July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 19 November 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18551119-TC-JAC-01; CL 30: 118-120


Chelsea, 19 Novr, 1855—

My dear Brother,

I got your second Note; thanks for writing to me again: I answered the first one obliquely by some ultimate instructions to Garthwaite, who I suppose has now got done with his furnishings of me agt the winter cold. If so, bid him send his acct (or give it you to bring, along with the corpora facti [work completed] when you return hither), and I will pay him by a line upon the Bank.

We have nothing new here, nothing much wrong,—only abt 10 days ago, at a dinner with Milnes (which I was forced to, in damp cab, with various bother and confusion before, during and after) I caught a dirty cold, whh has somewhat hind[e]red1 my affairs ever since, and still does, tho' now apparently vanquished, and fast upon the retreat. I have also had a very great deal of trouble again with those Johnson Old women at Deptford,—getting a Subscription in The Times for them, along with Dickens and Forster; we found there wd be nothing for it but coming to that; so we set upon it, 1st of this month. Subscription goes on wonderfully, above Half of it got (freely as the dew falls), and the other steadily coming day by day. But the bother, the corresponding, the—Of all which I had as little need as most of my neighbours! But there was no help for it; I must only take care again, and will. Thomas Erskine saddled me with that, the good man, but the inconsiderate;2 I think he shd rather have taken it upon himself,—as a man with less not with more already on his back than I. However, it is going on; and shall be done; and shall probably be among the last speculations of that kind I engage in. My “work” (thrice unfortunate “work”!) suffers sensibly from these interruptions; and tho' I stick to it day after day, like glue, the progress is imperfect in the extreme. It shall not beat me wholly if I can help it!—

Yesternight one Whitworth, of Manchester, a good man, the first of extant Smiths, called upon us: head like a dog's rather (sloping brows, prominent eyes &c), but full of good humour, health, and canine or boverine intelligance: a pleasant interlude to the Neuberg melody (whh is somewhat scraggy, and monotonous by repitition,3—jew's-harpish at best!)—Whitworth is making Anti-Minié rifles4 for the government; has devised a mode of boring, endless new and newest modes, and has now “rifles whh can shoot about 2 miles,” or nearly that distance!5 That ought to do, in the rifle direction.— He went away before Neuberg:—really I don't remember meeting any notabler creature for some weeks past.

Besides all this we are in “the gloomy month of November when the people of England hang and drown themselves!”6 Too literally so. One day we had, or 2 nights and a day, of regular London Fog: all days are dark, dirty and grim,—today a rain from the east. Cold enough, unless you go out and walk agt them; sun never visible; sky indefinite altogether, and of the colour of pig-iron, when it is not wholly soot-brown and obliterated. Patience, patience: this dirty catarrh will go, these dirty bothers will go (or exchange themselves for others), and we shall make better way.

Farie came down one night, nearly killed us with dulness; happily has not come back.— It is time I were out; for I have still to bathe &c, having slept far too long, or rather lain in bed too long, uncertain what hour it might be, and much surprised, when I did decide on opening my door to look at the watch with effect!—

Kind regards to Jamie and Isabella; to Jean especially, when you write thither.— Two persons applied to me for your address (one from Newcastle, one an Ogilvy character),7 to both of whom I sent it. Adieu dear Brother, I will add no more today.

Yours ever affectionately /

T. Carlyle