1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 1 November 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18541101-TC-JAC-01; CL 29: 182-183


Chelsea, 1 Novr, 1854—

My dear Brother,

Yesterday Mr Mares's man came down hither to bid me call at his master's, as had been appointed long before; which I did, in the afternoon;—& found the Inscription marked out in pencil upon the Stone, ready to be cut, if found right. It seemed to be perfectly exact to your Paper, and very neatly put on:—a little, very little, divided into lines (as the lapidary fashion is), but so as to help the sense withal (e.g. “Daughter” of so and so, in one line or perhaps two, “Widow of” &c in another, nearly of the same length): it was agreed that he should put the character part of the Epitaph, a little father down on the Stone (as there was room enough); and also (very slightly and to a less degree) disjoin in the same manner the Narrative part of it from the Descriptive;—as thus

In Memory &c

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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Carlyle M.D.

wider space

Born - -

still wider

A truly &c

I am to call today; shall find the man cutting the upper portion; and expect to require to spend no criticism on the other, Mayres being an understanding man, and expert in that sort of work. The Stone is sound white Portland, all correct and the best kind. He is to paint &c &c so soon as the Inscription is cut; expects to have it perfectly dry and ready about this day week: after which I am to go and see it in its place, and if I say nothing to Mayers, it will mean that I have informed you it is all right, and he is to consider his money earned. And so it stands;—and I think you have nothing more to do but let it so stand.

This morning there came this Letter from Jenny in Canada; of which I can make little except that they have not got the Letters sent them: I remember very well indeed writing to Alick a long letter; to him at least, whither any expressly to Jenny I do not quite remember.1

The end of last week I caught an ugly whiff of cold,—being in fact in a most deranged state of liver at the time; liver obstinately neglected for a long while. I was obliged to take strenuous measures therefore: blue pill, castor &c on Sunday; which beat back the cold altogether, but has left me a very weak being ever since.— “Dreadful spirits,” for most part; and totally unable to make the slightest impression on my work; which is the saddest feature of all! I try, I try; but to no purpose, or next to none: Heaven help me; for on Earth nothing is very likely to do it, I imagine!

Have you returned from Scotsbrig? I infer you would not stay long: young Jamie's Note to me indicated you as coming. From Jean I have yet heard nothing: poor soul, I fear her finger is not yet very handy for writing, and that I myself ought to have written. I have somehow always fancied her in Glasgow, and have put off.— I ought to cease here, having my whole day's work still ahead of me; and will,—

Remaining ever / Your affectionate Brother /

T. Carlyle