August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 22 January 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580122-TC-JAC-01; CL 33: 165-166


Chelsea, 22 jany, 1858—

My dear Brother,

I got your second little Note this morning; and will begin the day with sending you the “two words” you are brotherly enough to long for. I went to the Grange after all, for three days, with my Horse,—with him, but returned without him:—I got your Note there on Saturday night (the House by that time all empty of foreign persons);1 I intended to answer; and actually had pen in hand, one night; but found obstructions interruptions, and so it was not done. Returning on Wedy last, I found such a cartload of Friedh confusions accumulated in my absence (in particular, I think about 90 pages of proofs), and so many things to settle, that I have not had a moment to myself, nor am likely to have for a couple of days yet or more. Happily my poor Jane is somewhat better; she had a little improved on Friday and Saturday,—whh made her urge the shocking unpoliteness of breaking an express promise, and despatch me at the eleventh hour She professed to be still farther improved when I came home; and in fact does sleep perceptibly better (tho' still very ill) and eat also a little better;—tho' her cough, I perceive, is rather worse than before: and in fact she is weak and heavy-laden to a degree, and nothing but an invincible spirit could keep her up at all.

It was the first day of the thaw when she discovered her cold; but I doubt not it had been getting ready in the cold days before;—indeed there were some wretched operatives here, busy upon the grate, and its back and its tiles, down below, with whom she had a great deal of trouble and vexation; they, I think, had mainly done it. I had at any rate a considerable notion to kick their lime-kits and them completely out of the house; but abstained from interfering at all, lest exp[l]osion2 shd rise. Poor little soul, I have seldom seen anybody weaker, hardly ever anybody keeping on foot on weaker terms. But if she cd only continue to have half sleep (instead of only 4th and lower proportions) I shd expect her to be able to get out again on good days, & so to recover soon anything she has lost lately.— She has a particular pain, about a handbreath below the heart,—rather sore to the touch (or the pressure), not sore at all if not stirred; nor seemingly connected with coughing otherwise than by the mere stir produced: this is now some 3 weeks old, and vexes her somewhat;—Tait yesterday (judicious kind man!) assured her he knew that; and it was “an inflammation of the pleura” just getting under way!— If you can form any guess about it by this description, you may tell me.— I must now get into my rubbish again; one hope only, that I shall have done with it in 3 or 4 months if I hold out. Affectionate regards to all. Yours ever

T. Carlyle