August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 12 June 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580612-TC-JAC-01; CL 33: 239-241


Chelsea, 12 july [june], 1858—

Dear Brother,

I thought this had been Friday; but it seems indisputably to be Saturday; so that your Post will lose a day: however, I had better write at once, best before two. I am got out under my awning again (begirt with pianos and other mad discords, mostly voluntaries whh is the aggravating feature of them)1: I cannot now write at all upstairs without stupefaction and headache soon coming on.

My Book is at last actually done;—last revise (sheet and half), a mere formal matter, will probably come tonight; I put the dates upon the margin of it, see if Chorley2 has any remarks (Chorley has read all the final proofs, and is occasionally of profit in his lynx-eyed way): that over, we are fairly at “end of vol II”;3—and anything farther can be settled from any distance I may be at, by aid of Rowld Hill.

The question now is, How to get my Horse and self carried into Annandale quàm primùm [as soon as possible]? In my horror at railways, I have thot I might so time it as to get to Liverpool in the right hour, and then take the Annan Steamer to conclude with. I remember you spoke once of a certain day in the week in whh the Steamer homewards was nearly empty. Is that still so? I tried it, then, I remember; and took the wrong day,—with penalties duly following.4 If you can give me as clear a chance again (hour, day &c), I shd endeavour to conform more faithfully. In the course of next week (say this day week or the Monday following), I might be ready; and cut myself loose from this unpleasant element one good time.

Jane is a little better than when I wrote last; but still as weak as need be. She does not yet decide positively on anything: but, I think, will be likely to follow me to Scotland, in not many weeks. There is small temptation to stay here, in our circumstances; the blessing of clean air to breathe, and some kind of silence to live in, are not denied, however ma[n]y5 others are. “Tingrrr, tangrr!” so my poor Lady neighbour (‘No 9’ they say)6 salutes the blessed Noon; a male young friend7 with an accordion and open window still nearer, is (happily for me, not for him poor soul) fallen sick and therefore silent. A “retired cheesemonger”8 too has his dog chained out, busy barking; hens that have laid are proclaiming the fact all round; and a dim tremendous sound of advancing Organ-grinders is occasionally audible in the distance!— “Dizzy” too, I suppose, is getting ready his eloquence for the evg:9 that, if one reflect, is the appropriate accompaniment to all these anarchic discords and delirious misarrangements.— Adieu, dear Brother. I wrote to Mary10 (not yet a second time); Alick's Letter is in my pocket still. Your affecte T. Carlyle