October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


JWC TO JEAN CARLYLE; 23 January 1832; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18320123-JWC-JCA-01; CL 6:100-102.


[23? January 1832]

My dear Jane

You do not write to me; but you write1 and I am content. The proverb says “it is not lost that a friend gets.” to which I readily accede, the more readily because a letter with us is always regarded as a common good.

I do not forget you in London; as you predicted—my recollections of all I love are more vivid than at any former period. Often when I have been lying ill here amongst strangers, it has been my pleasantest thought that there were kind hearts at ho[me] to whom my sickness would not be a weariness; to whom I could return out of all this hubbub with affection and trust. Not that I am not kindly used here—from the Noble Lady down to the Mistress of the Lodging, I have everywhere found unlooked for civility and at least the show of kindness. With the Noble lady however, I may mention my intercourse seems to be dying an easy natural death. Now that we know each other the “fine en-thu-si-asm”2 cannot be kept alive without more hypocrisy than one of us at least can bring to bear on it. Mrs Montagu is an Actress—I admire her to a certain extent but friendship for such a person is out of question.

Mrs Austin I have now seen and like infinitely better. She is coming to tea tomorrow night. If I “swear everlasting friendship3 with any woman here it will be with her.

But the most interesting accquainta[nces] [sic] [w]e have made are the St Simonians[.] You may fancy how my heart leapt when a card bearing the name of Gustave d'Eichthal was sent up the other day when I happened to be alone. Our meeting was most cordial and as he talks good English we contrived to carry on a pretty voluble conversation till Carlyle came home and relieved me. He is a creature to love at first sight—so gentle and trustful and earnest looking—ready to do and suffer all for his faith. A friend accompanies him whom we had here today along with Mill and Detrosier. A stronger perhaps nobler man than Gustave with whom Carlyle seems to be exceedingly taken. He (Duverry4 I think they call him) is at first sight ugly all pitted with smallpox but by and by you wonder at your first impression his coun[te]nance is so prepossessing a[nd] commanding. We hope to see a great deal of these [men] before we leave London—both seem to entertain a h[igh] respect for Carlyle. As ind[eed] every body I see does.

[Gle]n continues to come a Great deal about us and blethers [chatters] more like a man growing mad than growing wiser. Carlyle ma[i]ntains in opposition to me, that there is “Method in his madness”5 but his idea of the quantity seems daily diminishing.

Of the Irvings we see nothing—and hear little good. Mrs Hamilton Mrs Irving's sister I see occasionally and rather like. Carlyle dined at a literary party the other day where he met Hog[g] Loc[k]hart Galt Allan Cunningham &c &c.

There is to be a great Burns' dinner but he will not go. [I]t will be a hugger-mugger [a]ffair and twenty five shillings [to] pay. And now God bless you[— a]ll of you. My love to every [one] individually not omitting ‘the [Mais]ter.’6 Do you hear of any [one] that I could make or hope [to m]ake a servant of. Grace7 [rema]ins in high favour—

[Y]our affectionate

Jane W Carlyle

[TC's postscript:]

Dear Jane—wrap a cover around Alick's note, and send it on by Nottmann (and a word from yourself) with your usual pointedness. You must also write to me. Be a good girl, and love me always as I do you. God bless you my dear[.]

Ever your affectionate,

T. Carlyle—


To Miss Jane Carlyle Scotsg[.]

The ‘Saint-Simonians,’ Manchester ‘Detrosier’ &c were stirring & conspicuous objects in that epoch, but have all now fallen dark & silent agn. ‘Glen’ was a young graduate of Glasgow “studying Law” here; of very considerable, tho' utterly confused talent;—ultimately went mad, and was boarded in a farm-house nr Craigh withn reach of us; where in 7 or 8 yrs he died.