October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 22 May 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570522-TC-JAC-01; CL 32: 150-151


Chelsea, 22 May, 1857—

Dear Brother,

We are going on here pretty much in our old feckless way; not worse in health; on the contrary, decidedly better in that respect, one of us, tho' both still weak as need be. Jane has got rid of her express cold, since the weather mended; goes out daily, sleeps considerably better, tho' still indifferently; can eat a little too, and in short is decidedly improving: but she is in such a state of feebleness and thinness as I never saw her before; and feels tired with the slightest exertion, and overset with the slightest emotion. For above a fortnight past the weather has been excellent, sunny warmth and beauty as of real May,—tho' always with a kind of easterly feeling even in the west wind. Today, after some brewing for the last two days, rain has diligently begun; mud the rule out of doors; and I suppose there will be no ride for me, at least none at the common hour. Jane, unless it prove too wet, is to get into the country tomorrow,—a beautiful place, called East Hampstead Park, a ten miles beyond Windsor, belonging to the Marquis-Downshire people (with whom is Plattnauer for Tutor); I have seen the Marchioness and children, never yet the Ms who seems to be a kind of original in his way, but a man of real worth and humanity;—I said “but"; and perhaps it ought to have been “and"? He is nephew of Ld George Hill1 whom you have heard me speak of. For two years past there has been, on the part of the Lady chiefly some negociation abt a visit out thither: Jane who has now made acquaintance, and likes the Lady not a little, is now (by diplomacy of mine) brot to do the visit, first-visit at least, herself;—and I calculate it will be useful to her for a few days. As many days as she can stand; not above 3 or 4, I guess.

As to myself I crawl along; “working” (if it can be called work, which is rather obstinate puddling and attempts to work) on such terms as please me very ill. However, we are actually going to Press; “specimen page” sent today: and if I can hold out for another twelve month, there will be a door of deliverance opened. Steady, then! Inch by inch, even in our spent condition, we shall get the rubbish mountain dug away perhaps, and see a better outlook!—

I got a great blow by that death you alluded to, whh was totally unexpected to me; and the thought of it, widening ever more as I think farther of it, is likely to be a heaviness of heart to me for a long time coming. I have indeed lost such a friend as I never had, nor am again in the least likelihood to have, in this stranger world: a magnanimous and beautiful soul, whh had furnished the English Earth and made it homelike to me in many ways, is not now here. Monday gone a week,2 I went down to The Grange, some 20 or more volunteer strangers of us; I never saw a sadder funeral Not since our Mother's has there been to me anything resembling it. But I ought to have done. Write when you have leisure and charity.

Yours /


I inclose one of the “specimen pages,”—tho’ a smaller type (5 to 4 thriftier) is to be the preferred one, I believe.3