1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 13 January 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550113-TC-JAC-01; CL 29: 236-238


Chelsea, 13 jany, 1855—

My dear Brother,

I got your Letter; and am very glad to hear you are getting on in a tolerable way. Solitude is not very good, at least entire solitude; but it is sometimes the lesser evil of two: I myself here am as lonely an individual in these days and weeks as could be found in Victoria's dominions; I never get out till nightfall, see oftenest not a face recogniseable by me; read all the evening (poor Jane, who is very bilious and feckless, sitting very silent in some analogous employment); and literally see no stranger (hardly Neuberg with his “State-Paper” report1 on the Sunday evg, who is very dull moreover), and speak, or except in the way of monologue can speak, very few words indeed in the course of the day!— I do find it very dark and gloomy, and could be infinitely cheered by a genial interchange of thoughts with any suitable human creature: but alas, the “suitable,” there are none suitable, and indeed one is very hard to “suit” in certain conditions!— At least one gets on with work, a degree better, than by grinning away one's time in nonsense;—and that ought to suffice for the present. I hope always there will be a brighter blink of weather coming for us all, by and by; and that we shall look ahead again over God's sky with less of an utterly homeless feeling than is common among us just now. Courage! Courage!—

I tried often for a saunter thro' the Brompton place;2 had arrived there once, and found the gates shut, and repeatedly had given it up on getting out of doors in anticipation of such a thing. However, the day before your Letter came, I had actually been there, and looked at what interests us. I should not have noticed any change of position since you and I were there together; however, it now certainly is in the spot I had marked by the neighbouring monuments. All is sleek, trim and proper there: I ran over the Inscription (of course not with much scrutiny, yet so as to read it); and I do not think there is the least change in it. I mean to go the first day I can manage it, and examine expressly that I may be able to give you assurance; but in the mean time I consider that practically there is next to no doubt, or no doubt at all, about it.3

Jean sent me a nice little pair of wristikins by way of new-years gift; poor soul, I am sorry about that finger of hers,—but she takes it with great rüstigkeit [robustness], and is a courageous soul. The knitting of the comforter has been prohibited: I have got one here, which I have never once worn.— I am sorry too about that Boy of Jean's. Can nothing be done to help him at all towards a place of some kind in Glasgow? I am deeply ignorant of the lie of affairs there. I do not even know Glen's Address; nor whether he is the man that could help effectually if he were never so zealous?—

By all means get rid of those Books. No kind of goods is more worthless, if you do not use them; or is more difficult to keep from coming to loss and damage. I suppose “Corn in bond” (with “weevils” &c acting on it) is not much worse.— Today there came a Catalogue from one Kerslake in Bristol,4 who seems to drive a trade in that kind, and sells dear enough, however he may buy. I send you the Catalogue, to bring you in mind of him, if you have not got it otherwise.

The Ronca neighbours (poor reeky souls) are to remove soon; it wd appear the mad half-owner5 is now dead; at any rate the House is to be sold, repaired &c;—and now instead of the noise of dollies6 with their &c, may be expected that of pianos again with theirs! Jane is positively sorry, the poor wretches have been so quiet for the last year: I am not positively sorry;—it is indeed a small matter, and since it is to change, may grow better as readily as worse.— — But my time is up, quite up! Adieu dear Brother for this day. Yours ever

T. Carlyle