The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 2 October 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18531002-TC-JAC-01; CL 28: 281-282


Chelsea, 2 Octr (evening before tea) 1853

My dear Brother,

I heard nothing from you last week; and was sorry (tho' not without hopes it may turn to good yet!) that you were detained by sickness in your wayfaring household. Give my best regards to poor Phoebe; and bid her take all possible care of herself.

There came only a small Note from Mary in the shape of news from our poor Mother; from which I was thankful to learn in general that things were in their old frail way in [that]1 quarter,—nor decidedly worse; and, alas, how can we much look for improvement! The sad thought attends one everywhere; the mournfullest and tenderest that has dwelt in my mind hitherto,—and strangely contrasting with the haggard rubbish one is otherwise filled with to the lips in these bad days. Ah me, ah me!—

I staid at Addiscombe in perfect solitude (for Jane went home on Monday; I with her, but returned that same night); and in a silence equal to that of one born dumb: a curious 14 days or more I have had of it in that kind. Long walks, enormous reading, varied by tobacco at frequent intervals: one was peaceable, lonesome, pensive, mournful, as I suppose they are in the Elysian fields.— I did not sleep well; and was as far from joyful as possible: but I believe the thing did me good, both in body and mind. And indeed I am going to have a touch more of it before quite giving up: for yesternight on coming home (on foot, as has been my constant practice hitherto) to a “bagman's tea” (so-called), I found things still in such a whirl (tho' now decidedly subsiding), that for another day or two I shall clearly be better away among the green trees again. Tomorrow morning therefore, after speaking to my Builder about many sorry points of “business” (sorry all of them to me, in my present humour), I am off again; and shall stay probably till Thursday, before I pack up my good[s]2 and actually leave. Heigho!— — On monday last, and never till then, I got fairly in and saw my “new room” (for they have done it all from the outside to the very last); a spacious kind of place, and very light; but sadly disappointing in one respect: it is of irregular shape in two of the walls, and in part two feet lower than I expected! But, it now clearly seems, the “Surveyor,” with his “Building-Act,” stood in the way; and it could not be helped. Well, well!— Poor Chorley was much chagrined to notice my disappointment, for he has been as active as a gnome in superintending, in pushing, and controuling: good soul, nobody could be friendlier,—and his temper has some elements not of fresh-butter in it! On the whole, however, the place looks better this new time I see it; and if it be soundproof as the Chorley prediction confidently runs, certainly it will be a grand relief to me. Would I were at my work again, in it, or in any cell or safe inverted-tub; really I am getting quite discomfitted at this rate.— In the course of this week, I do expect the people will have got fairly off our staircase, and capable of being locked into their own premises again; there they will do little ill; and may go on papering, painting &c for six weeks more if they like. Enough of them, and their most wretched affairs! Everybody is “on strike” just now, or going on it; that has been a great and unexpected delay to my clever little man.

Adieu, dear Brother; do not forget to write me a little word, even tho' you have not much to say. My dear old Mother never leaves my thoughts.

Your affecte

T. Carlyle