The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 21 December 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501221-TC-JAC-01; CL 25: 312-313


Chelsea, 21 decr, 1850—

Dear Brother,—Tho' I have hardly half a minute, and am in bad case otherwise, I will write you a word before the Post go.— Three days since, I addressed some lines to you at Scotsbrig, enclosing a Letter from Alick which had arrived: I hope they have used the freedom to open that at Scotsbrig, and read before forwarding it. Alick reported himself well, with the exception of some rheumatism; and had nothing else of very interesting to say.

Frost has come upon us here since yesterday; last night when I went out, the streets were all glassy, and a poor cab horse already lay sprawling amid a group of people at the end of Halkin Street.1 Owen the Naturalist had been here;2 a copious cheery and ingenuous man, whom I had not seen for years before: he left us to join some party where A. Tennyson was to be at supper,—a dangerous looking operation! Tennyson appears to be continually hovering about this scene of things; looking out for a house and unable to find one: I have never actually seen him since the evening at Coniston,—nor in fact in my present mood and his do I much wish it. Two nights ago we were at a big late dinner of the Wedgwoods'; of which the fatalities still painfully cling to me: crowds there, who bothered me with incessant speech and babble, hardly one word of which was not inferior to silence! Dr Gully, a new acquaintance on my side, seemed an intelligent man;3 but Chadwick, and the little stump of the Colonial Office (name gone at this moment, but snappish impertinence well known);4 Chevalier, Pulsky, and the Flock of Proteus— O Heaven!5

Jane is out in spite of the frost; a sign of her being tolerably well. Give our remembrances to Erskine when you see him; and ask if he is not thinking of London? The “Crystal Palace” is near up: but that, I suppose, will not attract him greatly! Farie was at the Wedgwoods', bragging as usual of the most miraculous state of health: poor good soul!— Give my regards to your revd Host6 and Cousin Jeanny. Yours ever

T. Carlyle