October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 21 March 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570321-TC-JAC-01; CL 32: 106-107


Chelsea, Friday 4½ p.m. 21 March, 1857—

My dear Brother

We are always in considerable confusion here, sometimes in considerable distress, or I wd have written to you sooner. Poor Jane does not get better: she has twice been evidently on the recovering hand, but has both times (the first time very badly) relapsed:1 she is now on the second recovery (I at last hope) from a slighter check she had about a week ago. Nothing serious seems to me to be wrong; the cough, tho’ teasing and violent, has a superficial quality, I always flatter myself. But five months of pining and confinement,—want of sleep sometimes total, and always partial; rare access to the free air, &c &c: all this is very bad. We have never had a Doctor, neither of us knowing of any in the least likely to help, had our anxiety to have one been greater: sometimes, in bad moments, I think there ought to be one,—she also, I can now see, is occasionally disheartened, but only occasionally. On the whole if you happen to know of anybody, give us his name. Small help to be found that way, if one have not special guidance! Locock went to Nice,2 pocketed his £1,000 (a nice fee for one day),—and, I seriously believe, did nothing but ill,—confirmed all that the Family Dr3 said, and expressed terror over it, whh the Fy Dr refused and refuses to entertain;—tho’ matters wear a very sickly aspect there Locock “has made a cure” &c &c. One rather feels as if a horsewhipping were not inappropriate to such a curative process.

I have put away “Peesweep,”—such was the title of unfortunate Wagner-Martin in late weeks; title rather descriptive of him. He was unhappy, and the cause of more unhappiness. Like to drive me distracted, sometimes, with his hysterical futilities,—poor soul. The ‘whistling thro’ the nose’ (in breathing in cold weather) made me send him home “to work”; at home or at the Museum, he was futile, chaotic not cosmic: “too weak for the place.” I got on perceptibly better since his unbeautiful face was veiled from me. Poor soul, we shall have a bout still before there can be some new outlet found for him. But his “help” I will have no more of, whatever come.

I begin to long for news from Scotsbrig.— Donne the Librarian has resigned;4 great fuss choosing another, whh I keep aloof from. James Hannay Candidate M.P. for Dumfries5 is a scrub of a creature, writing for Newspapers; applies to me this morning to give him a line.— Mit nichten [nothing doing]. My Horse came at the due hour; but it is now five, and I am still here! Adieu. Your affectionate / T. Carlyle