August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JWC ; 31 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570831-TC-JWC-01; CL 33: 59-61


Chelsea, 31 Augt, 1857–

Haddington is not a handy place for posts; that is one fault of it. I got no Letter all Saturday, and had given it up, which rather grieved me in the afternoon; but there was still hope of 6 p.m., with whh to go riding. Nothing still! And so after giving it up altogether, something came at eight.— Today (near 4 p.m. now) has been barren too: but it is still possible? On the whole I pronounce that Rd Hill1 very probably a charlatan (dancing it on the tight-rope before an enlightened long-eared Public and Times Newspaper);—very probably a charlatan, and certainly a great nuisance as matters are,—till you get home, that is to say. I have been driven in by stress of weath[er]:2 a heavy shower began sputtering, has now abt fallen; I brot in my goods, table, desk &c with a big umbrella screening; and am now seated close before the sideboard, Screen breaking the draught from the front windows. I was upstairs first of all for an hour and half, dealing with rubbish; but it was like to choke me, so close and sultry, till I fled out of doors. I have had a terrible bout with Proofs and confusions since Wedny last all the way; I started yesterday in a desperate humour (having reinforced myself by an hour-and-halfs walk the night before): I worked all day,—obliged to come down at last, tho' it was very windy;—refused to ride, dine or stir till I got thro' the horror; and did actually manage it, dinner and all, before sunset. Immense walk with Nero then, in the cool evg, which was very pleasant, very beneficial in the headache way. Tea at home,—made by myself down stairs abt 10, in the absence of Anne (as had been bargained):—it was really a pleasant ploy. But the fact is, I am out of sorts for days past;—and know what is the matter with me, and will take it in hand this very day.

Lady Sandh & Miss Raikes3 came in on me yesterday: Lady S. is probably writing today, for she took your address. And I am to go and dine with her “some evg at six”;—well, well. Tears fill her eyes now and then, poor old woman: but she has a wonderful spirit.

Three Letters came today, one from Varnhagen, do from Pertz4 (of Berlin, who has found out the Lady-Wm-Russell Picture,5 abt a year after we ourselves had!) and one from Lord Ashbn, not quite such a wind-egg [unproductive egg] as the last,—to whh it is a supplement, for there had no ansr gone yet. I will send enough of them next time; but really have not got them read yet.— — Woolner's note came at 2; I ran out to meet it, but it was not yours!

An accursed “yellow scoundrel” has just established himself at the corner of the street: it is really better that I go out and walk for half an hour, tho' there is still rain falling.— Perhaps a Letter will yet come: never fret if it don't. Heaven grant it may only bring good news when it does come!—

Adieu, dearest, I shall have some work done, I hope, before tomorrow this time, and so be better.— A black death-announcet “Mrs Johnstone 4 Buccleugh Place Edinr,” came on Saty: who cd it be? I sent to John; he does not know. It must be poor Meg Dodds6 I think. Alas, alas!— Yours while life is.

T. Carlyle