July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 28 July 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550728-TC-JAC-01; CL 30: 10-12


Chelsea, 28 july, 1855—

My dear Brother,

I am very glad to hear from you again, and nothing but good news, nothing that one can call bad. I did not know I was in your debt; thought it was the other way: but indeed that would not have signified, had there been anything to say. I have been unusually quiet ever since you went away; dreadfully held down too with the “effects of heat,” for some time,—till the new temperature became habitual: of late, especially ever since the Brighton rattle of 200 miles,1 I have been fully as well as before, rather better than otherwise. And now the fury of the heat, I suppose, is quite out: at least we are drenched to the centre; two such days of pouring wet (yesterday and the day before) as I hardly ever saw: we are very quiet, too, in the night;—and on the whole I am doing better than some time ago.

We have made no arrangement for going out of Town. There was to be a visit, in these very days, to a certain Marquis of Downshire (or Marchioness and Plattnauer,2 on the score of “examining some Historical Papers” of the house; which do not concern me at all);—which broke down (on my side) when it came to the point. Fitzgerald offers me a week of Cottage (excellent milk, do pony & gig, do &c &c) on the Suffolk shore:3 I keep that as a refuge against any intolerable blaze of heat;—may perhaps run out thither, if there is a Steamer to Ipswich. Not to speak of other possibilities. In short, I should not wonder if we staid here, or nearly staid, the same as last year. All people are getting away; Town three-parts empty already: once they are gone, one is amazingly quiet, and not ill off for temperature, if the wind will blow. Scotsbrig—alas, alas, there are such thoughts connected with Scotsbrig,—I dare not think of it at present; nor of the kind souls that are there left to me! I guess in fact there ought to be no attempt that way, just now.

I am getting but ill forward with my work; yet I never altogether throw it up any day; therefore shall perhaps make progress, tho' at the sixth part of average speed. “Ich hab' mein Sach' auf Nichts gestellt”;4 I admit quietly that my work never can have much value, and that what little it may have will seem naught or a minus quantity to the beautiful British Public of these times: a candid recognition of these facts contributes somewhat to composure of mind in my present circumstances.

Alan Ker sends me another Letter from the Tropical Regions; which is inclosed here,—to be burnt by you when read. His Father (from Manchester) applied to me lately for a Testimony about Alan; for whom they were endeavouring to get some better appointment in the judge line.5 I wrote the required Testificate immediately; for which the old man seemed grateful. I know not if Lord John's disappearance will make a difference; but they seemed to expect success, had he staid.6— Duffy is about setting off for Australia; sick of Irish politics, and recognising the Irish difficulty to be insoluble for him.7 Poor fellow;8 something good and genial in the man, which will come out in that new scene perhaps. Poor Lucas is come home from Rome, re infectâ [the business being unfinished]; and they say (the Doctors, whom I have known commit mistakes, say) he is hopelessly gone in disease of the heart!9 Let us hope, not. I have not seen him at all; he is in Brighton, forbidden to consort with much company.

Tell me whether Jamie prospered at Carlisle! Tell me all manner of details about poor old Annandale and the friends I have still left me there. Affectionate regards to Jamie, Isabella and the Household. Adieu, dear Brother. I am ever yours

T. Carlyle

Farie, I think, is gone to Scotland; his Haxthn (after endless haggling) is at present under the eye of one Taylor, a Chapman's man;10—whh will do very well. The Erskines have written twice: Linlathen, no news.11 The Brownings are here; have not come yet;—hot in chase of “spirit-rapping,”12 we hear— Ach Gott! Neuberg as fat as ever.