The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 19 June 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520619-TC-JAC-01; CL 27: 145-146


Chelsea, 19 june, 1852—

Dear Brother,

It is saturday, and I must not let the week close witht writing half a word to assure my good Mother and the rest of you that we are well. Nothing else is ready for saying. I have, for the rest, a real hatred of writing, at present, and studiously avoid it all I can.

You got Jones's Books, I hope?1 There was a considerable parcel taken up from here, while it was still in time; and the whole were to go off “that same night” (Wednesday, I think). You can send the Charles V. to Dumfries when there is opportunity, if nobody want to read it at Scotsbrig. I fear my Mother will not be able to stand it? I have not yet announced it at Dumfries; so of course they are not in hurry for it. The last Vol. of Chalmers will stand a good deal of reading! I had a very kind Note from Hanna in answer to some word of thanks I wrote for it. Margt Fuller will perhaps amuse you here and there, tho' it is dreadfully longwinded and indistinct,—as if one were telling the story not in words, but in symbolical tunes on the bagpipe!—— We got Jeffrey's Life too,2 which is readable (and little more) but somebody has it out on loan this while, and we wait for another opportunity.

Our weather is still very showery, but to me not disagreeable; the temperature is gentle, and there are hours of the brightest blue. My influenza is quite gone; I even in some respects feel a little better, and clearer for the disorder I had. Within these few days I have taken to a “compress” (girdle of wet-towel!) which seems to produce more effect on me than any other of the water-cure regulations. We shall see whether it continues. The water-cure affair is fairly equal to zero for me as yet.

I have seen Donne, our new Librarian, once; a grave-eyed, grey, gentlemanlike little man of 45, very civil, very intelligt (not in the transcendt degree), and to all appearance a very honest, diligent and respectable kind of man.

Last night, at the Ashburtons', I saw the (expelled) Duke of Holstein-Augustenburg, a mournful tall lean princely man, son of him who gave Schiller the pension: he has come over here to look after his shattered affairs (I suppose),—some £12,000 a year has been appointed him (by Downing Street) in lieu of all claims and possessions, with banisht from Holstein superadded; and they don't pay him the £12,000, it appears, or make any main [intention] of doing it.3 We had to speak French, or I should have got some real good of his talk, which is much more rational and serious than that of English persons of rank (or not of rank) in genl. We have a speculation here about taking a big lease of this House, and building a new Story on the top of it,—by way of getting a matchless study-room there, lighted from the roof, and perfectly free of noise and some other nuisances! There is some considerable likelihood of getting this fairly set about;—but I will tell you more upon it when there is more time.

John Chorley has come in, and waits; Miss Wynn has come in, and called me down, and is now gone. Alas, Jane is out, not mounting guard over the second story; and this “wooden guardian of my privacy”4 can itself do nothing.

Tell me again about my Mother; still more minute description of her ways and general state, wd be welcome. And bid her know always, if it can do her kind and true heart good, that my poor affection is hers forevermore,—the good old Mother! Love to one and all. Ever your affecte

T. Carlyle

Your Letter, this instant, come! I will go and speak to Jones