August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JWC ; 21 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570821-TC-JWC-01; CL 33: 43-45


Chelsea, 21 Augt, 1857–

Well, poor wandering little Soul, if you can stand the five sermons and the no-dinner— But that latter clause I decidedly object to; and bid you arrange to dine with Betty that day (you have cunning enough to contrive it); in some way you absolutely must have some natural living, and see that one way or other you do manage it!— No other evil consequence has followed your change of plan, except it be this very slight one: The American Novel1 and 7 or 6 sheets are, in all probability, today at Haddington waiting you. Post-Office has a right to keep such things lying one day; to guard agt such possibility of your coming unwelcomed to Sunnybank tomorrow, I took time by the forelock,2 & here we are! The Novel will fairly keep; and the sheets too,—however if you want these at once, it is best telling one of your old Ladies to draw the string of the Parcel; between the two volumes they will find the sheets lying: these with a string tied round them and an Address will come for 2 pence;—only they are not to be lost this time, being “perfect copy”; so take care of them when they do arrive.

The two stamps on last Note were of Tom Wilson's doing:3 I admonished him three times that till he got to Sloane square he must forbear, five p.m. being come; but that at Sloane square or anywhere farther on— Well, he walked away to Tait's with the Letter safe in his pocket; and there they had to put on the second stamp.— He is off to Weimar today; Tait tones one other day here; then on Sunday goes off for Manchester “Art treasures”;4 for Scotland;—and you will find the Picture5 wonderfully far off finis still at your return, if that were much a sorrow to your hard heart! Such a feat of Painting I did not see before.

There are two more sheets this morning, and others will wait the return of Goodykin,—I wish we saw it: tho' don't hurry if you are getting the least benefit; it is too good news to hear you are perceptibly stronger! I pray you confirm that news if you can.— — I am downstairs today again; driven by the Sun. Ever since that thunder, we have had east wind, grey in complexion; today it has flung off its grey cloak, and shines out in potency of Sun. I had to get below the Awning again, and am now beside the Barrel.6 Writing at that new mass of rubbish; making some progress. The worst is, “there is not the heart of a jay-piat” in me, to use Jamie's phrase:7 I want above all things a light mood of spirits to gallop thro' such topics; and, alas, where is that to come from? We must just do witht it. I rather think I am perceptibly better in real health than I was last year this time,—tho' with such drawbacks as you know of;—I am well aware, mourning and kicking agt the pricks8 is not the way to mend matters.

Nothing but this Letter of Fitzgerald's has come to me: a kind of grunt from the Beauty down at Hythe9 one may reckon to be almost a minus quantity. Parlt itself is abt giving up the ghost;10 Majesty just going off to Balmoral.11 Poor little Fleming,—“bound to Raith,12 Kirkcaldy,” he says (so true is it, we are all one people),—is almost the only creature with a face I know; creature not of value to a high degree. John Chorley—but the voice of the innocent east-wind is perhaps preferable in genl. Anne is doing me brown soup;—I perceive she will have the House in order for you. All well in short, dear Jeannie, in our little Life-Ship here. God bless thee;—come safe back to it! T. Carlyle