April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 5 August 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440805-TC-JAC-01; CL 18: 165-167


Chelsea, 5 Augt, 1844—

My dear Brother,

Your Letter, in my dearth of news, was very welcome to me: you should keep me going at least for Scotsbrig news, while you are there! Our good Mother must go back to the Bathing; I hope the next Spring Tides will prove handier. Our weather here too is much broken with rains, tho' otherwise warm and genial.

I asked about your Book-sheets1 of Cochrane: the sheets were duly furnished; the Book is lying bound and ready in the London Library; I would have brought it home with me, had there been a conveyance at my command. I left it lying there for yourself.

Our City is got almost empty, and very quiet in comparison: I hope I shall now get on with somewhat less interruption in my labours. It is a sluggish element; sluggish as thick mud; and bottomless, except where one makes a bottom: nothing but strenuous hard work, harder than I have yet continuously given it, will ever bring me thro'. For all is Chaos, within it, and without it! Eheu [Alas]!

A starving Scotch youth came to me the other week; equal, as he said, to all kinds of Old Manuscripts &c &c: I gave him a sovereign to copy me that Election Tumult of d'Ewes at Ipswich;—I have got that here, and think of trying to make a Magazine Article of it somewhere.2 The poor lad attempted farther to make an estimate of copying all d'Ewes Parlt Manuscript for me: £30, he said, would do it, and I had for some days real thoughts of the thing; but alas my man, in the interim, was discovered by me to be a quite loose-talking dishonest-minded little thing unsafe to employ on any business; so having found him a job with Maurice,3 ‘writing to dictation’ (in which dishonesty cannot long remain undetected), I shook him off. But it does partly appear to me, I must have that Mss. to read and con over at my leisure,—if possible. I am now about consulting with the Secretary of the Camden Society;4 but expect to hear that they, poor dilettante quacks, will do nothing. Nothing, however, will serve me as an answer from them. I think if I had the Ms. legible here, I could either now or sometime pay myself £30 of it. On the whole, I am looking out for a handy Amanuensis, to copy me a great many things: I find such a one may be got, if you alight luckily, for some 60 or 80 pounds, to work all the year round! It is but the price of keeping a horse here!— On the other hand, no Bookseller can be made in the least to bite at such a thing;—the inane mountebank quacks: one must do it oneself or it will remain undone.——— I made them get into the Library a Sprigge, and now also a Vicars Part First;5 which are real conquests to me.

Nothing remarkable has arrived here, except Emerson's Letter, which indeed is not very remarkable either. Poor Sterling, as you will see by it, and may know more directly now from me, continues very ill: even I begin to doubt, to despond altogether. He is obliged to “sit up all night, propped with pillows”; the greater part of his lungs (Clark6 says) is quite useless to him, and he cannot get breath enough without immense difficulty. Anthony is going down to wait near him a while. Poor Sterling, I fear the worst!

Robertson, they say, is “in Sutherland; marking out the site of Free Kirks”: Go ahead!———

Jamie's Letter was very gratifying and satisfactory. Certainly we will take a couple more of Annandale hams; I will write to him more specially on the subject very soon. Isabella too is in the way of shower-baths, and better: surely that is good!— Did any of you write to Alick by this mail? Jane is well again from her bit of headaches. Blessings on my Mother and you all!

T. C.