July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 5 October 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18551005-TC-JAC-01; CL 30: 77-79


Chelsea, 5 octr, 1855—

My dear Brother,

Tomorrow, according to program, you will probably leave Cöthen; I hope there is still time to hit you in Hamburg: I did mean to write yesterday, and meant also the day before; but have been sadly hunted; and this now is my last chance. Happily I have not “anything important to say”: if we miss therefore, there will be no bones broken.

I punctually put your enclosure for Arthur1 in the Post-office, last time; of that, since I said nothing of it, you might have made certain. Jean has written to me, twice, a short note, from Dumfries: all appears to be going on well with her; and the affair happily over: a big Boy whom they are thinking (but not sure) to call Sandy,2 she says. I myself have been, and am, up to the throat in sorry paper-clippings and scriptorial rubbish, ever since my return to this garret. Rubbish that will never come to anything, I do clearly think; but which requires to be worked out to a kind of issue, for conscience sake, and then flung away. This does not relate to Fritz hitherto; whh makes me the more impatient to have done with it.3— I kept N.'s horse for a week after returning hither; and rode diligently with it in spite of the mud: N. took it away last Monday, Sunday evg having proved too wet for his visit. We have a great deal of splashy weather for some days past: thunder-showers, sudden gusty deluges, of late; there fell yesterday afternoon such a waterspout of that kind as I have rarely witnessed for half an hour. I stood sheltered under a grocer's awning in the King's road; two successive Ommibus, shining as if cased in glass, were the only objects that passed.— I felt, and feel still, perceptibly improved by my three weeks of solitude and regimen; but there is the sad persuasion that matters will run down again to the old pass. I cannot afford to continue chasing health; and it will not stay with me on other terms.

I liked well your accounts from Weimar &c;—let me say here, I sent the Letter, like its predecessor, on to Jean, with request to despatch for Scotsbrig when finished: Mary at the Gill hears of you, too, lately—I remember that Schöll as a rather smart not unpleasant man (pretty like the Book he did on Goethe);4 the Librarian's laughing face is also present to me: none of the others (unless Goethe's amanuensis is one of them) can I recollect.5 You are likely to have been pleased with Erfurt,6 still more with Gotha if you alighted, and with Eisenach and the Wartburg most of all.

I was charmed to hear of your borrowing the Klein Volume! That was the most essential Book,—properly the one essential, or indispensable, just now. For in these very days I have at last got a Margravine of Bayreuth,—found it on sale for 2/6, and eagerly picked it up. It is the English Translation: so if you have found me a French one, I shall still be glad of it; but otherwise need not in the least mind. Bielefeld I have read and again read (but a half-true and rather flimsy piece, after all); when I want to see more of it, the Museum has a copy. Formey I never saw; but have not learned to consider as very estimable. Klein and Bayreuth were the jewels for me; and these I now have.

We are still very quiet here; but the streets are beginning to repeople themselves, and one occasionally meets a known face again. Very wet, as I said. Glen's son, John (my pension correspondent),7 came hither to me one day, and to tea the same night: a discreet well-mannered young man, not witht intelligence; Darwin8 was here that evg, too, and we tried to contrive getting Glen into a sight of “the Hospitals” whh he was desirous of. I found at last I could do nothing except give the poor youth a Note to Dr Thomson at the Middlesex:9 what followed farther I have not heard. Darwin, after some rustication elsewhere, is on the way to Shrewsbury &c; will be back in a week or two.— — Dear Brother, this Missive even if it do find you by Poste Restante, will do little for you, I fear! I need not continue it farther, under those conditions. I can only hope you will soon soon be safe home again; up in London probably before long. I think it pity you had not a House, now that you are wealthy and have four boys. Surely it should come to that by and by?— I have got no Pipes yet from Edinr, nor the least answer to a fresh Note. Mind the blockhead no farther: I have applied elsewhere. God bless you

T. Carlyle