October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 26 July 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570726-TC-JWC-01; CL 32: 203-206


Chelsea, 26 july 1857

My Little Dear,—I know not what time I may have tomorrow (Monday); but I have happily an odd quarter of an hour today; so will write, and keep the thing open. Nothing is to be said; but I may as well say nothing in pen and ink.

I am up aloft at present, tho' I have mainly been sub dio [in the open air] today again. Yesterday & day before the wind had risen so high, and the temperature had so much sunk, I mounted aloft again;—with plenty of wind it is not so ill here. Besides, to confess truth, I have had for about a week past a fit (villainouse1 headaches, feverishness &c), whh I at first attributed to Oxtail soup, but now discover to be cold, caught sitting in the sweep of the wind under that awning:—I have put on my flannel again, taken other measures of a dietetic sort, and intend to be more careful how the wind is.— — I have been at Proofs again all day (second reading of the last set; whh will do); I am getting on, slow like an old spavined horse, but never giving in: the gloom of my soul is perfect at times, for I have “feverish headache,” and no human company, or absolutely none that is not ugly to me. One hope remains: that of working out of this sad element; getting my Book done,—and quitting London (I often think), or as good as quitting it,—for the sake of fresh air, and dairy-produce in abundance! (“Dinner, Sir!”—I will resume at night, then)—

8½ p.m. I am on the groundfloor now; have done dinner and tea; and will write a little longer here, before going to Latter-Day Pamphlets, the revising of whh is my next work.2

I saw nothing in my ride, except the genial breezy summer evg, beautiful even in London; and a crowd larger than any I ever saw in my life (100,000 some guessed it) gathered round a conical tent with “People's Band” in it, in the Regent's Park.3 I drew up for a moment to look at it from the distance: music (vile opera trash, I suppose) had paused; men, women, and children, all in their sunday clothes, and quiet tho' lively, were moving, minutely but incessantly, far and wide, on their green floor under the sky: poor souls, after all!4 I found something respectable in this their success in getting a little wind-music for themselves, since all else was denied. Hyde-Park, all but Kensington Gardens was as good as empty: Dizzy and his old wife5 crossed me, out taking an after dinner drive; they looked content, “peacefully sated with revenge and food,”6 and were not speaking one word. An Aristocratic clever-looking man's face saluted me from a cab on the streets; after some study, I made out that it must have been Sydney Herbert.7 I had called on old Lady Sandwich on my way up to Regent's Pk: does not know where Lord Ashbn is, since he went off; Bear8 is to go with him to Loch Luichart9 &c &c: she herself (end of this week) is going out to Addiscombe; invites me to come (of whh there was talk once before);—perhaps I may, for a day or two, if I can get ends to meet. Alas, alas! But my need of fresh air and dairy produce is considerable truly!— Lady S. talked much, that night at Bath House, of an account you had sent of your railway adventures.10 Poor old soul, she was about getting into crying today, when Strachey11 came in, & I went away.—

Tait paints incessantly here, and seems to me to make no progress at all.12 He has brought back his malodorous Photographing Apparatus; was fluffing about, all Saturday with it,—and getting views whh will certainly “please Mrs Carlyle.”

Nero is already begun grunting for a sally out: I have reserved the key while Anne is out; but I think I shall hardly use it. Nero lost me yesternight,—the intolerable messin that he is! I was hurrying home from a long walk, full of reflexions not pleasant; at the bottom of Cadogan Place13 11 o'clock struck,—time to hurry for porridge:—but the vermin was wanting; no whistle wd bring him: I had to go back, whistling desperately all the way, as far as the old Farrar-door (in Wilton Cresct),14 there the miserable quadruped appeared; and I nearly bullied the life out of him. He licked my milk-dish, at home, with “the same relish.” On the whole, however, my Dear, he is a real nuisance and absurdity in this house:—and I do earnestly request you to dispose of your hedgehog (at what he will bring),—and, with the proceeds, or on independent funds, to buy a proper nailing hammer in Edinr or Fife, and bring that home with you as something useful: I do seriously! Item, still more seriously, if you will buy me in Edinr the very biggest, best, stoutest-teethed Pocket-comb you can get, it will be a beneficence. I perceive you will have to set earnestly about getting me some wearing apparel (not to speak of shirts, flannels &c) when you come home! I have fallen quite shameful; I shall be naked altogether if you don't mind! Think of riding, most of the summer, with the Aristocracy of the Country (whenever I went into Hyde Park) in a duffle jacket whh, literally, was part of an old dressing-gown a year gone: is the like on record?— — Thackeray has lost his Election,15 as you see: what a big form of the species Dingle-dousie16 that is! Farie comes often to ride still; not a bright man, oh no,—but he is innocent, well-bred and kind; and his horse makes mine go.— Oh Dearest I cd write, all night, such babbles: but I must stop, and get to work. Fair sleep to you tonight in Haddington—God bless you ever.— T. Carlyle

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