August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 11 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570811-TC-JAC-01; CL 33: 18-19


Chelsea, 11 Augt, 1857–

My dear Brother,

I got both your Letters in succession; and need not say that they were welcome to me. For some time I have been waiting the day which has now come (the end of a certain bit of work) that I might answer a word or two: and this very morning there arrives this Note from Tom in Canada,1 whh is also a thing needing to be forwarded. That blazing Steamer under the cliffs of Quebec: Alas, I did not know there was anybody in the remotest way connected with our affairs who was there;—I sometimes asked the question in my mind, too, and here it is answered! I did not know the poor Hanning lass nor her husband at all.2 Of course it will be a great grief in Jenny's House; nothing can be fancied more hideous (except perhaps our present Indian matters!) than the whole thing looked to me in the Newspapers.

And poor Mary Little:3 the last time I can remember to have spoken with her was, wading in the Burn (children probably abt 7 and 6), fishing for minnows, or picking up “dowie-stanes” after a flood: nothing can be clearer than that picture in my memory;—and after half a century and more, the gates have closed. Poor Tom Garthwaite, too, my fancy has often seen his grave in Hoddam Kirkyard since you mentioned his departure.4 One goes after another; and the big Ball of Earth is getting very solitary for some of us.

My Printing goes on here,—after endless retardations, abstruse settlements and preliminaries;—but it is now actually under way (2 sheets, or 1½ as minimum, per week); and I have got a scantling of pages, 150 or so, altogether off my hands for-ever and a day! That is truly a consolatory feeling. If I can hold out for about another year, the first part (9 tenths of the whole, in point of labour) will be loose from me: fair wind and full sea to it,—I never wish to hear of it again in Time or Eternity!—

Jane leaves Auchtertool, Thurday5 next; comes over to Edinr to her Aunts again, and perhaps to a touch of seabathing, for a week; then back to Haddington, to take leave, according to promise: I compute she may be with me again about the end of the month. She does not appear to be at all strong, far enough from it; but is perhaps not quite so weak as she was.— Farie has run off to Edinr on the sudden, after endless speculating. Tom Wilson is home from Weimar; brown and lively Tait paints here (interior of the dining-room) for, I shd think above six weeks past; is now busy “toning” it, he says;—seems to expect great benefit from it “in a hundred years hence”!— We have had the warmest summer I ever saw here; none near it since 1834. Crops, mostly in, are said to be excelt.— Adieu, with kind regards to Jamie & the rest.

Yours ever affecte / T. Carlyle