The Collected Letters, Volume 27


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 27 July 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520727-JWC-TC-01; CL 27: 186-188


Tuesday [27 July 1852]

Here is a letter from Mr Neuberg Dear— No other came for you except the American one I sent—from Alick I hoped it was— We go on here slowly but surely. Two days have the two headcarpenters been busy—really busy—levelling the cross beams in your bedroom—“Mr Morgan had told them to be most particular in getting the floor level”— Today they are putting the boards down— The Brick-layers are still in the front bedroom envelopping me every half hour down here in clouds of soot! But it will “come all to the same ultimately.” Now you are not here to paint out the horrors of every thing so eloquently, I dont care the least in the world about the noise, or the dust, or the tumble heels over head of the whole house—all I am concerned about is to get it rapidly on—which as Builders and Builders men are at present constituted seems pretty much of an impossibility— Yesterday I wrote to Mr Morgan to take back the third Carpenter and bestow him on somebody with more patience and a less correct eye than myself— But it's worse than useless plaguing you in your cool clean retirement there with the worries from which you have just fled away— Best you should forget the sound of our hammering altogether—so I will henceforth fight my own battle with the house, without saying a word about it—

Better news for you is that Lord Ashburton is “greatly better—quite well since the last attack—and gone on to the place in Swizerland”— Such was the answer to a message of enquiry which I sent to Bath house on Sunday—“His Lordship had written himself” to the large Housemaid— So all is right in that direction.

Mr Wrightson called the other day bringing that Mr Lenthall(?)1 who corresponded with you, a gentlemanly looking youngish man with a small—very small black tuft on his chin—and extremely indian complexion— He flatters himself with being descended from Oliver's favorite daughter; why he doesn't say at once from Oliver, then; I cant make out, but clearly he didnt consider himself descended from Oliver2 They staid a long time and seemed to think me “delicious”— Mr L speaks like a man who had stuttered at one time and completely got over it, and remained ever since in ecstasy at his own fluency. Dont be afraid that he wont come back!

Poor Dalwig is gone away he came on Saturday with Reichenbach to bid me farewell3— I gave him the Copy of the Life of Sterling I EXTORTED from you for Mrs Newton, who never got it—not in memory of Kate I told him but of myself; and he blushed and kissed my hand and went away rather sad, but with as manly and dashing a bearing as if Kate had been ever so kind—I dont believe the girl will ever have such another chance in her whole Life!4 There was also here one day a Revd-Lewellyn Davis, Lincoln— Do you know such a person? he asked for me on hearing you were absent—shook hands with me—sat talking half an hour with me; as if we were friends—and did all this so cooly, and naturally, that he left me persuaded I had known him sometime— Did I ever know him?5 Clough too was here last night—and Miss Wilson again to offer me her carriage “to do any business I might have”— She promised to drink tea with me on my return from Sherborne6 where I still mean to go on Friday—and stay till Monday. It is a long way to go for so short a time—but I should repent it afterwards if I did not gratify that poor dear woman's wish to see me once more—

Would you ask Mr Erskine to read the inclosed note and tell me if he knows Admiral Stewart or Lord Harding or any one connected with the gun-factory at Enfield7— The writer old Eliza's8 daughter came to speak to me—about the wish expressed in this note—and left an impression so decidedly favourable on my mind that it would really give me great pleasure to be able to help her— She is a stout old looking woman now, with such a fine brave affectionate face— She brought with her for credentials a little letter I had written fourteen years ago to Eliza and which was found in a little pocket book after her death—and when she was dying she said “Oh ask Mrs Carlyle to come!—I would like she had seen my house in better order, but never mind, go for her—she wont refuse to come—and the sister (or herself told me before) said “it would be taking too great a liberty”!! Poor cross Eliza— Bid Mr Erskine return the note—

Ever affly your /

J W Carlyle