August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 22 August 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420822-TC-JWC-01; CL 15: 37-39


Chelsea, Monday [22 August 1842].

Dearest,— We have got your good long Letter today, and amicably divided it between us,—“Babbie” letting me even retain a small portion of hers, for the sake of the sheet it was on. My head is aching in the heat, my miserable scribble is done; along with Harriett's Letter, take one word.

What a misery that when all else is so right you cannot get sleep for noises! It is equivalent to the wretchedest King's-veto put upon every other advantage whatsoever. I know not what to advise,—if your kind hosts are still unable to quell these despicabilities of yowling whelps &c from under their windows. For one thing I would have myself, if I could get it, a sleep during the day. Total want of sleep renders one doubly sensible to all kinds of noises; any snatch of sleep is useful; the smallest contributions thankfully received!

Tell Mrs Buller I will write to her, but do not yet know what to answer: I will consider the matter, and then answer. My present oppression under the heat and horrible oven-like air of this Brick-Babylon is not favourable for enterprise! But, after all, there is not much that ails me; I have only my miserable sluggish self to fight against: it is a shame to complain!

Yesternight I walked seven miles with Jack; Jeannie and I had walked, in the day, round by Hyde Park to the uttermost corner of it, and home thro' Kensington Gardens: fair work, I think?— But it begins to strike me that our dietetics are perhaps capable of improvement! We have gone entirely on coffee since you left us, which Helen continues to make with admirable effect: tomorrow morning, what if we try tea!— —

Helen's wounded leg was getting a kind of bore: we have called in the aid of the youngest stick-WOMANLET (I mean the Stickwoman's1 younger daughter, the elder not being procurable), and ordered Helen to confine herself for the present to the Kitchen. Galloping up and down stairs was the continual obstruction of her surgery. Jeannie says she is now improving rapidly. The little girl is a tidy creature; answers the door, brings up the dinner &c &c; and all goes perfectly as it should do. We had John yesterday (as the previous Sunday) to investigate the wound; which he pro[no]unces2 to be in a very reasonable state. I have only one request to make about it, that the good Wifiekin will put the matter totally out of her head, as in real truth “no matter,” and not fret or hurry herself in any respect whatever about that. It does really form a kind of amusement for Jeannie, I believe; and for me there is no change perceptible in my footpaths, but the ground continues everywhere free and good for me.

Today there is a Letter from Jean at Dumfries, with news of a poor but true and worthy Aunt, Aunt Tibbie's3 death at Hawick;—you remember one of her daughters at my Uncle John's.4 She had been for many months in suffering with total rheumatism &c: alas, poor Aunt Tibbie; I can remember her a brisk, truehearted figure out of my earliest boyhood: and now, in poverty, rheumatism, and all kinds of sorrow, except that of faintheartedness or falseness in herself, or unkindness in those around her, she has to bow her head and die! Her husband5 is a good cheery and worthy man; I am truly sorry for him. Ah, me—when I look back upon all— Ah me!— But there is no use in “Ah”-ing. Courage, Courage!

Was there not something else I had to tell thee today? I really cannot remember; and yet, and yet— But if anything, it was a thing of no moment at all; merely perhaps some tellable thing. I send thee my heart's blessing; I do weary for thee, my poor woman, but thou shalt stay and get better, while that serves! Adieu.

T. C.

The riots seem to be ceasing: I send Mr Buller this Manchester Paper, to shew him that comfortable fact. Is not your Lady Bunbury's son one of our Library Committee?6