The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 24 October 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511024-TC-JAC-01; CL 26: 215-216


Chelsea, 24 Octr, 1851—

My dear Brother,

Perhaps you may think of sending Jenny's Canada Letter over to Grahame by the Meetinghouse on Sabbath;1 therefore I despatch it today, tho' there is not time to write beyond a word or two along with it. I am reading a great many Books, Ducarel's Normandy &c &c,2 and thinking a great many sombre enough thoughts, analogous to the brown-yellow livery of the season: but I cannot expect yet, with the least certainty, to fix upon any new continuous enterprise. Heavy immeasurabilities of labour are no longer exciting to me but rather deterring and alarming: “le jeu vaut-il la chandelle [Is the game worth the candle]?” I now ask that with more seriousness than I was wont in former years. Panizzi and the whole world (which P. accurately enough represents) are a formidable barrier against any earnest work of the historical kind.3 We shall see. I keep very silent, have as little as possible to do with any of my fellow creatures at present; and in fact, am, as I sometimes perceive, perhaps the most solitary of all the sons of Adam now alive on this Planet. That too, tho' not a joyous position, has its own advantages, if we will stand to it rightly, in an epoch such as ours.— — Thackeray was here the other night, “just waiting for his dinner hour” somewhere: perhaps I told you? We have had Mazzini too, and Masson and Bain,4 and others:—Eheu. Mazzini says, Ledru-Rollin is perfectly certain to be President next May! No saying.— Farie came stumbling in, the other day: dull as ever, and harmless except for boring. Miss Chorley is going still to reside with John, it appears. Jane is well; walks every morning, as do I faithfully.— — I think you are in my debt for Letters: I long much to hear again of my Mother. How is she; has she anything to read? I wish I could send her anything useful at all; but have only my poor blessing and affection, to her and to the rest. Yours ever

T. Carlyle

I have just written a long letter to Alick again,—properly a sequel and conclusion of the last I sent.