The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 7 October 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501007-TC-JAC-01; CL 25: 254-256


Chelsea, 7 Octr, 1850

My dear Brother,

I got your Coniston Letter safe, then the Scotsbrig one, announcing my Mother's and your arrival;1 so that I suppose there has been nothing lost; and I write to you with the account straight. I have not much time; but you shall get duly a part off the very beginning of it.

Do not neglect to tell my Mother one small particular, which was interesting to me on my railway journey. She gave me one day some “peppermint-drops” to chew on the road to Dumfries: I had not meddled with them that day nor afterwards; but they were still sticking in my waistcoat pocket, and I took them successively in that huge long-continued clangour of locomotive machinery (fit for nothing but iron or dead substances to travel in),—ate the last of them between Camden Town and Euston Square,—with real benefit, and you may suppose with many a kind and beautiful tho' sad reflexion, as we roared along! Tell her this.— In Express Train travelling, I do think it wd be suitable to take provisions both of food and water with one; the rest might then prove manageable; and one wd be a shade less miserable!

I am now pretty well got out of my railway sufferings, yet only just now; for last night (after Castor &c!) is the first truly good sleep I have had; and a dirty headache had attended me all along till then. I have been as silent as a mouse; generally passing day and night perfectly alone,—tho' one or two curious observers have discovered me. But the poor servant here is a very feckless creature; inadequate to feed or tend one with any perfection in such cases;—of a morning especially I am painfully reminded of Isabella's Coffee;—this has kept me back a little But I am otherwise greatly mended by my silence; and indeed have nothing to complain of now. It is settled that we are to have a new servant, one experienced in her work, of whom Jane knows, directly on her return,—her return which is also to be mine, as you will hear.

For it has been arranged that I am to be off again to The Grange on Wednesday,2 to join Jane there, and bring her home on the “20th,” which was her natural term. She “cries” (about the ill-attendance on me), frets herself to fiddlestrings, they report; was getting great good of the country, but must come home directly if I will not come:—in short, I have found it quite uncivil not to say I wd come; and so I am off on Wedy again, and she meets me with a carriage at the Andover Road Station. There has been talk farther of a fortnight excursion with the Ashburtons to Paris,—talk this long while, which must either turn3 Yes or else No “abt the end of October”: in some respects I shd like it very well, in others decidedly ill; and so it hangs uncertain yet, depending on my “health,” as it has all along done.

Helps's wife had seen me on the street; Helps has found me out here:—so has Craik, this morning about 10 O'clock; and has sold me an Annual Register (“75 voll. in Russia,”4—unseen) for £8, whh I have paid! Poor Craik, he is just on the wing for Belfast; and seems to be in a variety of confusions, tho' cheery and thick of skin for fronting them.— Nay on Saturday, as I stept forth to walk, there came to pass—Farie! Farie was in a cab, to see Jane,—abt his Wahlverwandn (with a murrian to it5), concerning whh he has written today;—come from the Watercure “to see his Brother off to Lisbon,” and just abt returning to the Watercure;—dull as ever, to a degree! None other but Chapman and the Banker's Clerk (brief words to each) have I spoken to here. And so enough in all conscience about myself and my affairs here.

Poor Leitch sent me an enthusiastic Note, the morning I left Keswick,—partly aimed at Alfred Tennyson too, to whom I sent it on Saturday with an explanatory word.— I fear there is little question but you have decided right about the Dentist; but it strikes me some new arrangt of my Mother's way of life,—some house for Jenny and her, and for yourself if you thot of6 living mainly thereabouts, and for me too on occasion,—is fast becoming very desirable? I will write farther about this soon— I hope Jamie's stuff is fast getting in?7— Blessings be with my dear Mother and you all!— Yours ever / T. Carlyle