The Collected Letters, Volume 10


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 18 July 1838; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18380718-TC-JAC-01; CL 10: 125-128


Chelsea, 18th July 1838.

My dear Brother, This sheet has just arrived, just been read; and now I will fill up the vacancies of it, before going out and consigning it to the Post office again. A Letter from me (after too long delay!) is on the road since about a week; may it find you well; may it meet some Como message on the way for me! The sleepless humour I was in at my last writing has gone again; the weather has been moist and cool ever since; my hand also, I feel, is considerably mended: on the whole, I feel very decidedly better. We went out on Monday to Woolwich, looked at a vacant cottage there, which the Revd Scotts can let us have free of rent if we like to carry out furniture to it. Scott, by the bye, seems to me a rather good fellow; decidedly possessed of talent, of force; a rough Scotch mirth lurks in him, which I like much. His cottage we shall hardly take, I think. My outrake [journey] from this Babylon remains therefore dubious as ever. I was seriously thinking of Newcastle Steamers, and Scotsbrig; but this of the Manchester journey on our Mother's (to page 4) Mother's [sic] part, which I learn first in this letter, throws a new shade over that.1 Then Scott and others2 want me to go to Paris and Switzerland! I remain like the ass amid bundles of hay. Besides the weather will soon be permanently cooler; then I can do where I am. I have engaged myself with mercury and castor today; my poor liver once helped, my poor soul will be better off, freer to choose, abler to perform. For the present, it is all idleness with me; reading of bad books and trash: but really having now rested almost a year, I feel as if I should think of recommencing.— Teufelsk is not out yet to my knowledge; I leave it freely to take its own way in that and all respects. I am sitting for my picture again,—instigated by my Wife or “some demon more wicked.”3 The Artist, one Lawrence, has greatly the air of a first-rate young man; he was extremely anxious to volunteer on this occasion, and has had it in the wind for above six months; he confidently expects to succeed; but I must say that, tho' we are half way now, there does not appear to me any considerable hope of him and it. I sit daily; 3 sittings more and I have done with it: all other work, entertainment, excitation I sit withdrawn from for the present. Ein Faullenzer [sic: an idler]? Wait a while!— Jane continues much better during the warm weather: she failed to send any express remembrance to you last time; but charges me now to send the kind love of one in a press of affairs, “just this moment going out to the Butcher's”! She seems to agree with London in summer as much as I disagree with it. Her welfare then depends mainly on mine.— I will still write instantly when a Letter arrives from you. No whisper yet from Gloag. By the way, what of that Parcel of sheets of the last 2 volumes of F. Revolution?4 Can nothing be done for it? One might easily make inquiries about it in Paris (T. Holcroft, or plenty of others). Also could I not send you a copy now direct to Milan; with Teufelk for company? Say how, or whether. The Scott people (Scott and Erskine are to go on their travels soon) cd even carry it as far as Geneva.— John Sterling was here yesterday; he has a little Article in Mill's Review on Montaigne, which is to be out on Monday next.5 He scribbles or writes at a great rate for Blackwood &c; and is on the whole one of the most restless men now extant. His inability to be at rest seems to me the worst symptom of him: otherwise ein gar brüderlicher Mann [a very brotherly man]. Mill I saw last night; borrowing some Books from him. Friendly as ever when we meet; but that is now rarely: our paths diverge more and more; to me he is nearly altogether barren; to him I am perhaps oppressive in the self-subsistence which he (tho' only in Benthamic speculation of Radicalism) very properly aims at. He is one of the barrenest clever men I ever saw. Darley comes here, stutter-stuttering, sometimes; very unhappy, yet perhaps approaching nearer the root and cure of his unhappiness,—“m-m-my own heart!” namely. My quality friends are like stars; like angels, whom I visit and worship when in the humour; rarely, that is.6 Miss Spring Rice is a young Beauty, full of “sweet sensibility,” affectation and double and treble self-consciousness; a dinner there at 8 o'clock once in 6 months is enough. Then as for &c &c— “they can do thee neither ill na' good.”7 Did you notice that Empson is married to Jeffrey's daughter? He near 50, she some 24.8 Yet it seems to me to be well; for the young woman is curiously conditioned, and has a natural tendency to the tranquil, to the vapid-innocent; Empson also a favourite of the parents, and an honest man.— Alick Welsh is here, from Liverpool with patient to Brodie;9 did not see us, but is to call again today. His Mother10 has been and is in a sickly state: Templand is full of the children; otherwise perhaps Jane and I had been there. O dear Jack, what a scribble! Not worth scribbling, save as proof of my good wish. Be well my Brother, be happy, and write to me soon. I hope indeed a Letter is already written, in answer to the [Ro]man one, which surely you got.— Ever & ever

T. C.

P.S. I have got a new white hat, of as majestic dimensions as the former; I wear my brown coat and this, with roan-coloured trowsers; a formidable figure! I learn daily to walk slower. It is now 2 o'clock; I am dressed and must out to the Post office.— Painter's-sitting after tea. Adieu again dear Jack

Your ever affectionte / T.C. 11