The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 3 October 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511003-TC-JAC-01; CL 26: 194


Chelsea, 3 Octr, 1851—

My dear Brother,—I am safe home again out of France; a comfortable fact, which, for my Mother's sake and yours, I make no delay in announcing. I got home yesternight (Thursday night) towards midnight; four hours after the covenanted time, and after a day of the hardest travelling I have had for long. We left Paris early (7 a. m. from Meurice's, I), no time for “breakfast” there, not till Dover after six in the evening was any real breakfast possible! Our railway was bad; we were an enormous crowd, French, Italians, Germans, all the dialects of Babel: such a day, such a week! But I am out of it all without skaith; have kept my promise, and am right glad to be at home anchored in my own quiet cell again, not to stir from it I hope for a very long while!— My supply of sleep was very scanty at Paris, such the noises of our unfortunate Hôtel quarters; otherwise my reception one of the best, and a strange new scene of life was suddenly laid open to me, which, so far as eyes would go, I had no objection to study. Strange, ever-simmering, quaint, conceited, revolutionary Vanity Fair!1 Of men, except M. Thiers whom I had met before, and whom I did not much care for (Heaven knows), I saw no one whom I did not almost rather dislike to see. A sad incredulous shallow grimacing set. Cavaignac had gone to the country. Changarnier we saw one evening in the Theatre: a biggish, baggy-faced old man (towards sixty) with small hook-nose, sulky mouth and eyes, high brow, and black wig (very low over the ears); I have somewhere seen a retired Scotch tobacconist, of obstinate atrabiliar temper, who considerably resembled him.2— — None of the Ashburtons came home with me; the Lady had taken cold; their dates and motions seemed to be very uncertain. Your Letter, as well as one from Jane, wd come two hours after my departure: they will be safely brot, tho' with delay. Yesterday here the carriers called for your boxes. Adieu, dear Brother: not a word more. All well here: may it be so with you too!3— T. C.