July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO JWC ; 29 July 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580729-TC-JWC-01; CL 34: 81-82


The Gill, 29 july, 1858—

Dearest, I am chaced1 for time this day at a most foolish rate; but cannot forbear sending you a word: poor soul, so involved in the “cares of cloth” and other businesses as you must now be! Lord Ashburton writes this morning that he found you “looking much better than when he saw you last”:—I only wish I could believe him an accurate reporter; but alas—! He says farther you are for Sherborne2 after Bay House; and will not go to Scotland “charm I never so wildly,”—that is his witty phrase. On the whole his Letter did me good, in the absence of one from yourself. He and I had a little bit of business to do, whh I will tell you about by and by: it is now got as good as finished in a satisfactory way.

This will find you in the agonies of Packing. If you are writing today as I think likely, do not bother yourself with any trouble of writing to me,—unless a vacant moment turn up of itself. I shd like to know what train you go by on Saturday; my thoughts will probably accompany you very strictly, if I know the hour. Nero,—do you take Nero? I am sorry for the wretched Dog and his abstruse Town-life. But perhaps it will not do to fret yourself with him either. Unless you could resolve to be open, and let him take his fate unsmuggled? At Bay House there is no game; he wd not be much in the way, poor wretch. I have often wished I had him here, beside this black young Collie (foolisher than himself), with whom, if not with the Gander &c, he might fraternise. Thousands of rabbits run skipping in the woods (and turnip-fields) all round: the bigger kind, with their tails turned up, have a gait and pace whh often remind me of that less fortunate quadruped.

Sometimes I have asked myself, “Will not she perhaps take Charlotte3 with her?” But the answer was, “No!” On the whole, what have you done with Charlotte, with the House and the Etcetera?— Jean talks here of an eligible servant (now in Elliock House,4 and decided to leave) who might be had: but I have no assurance that she is worth importing;—could inquire however if you gave command.

On Saturday I cannot expect the least word from you: but at Alverstoke the Sunday (you are to remember) is a Post-day to and from: if your Letters leave about 5 p.m. they will get hither as soon as from Chelsea; and London pushes them on, Sunday as well as any other day. Remember this point.— It was the second vol of Tourgueneff,5 was it not, that you never read? I have read it out all but one Tale;—I am sorry to say I employed most of yesterday in that idle operation. It is inferior considerably to vol. I, but still worth reading. A fine faculty is in that Russian big man; the heart of him somewhat too sensual, but full of noble melancholy, and fine qualities; a right gift of humour the most marked defect in his outfit. George Sand & Company have done him considerable mischief too.6 You shall have his volume at Bay House one morning: and the Chasseur7 too if you like.

Something else I had to say, had not I,—but have forgotten what. Nothing of the least moment, you may be well sure!— Lord Ashburton promises me a “Cart to Stralsund,” as if it were an easy certainty! There are steamers from Newcastle to Hamburg: that is the surest resource, failing others. Oh my Dearest, may thy little Journey go well! This is one of the finest days in Nature; and perhaps the beginning of steadily good weather. May it last over Saturday at least. Be wise at any rate, and take care, take care.

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle