The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 31 March 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530331-TC-JWC-01; CL 28: 92-93


The Grange, 31 March / 1853

My dear Jeannie,

We are now about the middle of our visit here, or rather farther; but there is really nothing to be written about,—and for the rest, no pen, no time or no anything to write that in! Yesterday I retired upstairs in the afternoon with a determination for “deliberate writing”; but it was too cold, I was too tired; on the whole, I lay down on two chairs, and fell asleep,—which probably was better after all.

Our Italian figures came at the due time (a few minutes after I had done writing last time); and they are now gone again, this noon, and we are merely British Subjects, with nothing but English to speak, instead of those unhappy jargons. Azeglio the younger, with shining big China face and glossy whiskers, you have seen, & I suppose not admired; his Uncle Azeglio the Elder is a much wiser-looking man, much leaner at any rate and sadder,—sternly sorrowful hawk-visage with large sad affectionate unhealthy eyes (the white of them all grey-yellow); a man I rather liked, but did not get much good of, owing to our different dialects and different ways of thinking;—nay I had like to have got into quarrel with him the first night, on the subject of Mazzini, having rashly attempted to rectify his wild notion he was expressing on that subject. It was in the Drawing room directly after dinner, Lady Ashburton presiding; but I made less than nothing of it; for at the 3d pass I said (finding Azeglio too bad in his utterances abt M.), “Monsieur, vous ne le conoissez pas du tout, du tout”:1 and turned abruptly away, and sat down to a Newspaper out of earshot. However, we did better afterwards; and I really rather liked the much-suffering man, who, carries yet in his knee a bullet he got in the Battle of Novaro (for which he blames Mazzini, I suppose).2— We had also a Portuguese Ambassador, of quick rather Jewish aspect, very fond of talking (bad French), with a wise enough little gleg brown Wife:3 but they are all gone, all—Dieu merci,—and I wish rather I too were gone; for (incredible as it may seem) I am but unhappy here; and cannot sleep or get a word of sense talked to me except by accident, whh does not suit at all.— But enough, enough, there is a noise here, enough to drown all sense in any mortal, and there is a cry of tea come (Venables & I very cold with riding): tomorrow I mean again to try writing a word, but don't be surprised if I still cannot get it done! God bless you.

T. Carlyle