October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 30 May 1834; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18340530-TC-JWC-01; CL 7:199-203.


Ampton Street, 30th May (Friday), 1834.

God be thanked, my own Dearest, here is word from you again! It is long since I have been so happy as when I found your Letter yesterday, as I came in to dinner. The last one, which I had longed and languished, four days, for, left me in the absurd predicament of neither accurately knowing your motions, nor even understanding how to address a Letter to you. I had prepared a Frank for my Mother at Scotsbrig, as the only thing possible; but now that is superfluous for your part of it: you have done as I hoped and calculated you would do if it lay in your power; like a dear Child you are hastening to me; in few days I shall hold you in this bosom, and now once more “it is all right.”1 Could I have spoken I would have said, Do not hasten if your health is to suffer, much as, on all accounts, I long to see you. However, you have heeded none of these hindrances: at this hour I fancy you on the Solway Brine, with one sure hope in your heart, all too overclouded otherwise: God bless you for it; and bring you safe to my heart! But O, my little Lassie, take care of yourself; rest, if rest be possible, when you get to land. I see not how I can forgive myself if you suffer mischief by haste to obey me. But we will hope and pray, it may still not be so.

There is little room in this sheet, and it is uncertain whether I may get a Frank; for poor Buller you must understand is undergoing his surgical operation, and not to be seen lightly if at all for some days; tho' I will try nevertheless; and make arrangements which may answer either way. Let us above all, therefore, get on with business.

And first as to Craigenputtoch, take my thanks for your cleverness, adroitness and despatch: I find all quite wonderfully well settled; there is hardly one thing I think of which I would have voted otherwise. The Shower-bath is far better where it is. One of the backroom beds I had been calculating on; but that too seems particularly well sold, and probably we shall get another here for no great increase of cost. In this also, therefore, we will be thankful. Is Chico actually with you? Thou little fool! Yet dear even in thy follies.

Now with regard to the Furniture, as I think you will have decided for the Steam method, which also agrees with my notions, the only thing needful is for your Uncle to send me precise instructions whom I am to call on here, and present my document to. A Frank to Charles Buller (give him the new address) will hold it all; if there indeed be any advantage in such haste, and you cannot bring it all up quietly in your pocket! Either way, I fancy it to be now quite simple.

Next as to your coming hither. I have only one counsel to give: Be careful of your health! If you are getting rest and strength in your Uncle's house, do not grudge another four-and-twenty hours: I will patiently give it thee, Dearest. But, alas, I fear there is little chance of rest: so the sooner you have it over the better. By the bye will they deliver this Letter on Saturday Night? They surely ought; and yet I know they disappointed you once before. Pray Heaven it be not so again. I might have written a line, last night, still in time, and wish now I had done it. However, perhaps fortune again will favour us.

But observe now first that we (that is, I and all of us) are to shift out of this house tomorrow. The new address is, “47. Frederick Street, Gray's Inn Road” (close by): address your announcement to me that way: it will reach me thro' Buller some four hours later than by the direct post, but to all appearance quite as certainly. We are to have the ground-floor in that new house (a better than this, they say), and, alas, only our old familiar stocking-bed;2 in which nevertheless you shall contrive to sleep wonderfully well—on my arm? The rest of the accommodation will wholly content you: so good are the people, so really joyful will poor Eliza be to see you. She seems to feel a kind of wife-like charge of me in the interim, and is really a kind of cheering thing to see flitting out and in. I am more at home than I could anywhere else have been.— Next I have a word to say about Bessy Barnet: she is at present in Birmingham with her Mother; says (10 days ago) she is ready whenever required: her address “Mrs Badams's, Spring Hill, Birmingham.” Now it is a question with me whether as Birmingham lies in the road of Coaches enough, it might not be for your advantage to see Bessy as you passed thro'? Perhaps you might like to rest yourself all night at Birmingham, and bring Bessy even along with you? The Mileses say they can give her accommodation. You best know when the Furniture is to be here, and whether Bessy can be of any use in the interim to you. Would she be a kind of (imaginary) protection on the road? At least if you pass thro' Birmingham at all, you might have her warned to be waiting for you at the Coach: but really had not my poor little Dame better try to get a little sleep there? In any case, I leave to you the task of appointing a day for Bessy, which perhaps you had better do forthwith; taking this only for your guidance that by the time the Furniture comes my Goody and I shall surely have got a house to put it in. If I get a Frank (which, alas, is utterly doubtful now) I will send you Bessy's Letter:3 however, except the best will and what I said above, it contains nothing.

