August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO CHARLES BUTLER ; 13 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570813-TC-CBU-01; CL 33: e1


Chelsea, London, 13 Augt, 1857—

My dear Sir,

Last night I had the pleasure of receiving your letter, with Draught for £14 interest on Bond; which comes punctually as the season of the Year itself,—and with which I am just about walking out, to put it into the Banker's hand.1 I am your debtor as always, and often think of the great pains you take, and have taken, about my small affairs,—with a feeling which is not small.

Some three months hence I shall likely have a £5002 which I may as well send to you, for investment, on your own judgement where safest and best. If about that time, you could bethink you of directing me how to do in sending that sum—But indeed that is a rather idle request upon a man so busy: I shall learn by the Banker here, readily enough, what the course is!

Ever since you last heard of me, I have been held like a Convict on the Treadwheel;3 and there is still another year of it to come, before I can slip my chains, and have the best part of my job over. Such a job as I would not do again for the fee-simple of the Prussian Kingdom and of the next to it;—far excelling, in misery and toil to me, all the jobs I ever had before! I ride much; and keep away from all mankind and their “gaities” to me there is nothing “gay” allotted;—and I must husband myself and get thro' this thing, or it will be worse for me.4

My poor wife had a bad winter in respect of health: confined to the House, strict prisoner, for 5 or 6 months, till the summer came fairly back to us; and then left as weak as one might expect. Several weeks ago, I sent her off to Scotland to be out of this roasting Babylon: she is there, among kind old friends and early scenes;5 and I hope will come back to me before long, a little refitted.—This is the hottest summer of all the 24 I have had in London: Corn-harvest said to be excellent;6—a good thing, if only we can make a good use of it! But that latter clause I reckon more uncertain,—I privately, now and then. “Trade” with its etceteras is all in its explosive efflorescence (California gold, I imagine, much concerned in the phenomenon);7 and there never was as much “wealth” in the pockets of England,—tho' perhaps in the heart of it, the head of it, and other noble departments, there has very often indeed been a greater overplus! Well; they will go the length of their tether in spite of my croaking: so I hold my tongue.

India,—in the private details as to those poor English women especially,—is a horror of horrors: it is no question they will extinguish those hyaena mutineers of theirs;8 but if they cannot learn to command better (especially to command Armies better), I had rather they came home from India.9—Adieu my dear Sir. With many thanks and regards, I am / Yours always / T. Carlyle