The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 22 July 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530722-TC-JWC-01; CL 28: 216-217


Chelsea, 23 [22] july, 1853—

Thank you very much, my Dear, for your judicious & kind attention in writing, and in not writing. You may judge with what feelings I read your letter last night, and again and again read it; how anxiously I expect what you will say tonight! If I had indeed known what was going on during Monday, what would have become of me that day?— I see everything by your description, as if I looked at it with my own eyes: my poor beloved good old mother! Things crowd round me in my solitude, old reminiscences from the very beginnings of my life: it is very beautiful, if it is so sad, sad; and I have nothing to say,—I, like all mortals, have to feel the Inexorable that there is in Life, and to say as piously as I can, God's will, God's will. Ah me, ah me!— Upon the whole, I am glad you went there at this time. If you could only begin to sleep, I should be thankful to have you there in my own absence. Write to me, do not fail to write, while you continue.— Was not that a beautiful old Mother's message: “None, I'm afraid, that he would like to hear!”— Sunt lachrymae rerum.1

I am grieved to hear of your want of sleep. Try I beg of you; and by no means give it up “till you come home!” There is absolute quiet to be had in your room (especially if you will tell Jamie or Isabella of it) from 10 o'clock til 5, while the people are asleep: after that, I believe, quiet is not attainable at all. You need not be apprehensive of Jean where you are; she really likes you, and has good insight, tho' capable of strong prepossessions. John, even if you were in his way (which I do not think at all), has nothing to do with it. The rest are loyal to you to the bone. Rest then till you get back to me; I shall long greatly to hear you have got a little sleep; and this evening's Letter, I hope, will bring me that good news.— — Surely, as you say, it was quite wrong to give such quantities of wine &c to an old weak person. I hope and trust, John has entirely abandoned that system: it is a purchasing of momentary relief at a price which must be ruinous.

I have done my task today again: but I had drugs in me, and am not in a very vigorous humour. My “task” is a most dreary one: I am too old for blazing up round this Fritz and his affairs; and I see it will be a dreadful job to riddle his History into purity and consistency, out of the endless rubbish of so many dullards as have treated of it: but I will try, too; I cannot yet quite afford to be beaten: and truly there is no other thing attainable to me in life except even my poor scantling of work such as it may be. If I can work no more, what is the good of me farther? We shall all have a right deep sleep by and by, my own little Jeannie; thou wilt lie quiet beside me there in the divine bosom of Eternity, if never in the diabolic whirl of Time any more!— But this is too sad a saying; tho' to me it is blessed and indubitable as well as sad.

I know not if my poor mother can read now at all tell me if she ever can of late. I had sent yesterday two Books, which were good for nothing. Last night this “Penny Tract” came; addressed in Chambers's hand, from Edinburgh: it seems written by Chambers himself, at any rate it is worth sending, and will fill an hour for you when you have nothing better to do.

The Builder has sent in his plan: decidedly a good and promising soundless room; size 19ft by 21, & 14 high at the very highest; cost total £169; time “six weeks.” Of course I will do nothing in it till you come, if then anything, at least immediately. This is really a nice room now, or you will soon make it such. Not the least paint-smell or other mischief remains in your room; which Fanny shall have clean as Spring water for you agt your coming; and the silence at night is perfect or about it.

I called at the Fergus's2 one day; found Elizth & Jessie; strove to be agreeable; and—caught a “private-dinner invitation!” Alas, that comes the night after tomorrow. Tomorrow night is a “dark soiree” (all men) of Asiatic Society3 at Bath House, to which I have got a big card, and must go. I called on Lady A. yesterday; less mocking than usual; it is to have a last Addiscombe party on Saturday week, and then go for the North.— Adieu, Jeannie mine: God bless forever my poor Mother and thee!— T. Carlyle.