October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 25 March 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570325-TC-JAC-01; CL 32: 109-110


Chelsea, Wedy Night / 24 [25] March, 1857—

My dear Brother,

Thanks for your Letter; which may be useful if Jane happen to fall at all seriously worse: she as yet stiffly declines having any Doctor,—did not find Shaw “do anything but certify that nothing could be done”;1 “never saw Thomson, tho he shewed very great attention in the matter of the Irish maid”2 &c &c In fact she shrinks at the idea of a stranger (especially of the London species):—I was thinking once of old Forbes, who has just been publishing a little quasi-medical Book, whh seemed to have very just notions of the Art.3 But I doubt he does not practice: nor if he did, do I know at all where he lives even. I have seen him often enough in old times: certainly rather a wooden old gentn, yet not without mother-wit in his head.— It will be best of all, if we do not need any medical man!— This is the crown of bad weather in these days; I never felt a more truly Greenland element; I ride sometimes with cape &c as in the heart of winter, and am not too warm.

Jane complains of toothache, as an addition, this afternoon; has had to get chloroform &c: poor soul she had little or no sleep last night; and has been a shade worse all day, but I trust it is not a relapse again. She absolutely has not stirred from the warm rooms. On the whole she is certainly much stronger than I have sometimes seen her since this began. [ … Sc]otsbrig Letter (what is curious to think of) there arrived one from Alick: a very touching and interesting piece I found it,—the sugar bush, the burnt trees, Alick's feeling of inexorable old age creeping on; an affectionate, most softhearted sternvisaged Brother,—at war with Fate, like the rest of us.

My work goes on, work could not well [be] worse. The light of hope is as if withdrawn from my eyes: it seems I was born to (among other things) sink in this spoonful of dirty water? I won't tho',—that is flat!

Jean tells me about Stevenson (of Glasgow) going out with a Free Kirk party “to Jerusalem”: what is that?4 Kind regards to Jamie and the rest

[signature cut away]