1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO DAVID HOPE; 4 November 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18541104-TC-DH-01; CL 29: 190-191


Chelsea, 4 Novr, 1854—

Dear Hope,

I have done nothing in the reviewing way for very many years back; and am so busy, at any rate, with an abstruse mass of prose matter that I cannot go into the poetic line at all,1—but must leave “Hannah and her chickens” to battle with the Gled on their own footing, as they best may!2 For your sake, or to oblige any friend of yours, I should have been very glad: but, on the whole, even to Mr. Cochrane3 it could not be of much real service, or perhaps of any at all,—if not even of less than none. So we leave it there.

I have not been in Annandale, nor indeed have quitted home at all, since the sad errand I had at Christmas last. I am fond enough of my poor old country; but feel very like a ghost when I go to it now. My work is not quite done either; my only remedy for all things is, to stand well to that. If I only could;—but alas, tho' “the spirit is willing” &c &c.4

Poor Grahame is indeed getting very dim: pray be kind to him among you, for he is a right good soul, and never did other than kindness to any friend,—or to any enemy, I might almost say, if he ever had one! I am glad to think of my old friend and benefactor, Mr. Johnstone, as returned to his native region, after so many wanderings.5 May all good that can be yet possible wait on him there. It is a long time now since he drilled me in the syntaxes; and, with beneficent mockery and otherwise, brought me to understand that I as yet understood nothing.

My Sister, Mrs Aitken, will perhaps have called upon you (or perhaps not) before you read this. She is in Glasgow, I believe, for a couple of days just about now; looking into her eldest Boy's position with her own eyes: if help to her, in any form, lay in your course, I am sure it would be ready enough on demand. My poor Brother John is in Edinburgh, for the present week; his principal employment lately has been the sorting up of sad mortuary details; and no doubt his outlook is sorrowfully changed,—and I suppose, very uncertain as yet.6 I remain, in haste, but heartily as ever, Yours faithfully / T. Carlyle.