And now as to Houses here, depend upon it, Dearie, I will take none till thou come; unless driven to it by dire necessity. I was at Chelsea and Brompton again yesterday: people I heard were in quest of both the houses; one of them, however, I have got engaged to continue unlet I think till you come, certainly till about Wednesday next. It is the Chelsea one, which on the whole looked distinctly the preferable to me yesterday (for I told you they varied from day to day). The Man was here in person about it two hours ago; a decent enough kind of body, with an honest look. Bugs I made two inquiries about; and seemed to get a true-looking answer that there were or had been none. The wainscot is all painted, a light colour, almost white (colour of our drawing-room doors); the two dining-rooms new-papered above the wainscot [“beautiful rooms!” written by TC above the preceding three words]. He will introduce a right kitchen-grate (with boiler &c) on fair terms; on the whole a reasonable-speaking man. The Brompton House looked dreadfully little; I was also hurt to discover that the room I intended for our poor red bed had been last used as an adjunct to the kitchen, and had bell not going from it, but entering into, and hanging in it! Figure a guest laid there to sleep. That however could and would be altered.— I have seen many, many other houses; but these two continue far the best. I have been at Hampstead: one at £36; tolerable, tho' small; the beautifullest view in the world; but [is] 4 or 5 miles off; the omnibuses double-fare (or rather triple), water to buy, and for door-neighbour—Mrs Reeve! Her son is there too; perhaps one of the absurdest of our amiable young men.4 That will not do. At Paddington; all old and ugly; 20 percent dearer than elsewhere. The only ones I shall trouble you with looking at, besides the two, are one in Kensington, one in Bayswater; unless I should find more; which certainly I shall look for now with redoubled energy.

But the question is, When is my Goody coming? When! Warn me my little Darling. If you go by Birmingham (which except for Bessy, quite easily managed otherwise, there is not the slightest need of your doing), your Uncle must choose you a good Coach thither; from B. to London I believe they are all good. Would you not like to sleep? Or do you feel as if you could not sleep? Decide thy own way, my pretty one. Only tell me pointedly which way you come, and at what hour: I would not miss you for a sovereign. You will jump out round my neck?— For shame!—

There is clearly no chance of a Frank now; for after all what is the good of running all the way to Westminster for one, had I even time? All that I had to say on paper is said: innumerable multitudes of things lie over till—! O Dearest, Best, when wilt thou come?—— Jeffrey is gone two days ago: I saw him again, at Mrs Austin's where he was taking leave. His manner to me tremulous & shy; mine kinder & graver than ever. Peace be with him!— By the bye it is reported here that his Majesty is gone mad; and the “present excellent ministry” in this alarming state. Eheu! Eheu!—— Heraud walked with me yesterday all the way (to Chelsea &c); he is the veriest Dud alive: his Wife and he have just been here again to insist on my dining with them on Sunday (Hunt too being asked) which I could not longer refuse. She seems a wiser person than he.—— I have seen Roebuck, no bad fellow, I hope; Molesworth apparently a very good one, &c &c. Molesworth is not Rennie's; it was his father:5 this is young, very young and really a most likeable, honest kind of character. Smokes tobacco too with a vigour!—— Envy no “celebrated woman,” thou my little uncelebrated Darling! Envy not even the celebrated Madam Austin! As for the other Celeberrima [most celebrated woman]——! Mrs Montague had the inanest message and then the inanest Letter here about a “Letter she had wrote,” which had never come &c &c ganz nach der Gewohnheit [wholly according to her custom]. She is reconciled: but then?—— —— Dearest it is close on five! Thousand thanks for your kind sentiment of staying at home. That is it, my little brave one. We will be true to Heaven and and [sic] one another, and fear nothing.— Now when will it be that I hear? Monday? Tuesday? God guide thee home to me, my own! I fear I have forgotten many things; but the interruptions have been numerous; my hurry greater than I looked for. Ever thy own, heart & soul,

T. Carlyle

My kindest regards to Uncle & Aunt and all in kind Maryland Street.—— Ask Helen to come and see us here: I did.

Tell Arbuckle that he shall hear from me by & by. Geo: Johnston ought to know that his syringing of my ears seems to have proved effectual.