January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO HORACE GRANT ; 17 March 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590317-TC-HGR-01; CL 35: 55-56


Chelsea, 17 March, 1859—

Dear Grant,

I am very glad to see your handwriting again; and was affected in heart as well as practically obliged by the kind Gift you sent me from your sickroom.1 Such a mess2 of Paper, all honestly made out of linen rags (as I perceive by this specimen), is a singular rarity in these days; and I mean to have my uses out of it by and by.

Nobody can compute the ridiculous but great and real sufferings I have had in regard to Paper, for the last 20 years! Ever since you ceased from my localities, I have been without pilot, in that bad matter, and have merely gone from sandbank to sandbank. If anybody, when I first entered London, had chopped 3 of my fingers off, and said, “Now I undertake that Paper, pens, ink, shall stand unimproved during your lifetime!” what a blessed bargain it had been in comparison!— About seven years ago, I was fairly drawn into iron pens; and go on in that fashion ever since,—cursing my stars rather less audibly than formerly; and I believe I must continue in the iron way (with dirty straw-paper &c), not to change too often. I still keep bad goose-quills (as you may notice); and no “pen” can replace to me some that I have had of your cutting, the last fairly good that were appointed me.

It is very sad all this that you have to report of yourself in the bodily way: such sufferings, I have often thought, are the most unmanageable that are laid upon clear-minded human creatures in this world. “Healthy,” in old German, is the selfsame word as “Holy”;3—and so in Nature I find the fact really to be; widely as we have wandered from it in our ways in this world!——One thing I perceive to be as good as certain: the fine weather, whh must be now at the threshold, will be greatly in favour of your kind of complaint; I promise myself all kinds of results out of this in the course of a month or two.

My Wife is usually one of the weakest of creatures (want of sleep, want of &c &c); but this warm winter she is decidedly better than in either of the last two. She sends you many kind and cordial regards.— I am myself busy as a ginhorse;4 driven on the whip (nothing else in this business), and in fact nearly flogged off my feet. My blessings with you, dear Grant!— T. Carlyle