July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 18 January 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480118-TC-JWC-01; CL 22: 218-219


Alverstoke, 18 jany, Tuesday [1848]

Well, my Dear; you are coming, then, on Thursday,—or else you are absolutely going to give it up. We shall hear tomorrow evening,—nay Thursday morning, now that I recollect, is still in time for being out to meet you. May it answer well! But consider practically your strength, your real wishes. For me I feel as if it were little I had got here, or were likely to get, but a huge nightmare of indigestion, insomnia, and fit of black impatience with myself and others,—self chiefly! Yesterday was very wet, very windy; and I did not get out at all,—almost the one day, these seven years, in which I have had no exercise. The consequence was, little or no sleep; a good increase also to the stock of cold I already had. So soon as this Note is written, I mean to be out, and have a long ride. They are all going to Gosport &c &c: I feel as if a two-hours of profound solitude amid the lanes would for me be the best recipe of all. In fact I am very unwell, and unhappy,—for the time being.

The Charterises are in this Drawing-room now with me, alone here. They came yesterday about 3 o'clock; she is very beautiful, as silent, sententious and austere as ever,—but with a sweet laugh too, which, blending with her metallic tone of voice, is very singular and good. We spent last night reading the Princess: approved of (from the teeth outwards) by everybody,—not by me any farther than before.1 If you come, do not forget Sterling's Book,—especially not Aeschylus We can get nothing read here, I mean individually, except for about two hours, from 11 to 1, in one's own room, after all have retired. The force of idleness can no farther go!

The Express Train, I see, is 15 minutes past 10; too early, but it arrives in 2¼ hours: an hour less than any other train takes. By whatever train you come, bring a warm big bottle for the feet (do not by any means forget that), and the horse-rug, and plaids, in short wrappages without end. Jack must go with you: a fly, and Battersea Bridge: I and the carriage will be in waiting at this end.— — If you do not come,—I think I shall be for bundling, myself, about the end of the week: in fact I am heartily sick of my dyspeptic bewilderment and imprisonment here. Something beautiful and good is in the heart of the thing too; but it is clearly not for me (at least so seems it) to unravel and get hold of! So be it.— Lady Harriet wrote last night that you were to take other days, if Thursday failed: but that I imagine you will hardly do; nor indeed (especially in my present mood) can I recommend it. Tomorrow, of course, I may expect to be in better case; but in the best case I feel that home were better. Taylor professes to be improving here: but for me I do not look for any “improvement,”—with sleep in so impossible a figure.

Today I did not mean to write at all: but I find you will hardly hear of me at all otherwise, if you come on Thursday. I should send a line to John too, and must by no means forget my Mother and Alick's Letter.

What you say of zero and amusements has a deal of genuine sense in it, Dear,—only mixed perhaps a shade too much with CHREOSOTE! That too will mend. Adieu my own little Dear. My clear duty at present is—to go out and ride. Ever yours

T. Carlyle.