August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 20 August 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420820-TC-JWC-01; CL 15: 31-33


Chelsea, 20 Augt, 1842—

Just a word, my Dearest, before going out to walk: there will be no means tomorrow.1 We go on quite handsomely here; Helen's lameness mending,—not interfering with the little Cousin's comfort much, or mine at all. She has given up the dressing-gown, I think, of late mornings; but is ever the same cheery little creature in whatever kind of gown.— I am writing, writing; God knows at what precisely! It is terribly difficult to work: my whole soul and body are sunk as in tropical oppression,—no “wish to sew”;2 no distinct wish of any kind, but a certain base underhand desire to lie down in everlasting leaden sleep. Yesterday, on sallying out, it was a kind of strange satisfaction, as of surprise, that I could still stand upon my legs. The day before I had not gone out at all; I had worked a while weeding at the Garden: it was the intolerablest day of heat that I remember in this world,—or one of the intolerablest! Jack's thermometer, which I had the curiosity to look at, and compute into Farenheit degrees, after tea, was standing at 84° 4/10; at midnight, it was still above 80°. Mazzini, smoking with me, said such a temperature was reckon3 torrid even in Italy. Happily all that is now gone, and we have instead a blessed gray southwest wind.——— Alas, work cannot be done without difficulty even in Greenland. All work from me is, and has been, as a bridge-building over Chaos; a thing that never was or can be easy; a thing nevertheless which must and shall be done!4

Yesterday there called, when I was out, that poor brother-in-law of Edinburgh Betty's:5 from Jeannie's account, altho' the man is well enough in his way, I do not think you have missed much. Some goodnatured, but very vulgar-minded purse-proud Mechanic I conjectured him to be: he is gone to Liverpool, to Edinr, and specified no date for returning. In the evening Mrs Jameson6 came; I was out roving far and wide over the grass in Hyde Park: she had not staid long, had left kind messages for you,—congratulations that you were in the country, whither next week she herself was bound. No Letters for us;—tant mieux [so much the better]. A Note from Mrs Sterling to Jeannie about the miserable Dumfries straw.7 Perhaps Jeannie is herself forwarding it to you? If not, I will.— Some nameless hand, not Ballantyne, sends me a new Manchester Paper today. The insurrection continues, the tenth day of it now; I begin really to be anxious about it, and wish it were well over,—that blood be not shed, and seeds of long baleful vengeance sown. A country in a lamentabler state (to my eyes) than ours even now has rarely shewn itself under the sun. We seem to me near anarchies, things nameless,—and a secret voice whispers now and then to me: Thou, behold thou too art of it, thou must be of it! I declare to Heaven I would not have the governing of this England at present for the richest “cream and short-bread” that could be named! Enough of that.

Did I tell you, or did Mrs Buller, that Jane Strachey is about to be married?8 She is with her Mother in Italy at present; but returns under the escort of a Bristol Manufacturer, one Mr Hare I think, who goes out to wed her shortly, or perhaps is already gone. He is wealthy, young,—approved of by the Brother Strachey,9 who told me all this. He, the poor lame Brother Strachey, is no better yet, nor like to be; a most amiable, melancholy object.

Methinks I hear the Stimabile's cough down stairs! At all events paper and time are ended, and I must go. Enjoy your fine green solitudes, and Calthorpe deserted palace, and little games of chess; and be a good lassie, and love me, my own little Jean!— A letter on Monday? Yours ever


No Stimabile down below; nor any Cousin Jeannie even, but a Letter of hers with your address on it: so enough. It strikes three o'clock, as I am Sinner. Adieu, adieu!—