October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 13 July 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570713-TC-JWC-01; CL 32: 180-183


Chelsea, 14 [13] july, 1857—

My dear you are already getting terribly deficient in writing; I made sure of a Letter at least today: but 3 o'clock is here, Piper1 past witht calling: how is this? To think of valid excuses that there might be, is too frightful! And yet I continually remember that horrid bath you had in the railway night. I beg of you to write immediately, and tell me the truth about yourself. At other times I wd not make the writing of Notes to me a burden to you; but you must not leave me in any suspense as the above. You know, I doubt not, how pleasant all Letters of yours are to me, and what a treat one daily or oftener wd be; but it shall remain in the hands of your own charity, except as regards health-bulletins: with these I cannot dispense!

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Thomas Carlyle smoking under the awning, 5 Cheyne Row, by Robert Scott Tait, 29 July 1857

Courtesy of Edinburgh University Library


This is your birthday; dear little soul, may God grant us only many of them,—I think now and then I could dispense with all other blessings! Our years have been well laden with sorrows, a quite sufficient ballast allowed us; but while we are together here, there is always a world left. I am not to send you any Gift, other than this scrap of Paper; but I might give you California, and not mean more than perhaps I do. And so may there be many years; and (as poor Irving used to say) the worst of them over!—

All is going on here in a tolerable sort. Dog Nero is wriggling himself upon the dry grass beside me; canaries are bursting now and then into song; I watered the two vegetable individualities, and (except that a yellow scoundrel is grinding his organ audibly) things are all well. I have not indeed slept well, these three nights; but perhaps it was partly want of walking enough. I am dieted reasonably: brown-soups and pudding today, for example;—Anne even undertakes to make me porridge; she did it too, on Saturday night, really not so very ill. I had decided on renouncing my milk otherwise:—two nights I took the cream off it, hid it below one of the “noblemen”2 in the Garden, and it was as sweet as nuts in the morning! But porridge (after a long walk) will be a real improvement. Our weather has grown hot, hot: I have fled the garret, and got under the awning altogether,—today and yesterday for the whole day. Waste-basket for papers, and Butler's tray3 for Books, are in requisition: you never saw a nicer awning than I have now made it, by readjusting the ropes;—and I even get some shadow of work done in it, on these more wholesome terms. Nay today I had my breakfast there,—wished you had been with me on such a pastoral occasion.

Sir Colin Campbell, Tait tells me, is off yesterday morning (quite on the sudden, hardly 12 hours warning) to look after the Army in India, from whh there are still bad news.4 Anson, the late Sham Commander, is dead of cholera.5 That is the only public news. Ld Ashburton never turned up again; I believe he goes for the Highlands this week. Milnes's ‘tea’ turned out to be a Soiree; inexpressibly choking and wearisome to me: Mrs Crowe6 &c there, uglier than ever. Allingham7 walked to this door with me: ach Himmel [oh Heaven]; and “the Beauty”8 was here one day, safe back.9 Printing is slow; my heart is oftenest very heavy.— Fuz applies for another dinnerparty—both of us;—not knowing that you are off. “Sir de Lacy,” and soldier science,10 is the pretext; I will shirk if I can possibly. Diggers have set to picking and thumping in Gilchrist's Garden,11 and the yellow friend is unwearied. God grant thou be well, Dearest! Adieu

T. Carlyle