August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 17 January 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470117-TC-JAC-01; CL 21:136-137.


Chelsea, 17 jany, 1847—

My dear Brother,

Tonight, before the Newspapers go, tho' we are in an extreme degree of bustle, I must write you a word to mark what we are about. The journey to Alverstoke still holds; Jane, having engaged for it, will go thro' with the affair, tho' I for my part have all along rather held back, not regarding it as quite unquestionable. We are to go tomorrow at half past twelve; an Express Train carries us to Gosport in two hours, and there a carriage is to be waiting for us;—we will go to the Railway in a Nodes fly, carry a big bottle of hot-water for the feet, and take all manner of pains as to wrappage: we may hope in this way to arrive with little damage.1 Jane has never yet been out of doors here: they write to us of “bright weather,” “sunny days” &c in Hampshire, which are very far from us in this dim climate! Nothing but dreary crawling half-frost, “frozen fog” as I call it; and the face of the sun not to be seen at all.— Jane has no express cold now left; but cannot sleep to any healthy extent, and is otherwise in the poor pining condition which that betokens, which is usually the fruit of cold weather in her case. Our new servant continues to give satisfaction. I myself am well enough in health; but unfavourably situated otherwise in the middle of these confusions. I have been up in the little back closet of late for two weeks,—where we used to smoke, you remember: I have been reading old Acta Sanctorum &c, and have had many things to think of, tho' not writing on anything, far enough from writing! I understand we are to be quite alone at Alverstoke; even Baring is to be in Town for a day or two, till the Parlt fairly get under way.

I went out the night before last to dine with old Richardson (once of Fludyer Street), to meet “Ld Campbell” (whose Lives of the Chancellors, a very paltry Book, is in considerable vogue just now):2 I told Richardson I did not care for Ld Campbell but would come for him (R);—and accordingly it turned out there was no Campbell there (“most unluckily engaged!”) nothing but one Dundas3 (a friend of T. Erskine's, a vain Scotch “Solr Genl” or some such thing),—he and Ld Minto, and some young women and a young man. Lord Minto I rather liked, a small black shrivelled hook-nosed man, with his glittering official eyes very close together; short peesy [wooly] steel-grey hair, and a shrill musical perfectly English voice, and English manner too.4 A decided indigestion: this, as usual, is all I have gained by the job!— Dear Brother, good night. The day after tomorrow I will write to my dear old Mother, to tell her how we have sped. My blessings to her and you all. 5

T. Carlyle