July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 23 January 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480123-TC-JWC-01; CL 22: 230-231


Alverstoke, 23 jany, 1848

Tomorrow by the Express Train; it arrives at Nine Elms1 at a quarter before 3;—shall, if all go well, be home in time for dinner! Please God!— A small fraction of good mutton (chop or otherwise), and one of Anne's puddings, in honour of the occasion? Or shall it be mutton-broth? What my Goody wills: really today I cannot say—

The Bear is to travel with me;—Senior (Praise be blest) did not come,—got an “influenza” or some blessedness or other. Your Letter arrived last night: superfluous anxiety! I hope my Letter too did.

We did not dine till 7½ last night, waiting for Senior; and I had had no lunch: was there ever anything more pathetic! Item I awoke early in the dark; lay long,—reflecting among other things that I had no spunks [sulphur matches] left. About 7, nevertheless, I rose resolute; kindled a candle by fusee (so dextrous was I), put on all manner of clothes, and went out to smoke. The dead silence, the earnest grey of the sea, dotted with many black ships, under the grim frosty sky, was worth looking at. I could have slept after I got in; but in five minutes, “—a little before 8, Sir,—” James came and woke me; breakfast still at 2 hours distance. I lay dozing for one hour more, not sleeping, carefully measuring the minutes in my head— My cough is a little the worse for all that series of adventures; but I still feel it to be intrinsically nothing,—curable in a day or two if I were home—

Lady Harriet is unwell these two days, complains of headache &c; is oftenest in her own room. The old Bear is full of oil; Baring, imperturbable, makes allumettes; the two young wives2 talk nonsense like pretty little birds twittering in a summer hedge: Charteris sketches all and sundry, full of riotous health and good humour; Taylor says little, except elaborate nothingnesses to the women,—or with solemnity reads Shakspeare nay Artevelde.3 We are a pretty society, but a distracted one. Ten days of such, with a cold to help, is about enough, I guess!

Tomorrow O Goody at 3 or soon after!— Keep within thy own room, for it is still very cold.

Yesterday I had an hour of rational speech with Richardson and his Wife: really rather entertaining and not mad. She asked kindly for you; is to become acquainted again in february. Good b'ye dear Jeannie mine

T. Carlyle