The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 22 June 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400622-TC-JAC-01; CL 12: 170-172


Chelsea, 22nd June, 1840—

My dear Brother,

I received today your second Letter, dated Inverary.1 I had sent on two Newspapers to Oban, which I hoped would indicate that we had heard of your whereabout, and that all was well here. I have still no word out of Annandale; I wrote to my Mother on Saturday, enclosing your second Glasgow Letter; the first I keep here. You must take this Line as a widow's-mite2 from me tonight: it is all I can find leisure for; indeed when it tells you that I am busy and in my usual way of health, it has told you all.

My first Lecture does not in the least [please?] me; but it lies written, and may lie till we see. The Second only began to move with any freedom this day. The wheels get clogged; the steam, once low, is difficult to get up again. I had an ugly fit of I know not what,—indigestion produced by hot weather, I suppose,—and could not write during that; but it is over now. I will go on with such light as I have on this matter of Heroes; it decidedly ought to be published, and shall in some way or other, I hope. Mahomet will serve me another week yet, or more. There was a paragraph of blarney in Aird's Herald today about the thing;3 I sent it forward to my Mother thro' Jean: I once thought of sending it to Oban; but I had already made up the Tablet for you, and fancied you had enough in that. It is got up by one Lucas here, a Roman Catholic, cidevant Quaker; he told me I had converted him! Troppo grazia Sant' Antonio [Too much thanks, Saint Antony]!4 Do you remember the Italian old gentleman who could not get upon his saddle, who prayed to Saint Antony, and then with a terrible effort—went over on the other side? TROPPO grazia.—

On Wednesday we are to have a Public Meeting for that Library affair. I apprehend it will be but flat; I have taken little trouble with it; I am to make some kind of speech, along with the others. The thing seems really as if it were taking life. You will see some record of our meeting in the Times, I fancy.

Leigh Hunt has left this quarter, for Edwardes Square, Kensington; we are decidedly rather glad of it. Our intercourse lately had reduced itself altogether to the lending of sovereigns Poor Hunt had great difficulty to get away at last; had to prowl about, borrowing &c &c. He has dissatisfied all his friends by his late behaviour during what he reckoned his theatrical success, which proves to be no success either, for they do not now act his play. He is a born fool. His son has got out of the Glasgow Argus, and is here too. They are a generation of fools.5 They are better in Edwardes Square.

The other morning I went to Rogers's; met Mrs Norton and her sister the Queen of Beauty,6—truly a most beautiful creature, well worth looking at when one has opportunity. I had seen her transiently before. Mrs Norton did not seem in any way so superlative; sweet-voiced, frank, discursive, no longer setting up for a beauty, she too was likeable. Lord Landsdown and a handful of other eminencies were there. I got a headache for the day. Tomorrow night we go to Taylor's; probably to meet Spring-Ricedom.7 Last night we were at a Dud called Swynfen Jervis's: O'Connel[l], Bowring, Hickson, Southwood Smith, pinchbeck people all; what I called a “literary-political swell-mob.” Jane had a headache today in consequence. O'Connell is beginning to look very old.8 There was a “celebrated Florentine” Signora Vespucci9 there, very dashing, in turbans and stage tragicalities; but she spoke only French; and I declined doing more than look. The Earth has bubbles!10

You bring me in mind of those great dumb masses of Highland Mountains with their melancholy seas and glens; the most impressive thing I have yet seen on Earth. I wish I were on the sand-beach beside you; the great Ocean, instead of Cockneydom, inarticulately talking to me! But das geht nicht [that's impossible]. Why should I complain? I cantered round by Wimbledon this day (it is growing a common route of mine) by lanes of respectable loneliness, amid mere verdure, umbrage and the fragrance of hay: one had no sea, one cannot have everything.

If you do part from your office in Autumn, it will be a rare profit to take a tour with me! I shall be about free then too; if you had a horse and were here—! I really often think of having a ride in England, go where I may next. You may think about it as a thing I were ready for. We can hope; we shall see.

There was surely something more I had to add! But I have forgotten it. Adieu for this night, dear Brother!— Oh, this was it: I saw John Greig the American.11 Alibama [sic] Stock, he says, is good. Clow and his sons12 are altogether prosperous.

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle