1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 17 October 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18541017-TC-JAC-01; CL 29: 169-170


Chelsea, 17 Octr, 1854—

My dear Brother,—I called on Saturday Evg at Maves's with your Message;1 found one of the Brothers at home, who readily undertook, and professed perfectly to understand: I was to call again on Monday (that is, yesterday now), and see whether the practical Brother (for he was not then on the ground) had, in a completely exact manner, got hold of the Inscription with its points, capitals &c; I accordingly did call yesterday; got answer in the affirmative, “everything being quite plain”; I intended to make the man actually read the thing punctuatim2 along with me, but he could not get at it, after several trials, the “Brother” having locked it up and gone out. However, he said there was no doubt or difficulty. He was to proceed immediately, and to send for me to inspect, before it was taken out of the workshop. So I expect it will be satisfactorily done before long. There is no “trouble” to me in it whatever; and if there were?— I pray you get that comma altered on the other melancholy Stone;3 then tell me what it has cost that I may have the solace of contributing my part.

Today for the first time I have got my fire lighted here; now that the windows and double doors &c are all closed, I am greatly quieter; and with this excellent light, in such isolation, ought to try if I could accomplish something! The whole lies like a boundless mountain of dust, broken crockery, rubbish and Dryasdust marine-stores; the great difficulty is to get anything of human worked out of it; the great merit (if it ever be done) will be to have well forgotten 999 out of every 1000 portions I have gathered. Heaven help me!— My beard is still unshaven, inexpressibly ugly as yet; but nobody minds me with it, and I save half an hour daily. Probably I may persist.

The Boy William's notion about the Artillery (I suppose he is the mathematical Boy) seems to me very good; and he should be supported in it, and get it carried thro'.4 I am sorry to report dubiously of the Ashburtons,—report upon guess, that is,—and I should think the Duke,5 if he will at all act for you, could at once do it, and ought to be first applied to. It will much strengthen your case (and this ought to be insisted on, and made clear and credible) that the poor Boy is, in every respect, by talent, figure, manner and natural disposition, suited for the place he aspires to, and precisely such a Boy as one cd hope to make a good Artillery Officer out of. If the Duke won't and can't, then let me know, and I too will try.— Poor Jean, I am very sorry about her lost finger! Is it really so bad then? She already wrote to me with the middle finger.

Your ever affectionate

T. Carlyle