August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JWC ; 1 September 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570901-TC-JWC-01; CL 33: 63-64


Chelsea, 1 Septr, 1857–

I am better today, dear Goody of my heart, and have got a piece of work done; I hope you do not mind transient grumblings, knowing the nature of the beast by this time. “Yellow scoundrels,” tho' I speak of them so often, really are not troublesome to speak of; very many days they do not come at all, and if I were always tolerably well, I shd care little about them. A young lady very tempestuous on the piano at one of these open back windows (No 8 or 7 perhaps)1 really does me no ill almost; nor does yr friend with the accordion,2 he rather tickles me (like a Nigger song) such enthusiasm is in him about nothing at all; and when he plays “Ye banks and braes,”3 I almost like him. Never mind me and my grumblings.

The Letter was here when I got in from riding; and so nice, cheery and good a Letter to read over one's tea,—with Nero waiting for the grounds and powder of crumbs! Thank you, good little Being;—and beware, I entreat you, of exposures, colds, and don't come home “damaged” again. I have been thinking a good deal about your journey, and how it cd be divided. Unless you can get some companion and take a hotel for lodging, which I hardly hope,—there is no method visible to me but this one: To go fairly back to Edinr, and start there by the Caledonian and “North-Western” route, as we call it here. That really can be done. The difference of distance from London to Edinr is only a few miles; and I believe the N. Westn people usually do it in rather less time. You may have two restings, or you may have three, by that route. Ticket by Express Train to Liverpool, if you prefer two,—you remember we met Alick and his wife4 last year: I think it will be not much farther (if anything) than from here to Liverpool; a thing to be done in 6 or 7 hours at farthest. From Liverpl home, you already know that business.— If you want three stoppings, go by any good train to Scotsbrig;—and n.b. make Jamie drive you up to Lockerby next day for the Express Train; you will thus avoid the dreary loitering at Carlisle;—and have near 2 hours less of railing that day than you wd if starting in Edinr.5— — I think this is perhaps really the eligible method. But you must think it over well; and do not hurry yourself or your good old Ladies: be deliberate and do everything for the wisest.

We have had plunges of rain; and the weather is still stagnantly hot: garret wd not do today either after an hour; nothing for it Water-Butt again;—and it has taken (I mean the sky has) to raining sharp tinkling dust upon me, actual dust of cinders as I shall answer! Piper is dreadfully off; charlatan Rowland (intent on saving £1 per week to frugal impoverished Chelsea) has altered every man's course and lengthened it this day,6—one Postman, or fraction of one, saved to Chelsea; another turned off for complaining; chaos come again to them and us, and a possibility of saving £1 sterling henceforth. If that man hung in my grip, I should be apt to shake him a little, and admonish!— “Ready Sir!”7 some time ago, so adieu, dearest. Yours T. Carlyle