The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 18 December 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501218-TC-JAC-01; CL 25: 310-312


Chelsea, 18 decr, 1850—

My dear Brother,

Here, this morning, is a Letter from Alick; which a little hastens the purpose I already had of writing you a word, in answer to the last messages you sent me. You are very punctual in writing; and you may believe me I am duly thankful, whether I say so or not. I in general have little or nothing that I care to write, being very still and as if quite mute in these dim winter weeks.— Poor Alick, as my Mother and you all will be delighted to learn, is going on tolerably,—all but his rheumatism, which we may hope is but temporary;—his finances seem still a little confused, as was from of old the tendency with him; but they appear to be coming fairly round too: and in the meanwhile, hope, and [hon]est industry with an aim before it, are his portion in this world; the best porti[on] this world can give to any of us.— Some time in October I wrote a long Letter t[o Al]ick; but he does not appear to have received it at the time of writing.

We hear from Auchtertool that you have a project of a visit thither before you. Thomas Erskine is at Linlathen, just now; if you go to Fife, Dundee is but an hour or two farther: a little excursion to those parts would knock the rust a little off you. But do not stay long; our Mother will be unwilling enough to let you stay long! Her Crookshankthat I spoke of has never yet come; but I suppose it will: at any rate we are getting some little Parcel ready, to come one of these weeks, either with that Book in it or something else. In the meanwhile, you can say we are busy eating the Ham; item the Butter,—and with regard to the latter it is remarked that no equal, not to say better, article of the kind has come athwart our experience for many years back. Thanks to all the kind souls for their care of us!

You would read Jean's Letter about the Houses in the Dumfries neighbourhood. If you happen to be again in that quarter, you might a little continue your investigation in that respect; but I think it is by no means worth while to go on purpose: my one temptation into those parts wd be some place where I could quietly lodge for a month or two in the year; to take up house there, and begin life again,—this, always when the extreme pressure of bilious misery is withdrawn, seems a quite unwise thing to me. The “Dungan's Lodge” place, of which she gives no new explanation, seemed to me the likeliest. Alas, alas, it is a terrible pity one hadn't a body that would stand tear and wear a little!

Tonight John Chorley and I are to go to the Society of Arts in the Adelphi, to hear Adams the Coachbuilder (who is eager about my going) “lecture on Railway Extension.”1 [“]À la bonne heure [Well and good].” Poor Adams, I learn, is fallen utterly bankrupt, and his Stratford Establisht has vanished: poor fellow; one reason more to make me go and countenance him.— We had Wilkinson of Highgate (Hampstead!) here lately, with one O'Doherty, a blethering Irish-French socialist, without sense;2 item Ruskin and Wife, of the Seven Lamps of Architecture,—a small but rather dainty dainty dilettante soul, of the Scotch-Cockney breed.3 Macready called yesterday (we have been twice, treated, to see him), a really serious kind of man: same evening we had—Farie poor soul, very “healthy” owing to “water-cure” (no end to his celebrating of that); but as dull as ever.— — Dear Brother my paper is utterly done. Oh take care of my Mother! Blessings to you all. Your affecte T. Carlyle