July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 20 August 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550820-TC-JAC-01; CL 30: 39


Chelsea, 20 Augt, 1855—

My dear Brother,

Here is a Letter from your Köthen friend,1 which has just come to hand. If it relate to your German voyage, I ought to warn you, by my own sad experience, that in going from Leith2 it is always necessary to inquire first, whether the Steamer is at all adapted for Passengers; whether it is not a trading vessel, loaded to the water's edge, and tumbling about in a way to sicken anything but a seahorse; with the adjuncts of grease, delay, and every species of discomfort to the human inhabitant? How it may be to Hamburg I do not know; but such it was to Rotterdam in my time: I found, for all reasons, speed included, it would have been my clear course to go round by Hull, or even by London (which probably is the best route of all?) rather than depend upon Leith and its resources. From Hull, I understand, they have good Passenger ships: at Harwich3 I saw one good Steamer, which it seems gives you passage to and from, with an interval extending to three weeks; all for one guinea, as I was told:—this however was a ship to Antwerp, I think; how it may be with the Hamburg capabilities from this or other English harbours, I know not; but Tait or any of your stirring correspondents can learn: at all events you must not go from Leith without investigating these preliminaries. I got home from Suffolk on Saturday night;4 very much tired, having preferred to come by sea from Ipswich, which made a very nice sail, in a bright airy day, but occupied me 8 hours,—or from quitting my breakfast at Farlingay to sitting down to my dinner at Chelsea, 6 a.m to 6 p.m., a space of 12 hours. I believe I shall be better for my rustication; but have not yet got moored into smooth water altogether, to say distinctly how I am or may hope to be. This morning we were for Brighton; that is, Jane was, with Tait, whom I had undertaken to accompany (tho' loth): but the morning proving showery, with a menace of steady wet (which is now going off about Noon), we turned at London Bridge, and are here in our old quiet shop again. London is quite empty to us; Suffolk was in the middle of its harvest,—“wheat fully and average.” My affection to all! / T. Carlyle