1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 24 March 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540324-TC-JAC-01; CL 29: 51-52


Chelsea, 24 March, 1854—

My dear Brother,

It seems a long time since I heard anything definite about your proceedings; I surely wrote last too? Tho' that indeed is a small matter.— I conclude you have not yet been able to fix on any house, or else you would have told me of it; and am sorry to think of the confusing uncertainty you must still be in on that account. Jean's glimpse of Dienby,1 which was the last view I had of the matter, seemed rather promising; but I suppose that came to nothing practicable either. The locality is very central for all the friends and kindred we now have in Scotland: a wholesome, quiet place too, and cheerful enough so far as scenery goes;—the House I do not know, nor anything more of it than the Gate on the Dumfries and Annan road, which is very present to my memory.2 On the whole I very heartily wish you had got some suitable settlement; for the period of doubt, speculation and inquiry is far from agreable, and very destructive to whatever industry one may be carrying on. A speedy settlement is to be wished; but still more, of course, a right and wise one: for the house one occupies, especially the neighbourhood one is in, is a very influential item in one's affair. I can only wish right heartily (if that were of any effect), your choice may at last be fortunate and judicious!—

Jane incidentally heard from Mrs Fraser,3 a while ago, that you meant to be up in Town, both of you, in the course of April. That also may be extremely wise, especially if you have yet found no house. Here clearly are houses in abundance, and ever more houses, such a building, and piling of rotten bricks under roman-cement as never was seen before! But it is a frightful place to take up one's abode in, too; this I very sincerely, and often with a sorrow which is not now impatient, being irremediable now, feel to be the case. But indeed, to me, all localities and habitations are pretty sure to be “frightful” more or less, and the “suitable” one, I believe, has not been discovered yet!— But what I had to say about April is, that we are engaged for Easter to be out at Addiscombe,—I think from the 18th to the 28th; note these days, I pray you, and let us not lose so much of neighbourship, which falls to us so seldom. For the rest, write me a word some day soon.

We are quiet here, almost as if in Siberia, much quieter than Moffat, I dare say;—struggling to be a little busy, and keeping out of the way of all people. Turk war, Palmerston eloquence, Reform Bill on and do off: all this is leather & prunella4 to us. Weather grey again and shockingly cold, which is good for neither of us.— Adieu, dear Brother, I dare not begin another slip.

With kind regards to your Phoebe.—

Yours ever

T. Carlyle