October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 25 January 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570125-TC-JAC-01; CL 32: 79-82


Chelsea, 25 jany, 1857—

My dear Brother,

I got your Aurora Leigh,1 and more lately your little Brown-Biography,2 all safe; a Note also whh nearly accompanied the Aurora Parcel. Jane has read that so-called “Poem,” too; but does not make very much of it:—indeed I apprehend it is doubtful whether there is any hit even of the purblind public fancy made;3 hit of the real mark to be aimed at there is clearly none, nor the dream of any. This Lady “hath a good utterance of speech”;4 but as to the thing said with it, one asks, Is it a thing at all?— A sad pack of people these rhymesters of our time! For instance I have this moment received from Boston a new—Translation of Faust;5 probably the 21st I have handled in my time. I mean to send it off to Dumfries at once (the rather as it seems prettily

View larger version:
[in this window]
[in a new window]

Colin Campbell

Reproduced from Lawrence Shadwell,

The Life of Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde (1881)


printed), without reading one word of it;—no time even for the smallest answer to the ingenuous youth who sends me such a Gift.

You asked if Kenyon whom you know of was the Kn that died lately.6 Yes alas, he certainly is; the Brownings' friend; of whom Bg was speaking at the door that day. Poor Kn died in a few weeks (month or two) after; left a great deal of money £180,000 they say: £10,000 of it to the Brownings, £6,000 to Procter;7 so much to Dr Southey,8 to the London University, to &c &c. It is reported he was heard to say the day before he died: “One is gratified to give so many people pleasure by one's death!” Which is a[s]9 curious a saying (impossible in any epoch but this) as I have heard for some time. His £10,000 to the Browngs struck me as probably less than they expected, but yet as the right sum.10 Poor Kenyon, he was a very well-disposed, fat easy-going man; trying always to do rather good among his fellow creatures, if he did anything.

We have pernicious weather: I never saw viler frost-mud (for such it is),—drizzles of despicable sleet, despicable but continual,—a wrestle always between ice and water above head, which makes under foot a thing you know! The Horse is under physic (precautionary, they allege!), and I have been off two days; today proving too intemperate, it was thought. Perhaps I am obscurely improving a little in health? No man can be more industrious in riding; or generally better carried in such weather. The progress of my work is so so; very far indeed from brilliant—ah me!—but I persist; if I live I shall get thro’ it.

I want you now to send me immediately the Addresses of James Cle and James An11 our Nephews at Glasgow; I am going to send each of them a Book. Also one to Alick's Tom.12 There is a Copy lying for you also; tho’ it is too small print for eyes like ours.— I get a very considerable quantity of bother from that thing too, as it goes on. Darwin13 is very poorly, not once out this long while. I yesternight saw Sterling & Genl Campbell, for a little,— busy ‘reforming the Army’ all they can.14 Send the Addresses straightway, if you can!

Yours always

T. Carlyle