The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 9 October 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18411009-TC-JAC-01; CL 13: 270-272


Chelsea, Saturday, 9 octr 1841—

My dear Brother,

Accept a fraction of a Letter once more, since there is nothing better to give you. I am ill off; I cannot get on with any work, and have to sit daily, trying, trying,—altogether refusing to be turned back. It is a necessary, but one of the miserablest processes. Nothing but trial, and success, can convince me that I have any intellect at all left at present.

Your Letter came, and the Newspapers; no W. Ogilvie and no Books have yet come to light. Perhaps he discovered Sterling's address? It is “2. South Place Knightsbridge.” John Sterling is in his own residence at Falmouth, I believe; threatening always to come off for a visit to London, but never yet coming. The old Stimabile1 comes very little here at present, and I in particular have never yet seen him: he turns out to be mortally offended at some quizzical response of mine to a Letter of his received at Newby;2 I forget nearly all I said, but remember clearly that I was in good humour towards him, and fancy it must have been banter which he has taken in earnest; he is now engaged in that salutory Scotch process of “cooling in the skin that he grew hot in.”3

Yesterday in the middle of my work, there walked in—John Gordon!4 I am right sorry you were not here, that I might have handed him over to you! He looks well, poor John: talks rationally, tho' in stinted quantity, and has his old explosive laugh. We have asked him to dinner for today: I think he is about returning very speedily.

Dr Chalmers sent me a Book on Pauperism with a civil Letter;5 to which, alas, I shall have an answer to write. I have received also from the Irish Miss Macdonald a very indistinct light-weighted “Essay on Educators.”6 These “'Cators” Jane said, are rather a fatal people! All this, with a visit from Scott, and a whole bundle of Newspapers &c, coming on me in one day, was too much. Of the “&c” I send you only one Prentice's “Supplement extraordinary,”7 which perhaps you will think curious at present.

Scott (of Woolwich, it was he I saw yesterday) is lecturing about Pentonville in these weeks; on something about Social Philosophy and Christianity, I think.8 The topic to me is not interesting. Darley, whom I saw one day, stuttering rather worse than ever, is engaged on a Tragedy actually meant for the Stage: Macready is to bring it out this very season, and Darley considers himself to have it “h-h-half done.”9 One is really rather glad for poor Darley's sake: if he were to succeed, it might prove the best activity that could now be got out of him.

I have never been at Fraser's shop yet; I wished to let the Funeral be over. Poor Fraser is a greater sorrow to me than I thought he could have been— Last night I walked up that street (taking the air): “How often has poor James stept along here, and his little pilgrimage is done now—done!”

I have heard no word from Annandale.

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle

Your new Letter has arrived before the sealing of this. All right;—alas, I have lost another day, which is all wrong!10