1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO C. G. DUFFY; 22 June 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540622-TC-CGD-01; CL 29: 116-117


Chelsea, 22 june 1854—

Dear Duffy,

I have called repeatedly at your place, but without any definite answer, till sunday last, when the little girl informed me you were “not to come back this season”!1 “Back” from Dublin or where, she could not say; nor, indeed, give any other response at all, except as to the negative fact, which has occasioned various confused reflexions in me ever since. Once, in the Nation, I noticed the address of Malvern2 on one of your Papers; and a little while before, I had seen with concern that some near relative3 had been taken from you by death:—pray, on all accounts, write me immediately a single word, wherever you may be (at Malvern still, as I could guess), to put an end to the freaks of imagination at least. Something evidently is wrong, or else I should have seen you long ago: how much may be wrong, it is better to know, than to keep guessing, in the morbid humour one gets into. Alas, calamities abound, and sorrows of a harsh nature and also of a soft; and there is no want of burdens for the poor pilgrim in this world,—who often gets foot-sore too, not so able to struggle along, with his load. I am afraid you are not yourself in good health, in addition to all; but may have gone to Malvern,—where indeed the fresh hill-breezes may do you good, tho' the medical steepings &c not very much.

I am myself in rather poor case this long while; decidedly below par in bodily health, and with a very fair proportion of other things to keep my spirits from rising above their due level! My work, too, which ought to be the consolation for all sorrows, and is really the only conquest one can make in this world,—sticks obstinately in the slough, these many long months, let me tug and wriggle as I will: in fact it is the most ungainly job I ever had; and fire enough to burn up such a mass of sordid litter, and extract the thread of gold out of it (if there be any in it), is actually not at my disposal in my present mood. Let us hope, let us hope, nevertheless!— National Palaver4 and its affairs are without interest to me altogether, of late; and, in fact, lie below the horizon, as a thing I have no interest in. Crystal Palace, Turk War, Policy of Lord John, do do. Not an ideal heroic world this; no, not by any means!— Yours ever truly / T. Carlyle