October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO EDWARD FITZGERALD ; 18 October 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18561018-TC-EF-01; CL 32: 14-15


Chelsea, 18 Octr, 1856—

Dear Fitzgerald,

I am delighted at the news!1 There was a faint semi-invisible hint at such a thing in your former letter; but nobody, except myself, would take it; even my Wife was blind; and Donne,2 to whom I cautiously insinuated such a question, the other day, pleaded ignorant,—tho', he said, there had been for years back some rumour (unfounded, at least quite uncertain, rumour) of the kind, in reference to—the very Lady who now turns out to be the veritable Fact!3 For the rest his character of her was at once credible and superlatively favourable. Indeed it is difficult to fancy, if she resemble the picture of her Father (as drawn by Laurence, you, and the written documents in rhyme and otherwise)4 that Miss Barton can be other than an eligible wife. You may fairly look forward to a Home in this world henceforth such as you have not had before, and might very easily have missed ever to have.5 In all which I am the more interested as I hope to see said Home, with my own eyes, some day or other, and to have a kind of vested interest in the same for the rest of my time. I will say only, Long may you live, and be and do good in the land, you and the amiable Life-Partner you are now to have. And may the gods “send never worse among us!” as our Scotch people pray.

I went to the Highlands some three weeks after writing to you; and was tattered all to pieces by the crowded inns, screaming railways, midnight coaches, rains, storms, do-nothingisms and confusions of that surprising country. For a fortnight past, I am here, sunk overhead in Brandenburg,—feeling obliged to do the Bad Book or go to Bedlam. My head feels as if half-full of molten lead (molten, only witht heat); and is capable of nothing;—but I will make it work! I have got an amanuensis little man; I am in great need of a Horse, and making quest that way. If you anywhere fell in with a likely “Dump,”6 quiet, sure, and of fair riding capabilities— But how can a man in your case think of “Dumps”?— Happiness be with you always, dear F.

Yours sincerely / T. Carlyle 7