The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 14 September 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530914-TC-JAC-01; CL 28: 268-269


Addiscombe Farm, Croydon 14 Septr 1853

My dear Brother,

I got your Letter here this morning: I had had one from Jean, dated the day before; whose account of our Mother was much the same, only without those symptoms in the matter of sleep &c, which I hope are only temporary. I suppose the state of our poor frail patient varies from day to day, and almost from hour to hour: she seems however to have a great deal of spirit and perfect clearness,—the dear and good old woman! Ah me!—

We came out hither last night towards sunset, Jane and I,—Jane with the intention of returning for a couple of days about Friday,1 so soon as she has initiated me here; I meaning to continue as long as I possibly can. The situation at Chelsea was grown palpably unbearable! The Carpenters &c who are prosecuting their enterprise with a laudable alacrity, and making a tremendous noise, had decided now at last to cut thro' the floor and ceiling (their own new floor and our old topmost ceiling), and come fairly in upon us, in tempests of dust as well as tumult, for the purpose of making a staircase by way of entrance to their room,—which room is now almost finished in essentials, having got its first coat of plaster &c &c. Add to which fine prospect, new explosion from the winged forces of our neighbour Ronca (cocks crowing in the night time, parrots &c in the day); item that Fanny our maid is going off; that &c &c. Poor Jane herself is almost quite out of sleep; and little fit to contend with such a chaos of evil circumstances, which, however, she bravely does.— It was almost like getting out of Bedlam and Malebolge,2 to get out hither last night,— into the perfect “divine silence,” the bright green fields and bushes, and the beautiful sunset! Of course one will not feel it that way above a day or two: however I have Books &c with me; I will try in all ways to do my best,—and intend to hold out here to the last minute that will answer; surely at least till there is hope of a defensible bedroom at home: this, from precautions & new inventions, I expect soon that my old bedroom will be; not for ten days can the new staircase be completed. Alas, if there were but a steady poor old woman (dumb & deaf I think wd be an advantage) who [would]3 do me a poor mutton chop &c daily, I think at present I could like to stay here, mute and undisturbed by unreasonable noises, for the greater part of my life to come. For the last fifteen months especially I have had a terrible time of it;—as indeed (I perceive) the poor man with too thin a skin is pretty likely to have in all months more or less, and in all places under this Sun: God help him; had he the “genius” of Shakspeare or of 20 Shaksps, he buys it very dear!—

Write us a word as heretofore,—to this Address; and may all good be with you and your Household where you now are. Our weather he[re] is bright as diamonds; Edinr too has beautiful September days, as I have often seen. Adieu. Ever your affecte

T. Carlyle

Jane is out walking: Nero is half mad with joy,—over the broad expanse for hunting sparrows— —

(“The Lord Ashburton's / Addme Farm / Croydon / Surrey”)