The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 6 December 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511206-TC-JWC-01; CL 26: 251-252


Chelsea, 6 decr, 1851—

Nothingk for Craigenputtoch today either? I wish not to bother you writing; but the smallest bulletin about that cold wd have been very welcome today, not to speak of yesterday. There is none now possible till Monday:1 pray do not neglect to send me a word then,—or I shall get really uncomfortable on the subject.

I have not the smallest particle of news: how can I? I have hardly spoken three words (with one exceptn, of which anon) since you went. On thursday evg, desirous to hear the sound of the human voice again, and also wishing news of France, I walked with Nero up to Darwin's:2 no Darwin was there; but at the door stood Plattnauer, who, on being disappointed too, “craved permission,” and went grumbling semi-articulate words to me, thro' the streets, about Louis Napoleon's Female Friend, some years ago a walker on the streets of Brighton, now resolute to be “Empress of the French”3 (says Plattnauer). To escape from this, I struck in towards Chorley,—was cast upon the rock of Chorley; for he was most unmusical,4 if melancholy enough. Nero and I were very glad to get home again to our books and bones. I read all day with maps &c; at night I read without maps. What will come of it? I do gain a little knowledge about some things: that is to be accepted thankfully, in hope always.— — Thursday and yesterday I had two magnificent rides,—in spite of the mud and damp. Today I am due at the Library to see certain Books, and don't ride. Tomorrow again I do;—and am to see Ford in the evening (in private) at A. Sterling's: “mutton chop and cigars”;—a rather sorry adventure, and “Torrijos” &c or Ford's tidings about him don't concern me farther:5 but in fine the man himself proposed it, Stg rushed in on me “with a burning cigar” at noonday, and I found it shortest to say Yes. You can pity me if you like.

Lady A., as usual, I am happy to see, is merry with you:—I hope you did not forget to tell her in serious prose about that Mallet du Pan,6 and how I wished to send it according to bargain, but couldn't, and must now wait till I bring it. One of the dullest Books,—and cannot go by post owing to marginal marks.— Nero is white and well. Tell me that your cold is gone, and be good to me. T. C.

[Enclosed was a note7 on which TC added:]

“Ebenezer Syme” is a slender wersh; shopman of John Chapman's, whom I noticed when there about the American Newspaper lately. It appears he is a man of letters too, and sits in judgement upon man,—in Lawlor's Journal that once called me a “work of the Devil.”8 Of such ingredients is the celestial draught of “fame” composed in this era of the world. If they do even “dash the cup of fame from one's brow,” where is the great harm? It seems to me it must be poor liquor indeed!— — I ran over one of these papers while at coffee this morning; the other I did not look at. Burn them both, read or unread; at9 let Syme repose upon his laurels without interference of mine.