The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 14 June 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520614-TC-JAC-01; CL 27: 143-145


Chelsea, Monday— [14 June 1852]

My dear Brother,

I got your Letter; thanks for the good news you still send,—thanks also to a Higher than you! Here is another Letter which came this morning from Alick and from Jenny's Lasses, which nothing but favourable tidings, and will be welcome to my Mother and the rest of you.

I have been reading all day, Seven-Years war matter, which is very heavy,—reading with about 10 maps moreover, which makes it such a job as you may fancy. Wanting to get thro' the maps at least with daylight, I have altogether belated myself, and must write with far more haste than I anticipated; leaving all other jobs, except a small walk amid the rain, to wait for a better opportunity. The rain still falls at frequent intervals; warm from the Southwest, the sky always grey, and seldom the smallest draught in any wind that visits us. We are now thoroughly wetted; and some, I understand, are afraid of injury upon the blossoms of the young wheat.

On Saturday we had a tough business, electing our Librarian. Gladstone, with Bunsen and Lyttelton and Lansdown to back, made due appearance, and had all along been very diligent and eager for his Neapolitan Signor of merit; there were 22 of us in all,—11 candidates still left on the List, above 200 had been thrown over as a preliminary:—speeches were spoken, manoeuvring went on; finally I advised that we shd go to vote, as we “were not convincing one another,” tho' all manner of really politeness, candour and delicate managet was going on: Presidt Lord Devon, an accomplished old stager, took the written votes;1 counted them out amid considerable stillness: “For Donne 18, for Lakaita (the Signor of merit) 4”;—after whh we departed, most of us, with mutual congratulations. A vote was adopted too of general esteem for Jones, and recognition of our obligation to do something for him in the way of permanent promotion, were Donne once on the ground. Donne a friend of Spedding, Milnes &c, a scholar of distinction, capital “man of business” (they say), and small Norfolk Squire who—even the J.P.s love him,—appears to be, if testimony can be credited, little short of an “Admirable Crichton,”2 fit to be the envy of surrounding Libraries; but we shall see better what stuff is really in him, when once he takes his work in hand!— Thinking you might like to hear what the issue was, I snatched a bit of paper, and had actually scribbled you a couple of half-legible lines,—for my hand was quite shaking, and I was all thrown into flurry by the bother I had had (“speaking” too, tho' witht the aid of parliamentary eloquence):—I was still in time for the Post; but in the confusion of the place, before I could find a cover and wax, I had actually lost my tiny scribble, and couldn't find it again at all! There it still lies, or rather has gone to the fire and final rest. Happily nobody could well read it, or even think of reading it, and it was signed only “T. C.”— I meant to ask Jones today abt your Book-parcel, but cannot now till tomorrow.— Forster is lying terribly ill, of universal rheumatism, these 3 weeks and more; now a little recovering. John Chorley has had the measles! Take care of my good old Mother,—I see you do. My love and regards to all. Your affectionate

T. Carlyle