January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 14 March 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590314-TC-JAC-01; CL 35: 53-54


Chelsea, 14 March, 1859

My dear Brother,

I write you a hurried word up aloft here,1 after Tea, with plenty of business still waiting for me:—it will be better than no word at all. We go along here in the common way, or little below it; neither of us specially definable as ill, but suffering (possibly from the muddy tepid weather) under unusual fecklessness; and wishing we were a little stronger. Jane keeps afoot; takes her due drives, tries walking when the weather permits; and is surely a good deal better than she has been wont to be in the last two years. But her weakness is very great; her power of eating runs very low, poor soul, in these clammy days,—today she seems to be trying “total abstinence,” or something near it, by way of remedy to “a constant nausea” she complains of. We must do the best we can for a living, Boy!2— — As for me, the worst is a fatal inability to get forward with my work in this state of nerves and stomach. I am dark, inert and stupid to a painful degree, when progress depends almost altogether on vivacity of nerves! The remedy is— There is no remedy, but boring along mole-like or mule-like, and refusing to lie down altogether, tho’ one's day's work is hardly worth calling an hour's now and then. Oh dear, Oh dear!— But I am fairly into my Second Book;3 progress is sometimes made in an inarticulate way: by a twelve month more of this kind of effort (if so much be granted me), we may see land, after all.— Poor Neuberg, translating in such a sublime way is almost as ill off as myself, and looks as if his 2d volume wd last him a ridiculous number of months yet.4 He brot down, last night the inclosed bit of criticism by some grand Professor Leo (Berlin Jünker-Prophet),5 whh I was tempted into looking at after Ng went: I found it not to reward my perusal; but I send it to you for another chance; the rather as I was ordered to “keep it safe”: please just put it into a cover for Neuberg, and write “with compts from J.A.C.,” if you have heart for no more.

Rae6 sent yr Card, and came by subsequent appointt Friday night last: Rennies, Twisletons7 came too, but he preceded them by hours, and had talk enough: a good shrewd little fellow, tho’ of a very common type; wd grow wearisome at last, but is interesting while his Australian news last. A curious thing, to see such a man, one of many, with a fortune made in ten years!—Adieu, dear Brother; send word abt me to Jean. Yours ever

T. Carlyle