born in a chaise, and carried to Annan in a basket”: then at Edinr, how memorable: and now he has fallen off his chair, smoking; and sunk away forever under ground! I feel on such occasions as if another shilling were taken out of a purse where there are now but few; and soon there will be no companions of one's young years left on the Earth at all. A prospect of huge solitude rises ahead of the old man. Yet age too has or may have, its advantages, its blessednesses, and valiant victories: let us try for these!

I did not mean that the Cholera Pamphlet2 shd be sent to you with industry, but that it should come when you came within arm's length of it. I want nothing more of the letters; I think of it very much as you seem to do,—found it clever, vivid, “headlong,” and rather explanatory of Cholera to me.— I have not written to Jean yet, and ought to have.

I am better in respect to bile; two blue pills, in near succession, did me a visible benefit. I am still weak enough; full of weakness; but hope to gather strength, and clearness withal, by force of being quiet.— We have got spring weather, very cold, within a week; skies quite vernal in complexion, now and then wrinkled into sleety storms; air always brisk, which is better than the muggy kind with streets of black-soap! I am not absolutely idle; but nobody can succeed worse with work: ah me, ah me!

Many new known faces turn up on the streets, since Parlt met:3 we have a pass or two of talk; which does me little good, I must own, for most part; yet perhaps is better than flat silence,—perhaps not? The other night, Henry Inglis, by volunteer appointt, came to us; brought one Ricardo (more than half-drunk) in his train, and one Duff, an innocent ingenious babe, in red hair and beard, member for the Elgin burroughs. Ricardo, also and more conspicuously member for something,4 is a Jew of the deepest type, black hooknosed Jew, with the mouth of a shark; coarse, savage, infidel, hungry,—and with considerable strength of heart, head and jaw. He went early away; the rest (to whom Ape Lewes, and an unknown Natural Philosopher sometimes seen here with him, had accidentally joined themselves)5 staid long. Nichts zu bedeuten [It is of no importance]. Hy Inglis is getting fat and flabby; not a bad fellow either, with a dash of chivalrous force and mockery amid his lazy oil; but good for little. He is in the “Justice for Scotland” party.6

I sympathize with you in your chace for dwellings! I wish you had fixed; but you cannot yet. Did Dumfries yield anything? A country house called Cullivat (?) in that neighbourhood used to invite us.7— No more, no more; for Jane is waiting at the London Library, and I am 10 min. over time!

Ever your affecte /

T. Carlyle