The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 15 October 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401015-TC-JAC-01; CL 12: 286-287


Chelsea, Thursday [15 October 1840]—

My dear Brother,

Your Letter1 from Woodside indicated that you were to be at Bangor for a week; I wrote, if not by that same post, yet by the next, namely Monday's; and that Note of mine, with two Newspapers, must now be lying at the Post-Office of Bangor, unless you have arranged means for having your Letters forwarded. It contained nothing of the smallest moment, that Note, tho' it was a longer one than the present; general assurances of our welfare &c: one of the Newspapers had come addressed to you by James Aitken, a Dumfries Herald. Their Courier has arrived today, with two strokes; that is all the news I have had from them.

We are in a pitiful hurlyburly here; our poor tick of a Maid Ellen has all on a sudden fallen prostrate again, after a year's good behaviour, under the dominion of Gin. The wretched little body gives us great annoyance; transforms the house into a squalor unfit for tinkers of average respectability; afflicts us too with regrets for her own sake, poor little wretch: Jane has lost nearly or altogether three nights' sleep this week; she is out at this moment seeking a new Servant; for it seems unavoidable that we must send this little piece of Distraction about her business with whatever regret. Happily a relative of the creature's, a Kirkcaldy joiner2 not without sense, is here at present: we purpose to put her into his hands; and so wash ours of her. A most squalid business! But so the loyallest cavalier must stay on his ride, stand kicking his royal boots, cannot get on, if, in easily conceivable circumstances a grimy Smith shall refuse to drive a horse-shoe nail! Till griminess please to handle his hammer, Serene Highness must consent to stand unserenely there.

I am busy with Rushworths, with Parliamentary Histories, with Puritanisms and Cromwelleana. I see a long course of reading and inquiry before me: what will come of it we shall not prophecy as yet.

Did I ever tell you that Wm Cunninghame was off to the West of England to be married? It is even so. We do not know his intended: himself we saw two weeks ago, in the finest health, avowedly bent on that errand.3 You will write directly. Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle