April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 20 September 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440920-TC-JAC-01; CL 18: 213-216


Chelsea, 20 Septr, 1844—

My dear Brother,

A short Letter to our Mother would announce to you that I received yours1 at the Grange, and was going on in the usual way there. I came home, as appointed, yesterday; the good people took me in a carriage to the Railway Station; in a second-class carriage, in a sunny sharp September Afternoon, I was rapidly bowled back to Chelsea, and found all well here,—myself terribly cut up with ten days of late dining and other excitement. I saw Winchester,2 and various other things that were interesting. The jaunt, I calculate, will do me good, were I once got to composure again. The people are good people, old Lord Ashburton especially I liked well; a fine old gentleman, somewhat in the style of Old Cressfield,3 but of lighter make and more elegant breeding; courtesy, sagacity, easy friendliness and good humour throughout: he and I went smoking cigars together, and grew very fond of one another.

At home Jane had papered anew and painted my little dressing-room, where you and I used to smoke together; she had also new-carpeted the diningroom in a very bright style; and in short had all the house shining for me, as her way is. Plattnauer had been quiet with her, but mad and ever madder in his notions: he is now going off this night by a Rotterdam Steamer towards Switzerland and lighter air; a certain Dr Weiss, a German of skill, who had seen him during his outbreak and before and after it, was altogether urgent upon Jane that such, without any delay at all, should be the arrangement. Madness, he says, and even fury is still in Plattnauer, only brewing towards new development, which will surely arrive in our first week of foggy weather; he ought to go, and must go, in Gottes namen [in God's name];—and so accordingly he goes, we making arrangements to know his Address in case his brother-in-law should come, which however is not thought likely. So much for Plattnauer.

Jane tells me she sent-on Alick's Letter without venturing to open it; pray let me have a sight of it so soon as they have all examined it. You will perhaps send some summary of it sooner than that.

This morning came a sad stern Letter: news from Anthony Sterling that his Brother is no more. An end to many things! We shall see that beautiful human soul no more on this Earth.— Anthony, I think, had gone over as if by accident the night before last; found his Brother not sensibly altered; talked with him on many subjects from 9 o'clock and afterwards: at 11 he was summoned hastily to see him die. His death was not painful. He has departed like a brave and true one. May we meet again beyond the Unseen Shore!4

Gillespie the Professor of Latin at St Andrews has been carried off by apoplexy: Craik is candidate for the place; I wrote to one Denison m.p. in his favour before quitting the Grange; the Duke of Portland is Patron, and this Dn is his son-in-law.5 Craik is stirring every stone; he seems to think he has a kind of chance, but professes to be prepared for disappointment, and even indifferent to it.— In one of these Newspapers you will find a flaming notice of Robertson.

Last night there stood also waiting me the Scotsbrig barrel! All right: the hams, as tried this morning, are of first-rate quality. We will try our good kind Mother's pot of butter tonight. The dressinggown is successful; the trowsers too will do; the waistcoat is a decided failure on the part of Garthwaite: the buttons do not reach my stock to close up the throat, by about two inches! I will take some course for having another, on better terms before long: I think of sending up some old duds in a bag, and can pack in some old waistcoat to be a model.— Adieu dear Brother, I am in great haste. I send my blessings to them all.— Yours ever truly T. Carlyle