1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 17 February 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540217-TC-JAC-01; CL 29: 32-33


Chelsea, 17 feby, 1854—

My dear Brother,—No doubt you remember Andrew Anderson, and the “tavern-dinner” he gave you at Birmingham, many years ago, the Landlady applying to you for payment when it was done!1 Alas, alas—the next authentic account I get of poor Andrew lies in this Letter,2 which I got today at breakfast time; a sordid and miserable document indeed; which I send to you, for brief contemplation, not intending to do anything else in regard to it. You need not be warned, I suppose, to keep clear of that second Edition of the sad career of Andrew, which seems to go on (on a lower scale) as the first did: but if you hear or learn anything about that Widow with the school at Thornhill, and that wandering Glasgow youth, you may tell me by and by.3— Of course if there were any definite hope of doing the least good to him or to her by one's exertions, it would be fit to bear honestly one's share in such an adventure: but I doubt greatly there is none, but that vague beggary must be the lot of the second generation too. What a change! The last time I saw Andrew, perhaps five-and-twenty years ago, he was the Laird's son, a florid hopeful laughing youth, about setting out for Birmingham: and now it has come to this. “Telle est la vie [such is life]!” —

We have dreadfully hard weather here, tho' the sun is out today; a shower of rain merely damped us yesterday, and made everything chiller. Poor Jane has got a cold, and keeps the house, this is the second day.— — I am trying to work a little, but getting on ill. Tell me of your search for houses. “Pollock” son of the Chief Justice, whom I know a little, he is the Pollock that translates Dante; and I venture to predict, it does not supersede you!4 Of Dante, or of anything else, he can know only the surface; that I think certain! Give my kind regards to Phoebe.— Yours ever

T. Carlyle