August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JWC ; 1 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570801-TC-JWC-01; CL 33: 1-3


Chelsea (Friday 3 p.m.) 1 Augt, 1857

Letter come today punctually, almost beyond hope; and charming do yesterday morning: Thanks, thanks,—if you cd only sleep! But that is a bad feature yet; and throws ‘a dark-brown shade’1 into the summer landscape. Will you not try bathing? That used to have a fine soporific effect some times on me in my paroxysms. I believe the rule is, “If you can soon get into heat again.” The salt has its good effect on the skin, over and above the sudden cold.— Comb is now in my pocket: a superb article (only too superb) of whh I will not forget the history.

Nero profits decidedly by his morning's bath; gallops out with me full of alacrity;—scratches less, evidently, than in any past summer: in fact is well, he,—tho' Postie is off,2 and Geraldine has not yet had him out again. Canaries, the other day, in the dark stew of Tait's photographing,3 inspired me with pity: I carried them up to the sill of yr Dressing closet; gave them a morsel of chickweed; whereupon they instantly started singing and nibbling; “Thank you kindly!” as plain as cd be sung continuing all the afternoon. “Want light, children?” Anne addressed them one morning, opening their window;—and indeed seems to be very kind to them. Your furs were all out in the air lately: big coat I myself hung upon the iron rod of the Awning, and there it heavily vibrated in the fresh sunny wind all day. Live-stock and dead-stock, you see, are doing well.

Poor Lady Sandwich's speculation has come to nothing.4 Emperor5 (so-called) of the French just coming over to visit Victory6 (blessings on them both,—of a kind!): Mme Walewski7 coming to Lady Sh; Addiscombe has shrunk to two days for her; and I (better have avoided even that, had it look civil) have undertaken “to ride out on Sunday,”—and that will be all, with a ride home again the same Evg. One week, six or four weeks, of the Country, especially of country diet, wd do me good: but not being able to get it8 (like Mr Lewis9 with his tea), “I can do witht it!” Anne makes me porridge every night but sunday; and I have the quietest bed, probably, in all London.— I have come down stairs again: upstairs won't do till the temperature fall and the wind rise. Book gets on foot by foot: I begin to think I shall live to see it done. Never to forget what a job it was.

Farie10 rode with me yesternight, “for the finale of this season.” His horse has flung him off again,—rearing at nothing at all:—“one must go out of London for some weeks”: only Whitherward? Poor Farie, tho' very dull, he is very honest, gentlemanly, friendly; and more like a human creature than anybody I see at present. Were he once away (but he is nothing like gone yet), I shall pretty much have the Town to myself,—everybody but a small suffering remnant,11 hacks of Parlt,12 being off. I did call at Lady Stanley's door13 one day, and left my name, not happening to have a card. Same evg her Husband (who is to stay a month yet)14 turned up as I returned home thro' the Park: Lady Sty goes directly,15 today or tomorrow, “end of the week,” they said.

You remember a Book I had borrowed from Van de Weyer and the King of the Belgians? Yesterday, in a Catalogue, stood the name of it for 1/6; I sent off: today it came;—alas, an imperfect Copy, only half the Book! But mark farther—in my press I had another half Copy of it (bot by Neubg in Germany for 2 pence long ago); and this, lo this was “the failing half,” and the two fitted one another, and made Unity (all but the binding)!— I will return the Van de Weyer article, with many thanks, this very afternoon.16

Varnhagen von Ense, the other night, sent a pretty little Book, and little Note; both of whh were pleasant to me. Book is by a Niece of his (perhaps older than you, however), and is dedicated to him: Biography of a German Countess (evidently a clever little creature; your Cousin Mary's face, brimful of talent); and it is really pleasant reading.17 Very easy German too. Will you have it? I am only half thro' but can soon finish: and then 1 penny (for it is not more than a thickish Pamphlet) will bring it. Say!—

And this all, dear Goody; and all right, or tolerable, if I could hear of yr sleeping! My task is rather behind: but it is so near 4, there will now be no chance of helping it. Nero has just come out; stationed himself near my chair on the warm flags, to ascertain if there is no thot abt dinner yet. I fear the Post takes two days to Auchtertool: tell me time, and I will try for improvet. Kind (really kind) regards to Walter & the fair cousins.18 Get some sleep, and write directly. Your affectionate

T. Carlyle