The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE ; 8 March 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520308-TC-JC-01; CL 27: 67-68


Chelsea, 8 March, 1852

My dear Jamie,

I have understood you were about changing, or had already changed, your old Gig into a new,—and that the cost, on the whole, was to be £12 for that useful operation. I hope you will allow me to bear the half of the adventure; as the Dr, it appears, intends undertaking the other half, this will make a proper finish to the job,—and be a real gratification to me. Many are the rides I have had on your conveyances and under your escort; many are the kind services you have done me; unwearied your readiness to help me in any way at all times! I beg you to accept this little remembrance here inclosed;—and farther, as I know your tastes in the writing way, I will beg you not to write about it, or to write at all till you are otherwise disposed so to favour: John will mention that the thing arrives, and that is all that need be said. And long may the new Gig run, and never carry you on any bad errand, but always on good ones!—

I wrote to my Mother, a day or two ago: I suppose John came home on Saturday or Friday, as he purposed? Let him write to me when he has gathered himself a little. Isabella, I was sorry to hear, is rather weakly this winter: I often think anxiously with myself how my poor Mother and she are getting thro' these inclement days! We have blocks of ice lying in the ditches, dust flying about as in the heart of summer: I hope it is better for ploughing than for my purposes;—but in fine it will soon be over, and so we need not complain about it.— I go riding often, in fact as often as I like; but it hardly seems to do me so much good as in old days; and it ties up my time terribly for me. In these fierce days, it is hardly possible, with all the jackets and Sagtail loose wrappages one has, to keep completely warm in riding. The raging uproar of all roads hereabouts, or almost all, is likewise a drawback. However, I have to admit that of all the outskirts of London this Chelsea (the instant one crosses the river) is close upon the quietest set of roads;—and indeed some of them, beautiful country lanes, are absolutely quiet, and cheer one's heart with the sight of real sky and fields for a few minutes. Add to which, my horse is altogether excellent: swift as a deer, ready for any pace, and (especially now that it has got acquainted with me) altogether innocent, affectionate even, and cheerily obedient. With which qualities,—since, moreover, it costs me nothing, I ought surely to be content!

I am very busy, reading &c, always fiddling about, with a tendency to be even in a hurry, and hard up for time; but unfortunately I make small waygate in comparison! My inside plagues me much in this and other respects, as it has always done;—and, alas, my want of adequate wisdom to manage that and other difficulties, is a still heavier drawback:—however, I fight away, as we all have to do; and hope not to stick quite in the ditch either, but to keep sprawling on so long as the “gea of life” is in me; which is a clear duty for us all.

Dear Brother, I must bid you adieu at present; but I hope it will not be long till we hear about one another again. My blessings and love to our dear old Mother, to Isabella and the rest. I am—ever your affectionate,

T. Carlyle