August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 2 November 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421102-TC-JAC-01; CL 15: 157-159


Chelsea, 2 Novr, 1842—

Dear Brother,

By the Newspaper which I addressed to you when it arrived from Dumfries, you would discern that I had received your Letter and was in my usual state; which at bottom was, and indeed still is, all the news I had to send you. We heard of your passing thro' Liverpool; of your playing whist with the Landlord there, and your exemplary goodhumour under his unreason: after that we knew not exactly where you were till the Letter arrived.

I have been at Kenilworth; I remember Warwick Castle well, and the Picture of Cromwell you mention,—standing in the embrasure of a window, with poor Charles First opposite him; like a black thundercloud and a pretty Card-castle: it struck me much.1— I wish you had gone to see Kineton and Edghill Field,2 which is not very far out of one's line there. Are you within reach of Worcester City? The scene of the crowning mercy!3 with a Rushworth in one's hand, one might gather a great deal of knowledge in your present way of life.

Alick sent me the Letter here enclosed, the tone of which I liked much; I have also heard from Jean at Dumfries, whose younger Boy4 is not very well: then on Saturday night the Box and Barrel, announced by Alick, got safe into our hands here; an interesting set of hieroglyphs from poor old Annandale! Nothing was injured, tho' there seemed to have been some sudden pressure of haste just at the end; for the Butter was put in without any right cover among the meal, and our good Mother had not got the socks completely dried: I saw it all! Nothing however was at all injured. We have likewise now got my Mother's Picture fairly hung up here; the man came down with his Frame on Saturday morning last. You will find it, where Mrs Sterling's deplorable Picture used to be, over my Mantelpiece up here; a surprisingly excellent Portrait. I am very glad indeed to have it. I have written to my Mother since the Barrel arrived. Poor Mother: I was very wae about her on the day I fancied you setting from the Annan Jetty yonder!—

You have doubtless noticed the death of poor Allan Cunningham in the Newspapers. I never heard of it till yesterday afternoon; and then, as you may fancy, with a painful shock. I went up directly to leave a card for the poor Widow. It was then after dark: in an upper window behind white curtains glowed a light, very visible from the street: there, I said to myself, lies the mortal hull of my poor brave Allan! The widow, I was told by the servant, bore up resolutely, and was as well as one could expect: Dr Cunningham5 continuing with her. Alas, it is but about a week since I stopped Allan near his own house, and spoke to him, little thinking it was the last time! He died instantly, they say: he had just finished The Life of Wilkie;6 his brother the Doctor was speaking with him,—suddenly Allan ceased.— I shall miss him here; many will miss him. He was a rugged true mass of Scotch manhood; had far more talent in him, far more worth in him than he ever got developed, much as he had developed of both.

I will add no more today. A Joiner has been here, measuring ournwall for Bookshelves. There is a letter that came yesterday from Sterling: I had sent him a certain Lecture of Emerson's. Adieu, dear Brother: vale et me ama [farewell and love me].

T. Carlyle