January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE ; 28 April 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430428-TC-JC-01; CL 16: 139-141


Chelsea, 28 April, 1843

Dear Jamie,

We are delighted to hear that poor Isabella has her work safely over;1 we have been in no small anxiety about her here for a long while back. I am right glad to pay you the Letter I have owed for a great while, in answering such a piece of news. If she now take care of herself, and rally valiantly to her new occupation, she will grow greatly better, we trust.—

At present nothing of importance is stirring among us here. I got my Book fairly shoved out to take its fate with the Public on Monday last; three days before that (on friday, this day gone a week) I had already despatched Copies, one for every one of you, towards Dumfries by Edinburgh, to James Aitken's care: I conjecture that if you did not get them on Wednesday (which indeed is hardly possible), you may partly expect to have them on Wednesday next, or at all events Wednesday second;—and that you will read them with eagerness! If any undue delay occur, and you are sure it is not at Dumfries, you can let me know, and I will twitch up the Edinburgh man. People seem to get themselves considerably struck by the Book,—and “look two ways for sunday”:2 which is a very proper result for them! But indeed I for one care but little what becomes of them with it: that is their outlook now, not mine. I mean to make the Booksellers pay me down their cash, the first day I care to walk so far; and then the whole business can go whistle.

We have been much grieved here by the sad things that have happened among the Sterlings. Poor Mrs Sterling grew rapidly worse, and died about ten days ago. The eldest son had come over from Ireland, as [he]3 was there; but the other son, John, who is our more special associate, could not come up from Falmouth, 200 miles off, where he lives; his own health is always precarious, and his wife about that very time was waiting daily to be confined: alas, the poor man heard of his Mother's death, while his Wife lay almost at the point of departure; in four hours more he had lost his Wife too! It was her sixth child,—the child is living. We have not written to Sterling yet. They are of course all in great distress. Poor old Mrs Sterling was one of the kindest motherliest women we knew anywhere, and Jane's chief friend here. She had much trouble in the world, she loved and sorrowed much,—and seemed to have her eye always in a good direction in this pilgrimage; and, we hope, is at rest now.

Jack is with us, at least he breakfasts, writes letters and sleeps here; but we seldom see him at dinner here; he is roving about like a blazing torch all day, and only comes home at night. Lady Clare wants him to go with her to Italy again in autumn: he seems to have little mind for that. A certain Lady Holland (illustrious Whig dame and chief of dames in these parts) wanted him, on Jeffrey's recommendation, to take up his abode here in London, on a small salary, as her physician: but she is a wretched, unreasonable, tyrannous old creature, for whom, as I said on hearing her case, there seemed to be no remedy but getting to drink brandy and water;—so Jack, very wisely I think, declined. He speaks now of a short expedition to Annandale; in which I encourage him. He has only to steady himself, and then all will be steadied.

I got my dear Mother's Letter; and will answer it: tell her so,—and to keep out of the cold weather, and wrap herself effectually up, till the sun shine out again. We heard from Jean two days ago: all was well there, except that our Uncle John seemed to be ailing, and had gone out to Mary Tait's for country air.4 Alick, she told us, was sowing for you: is the ear better? Adieu dear Brother. My blessings on one and all of you. Yours ever, T. Carlyle