July 1836-December 1837

The Collected Letters, Volume 9


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 14 July 1836; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18360714-TC-JAC-01; CL 9:7-9.


Chelsea, Thursday, 14th July, 1836

My dear Brother,

Your Letter came yesterday; most welcome to me: last night I was at Mrs Buller's rout (of “the flower of Radicalism”) and begged a frank, tho' it was but little needful. Nothing but approval of your plans to send in it; but paper-scraps, mementos and good wishes.— Consider, my dear fellow, I have sat here writing at my Book, till [it] is a quarter past three; and then that I have an Enclosure for Jane to write!1

Jane, as you may have gathered one way and another, set off on Saturday Night for Templand: she was really getting utterly sick and miserable, and had need to do it. By a Newspaper on Tuesday I learned that she had got safe to Manchester (I suppose Hanning was waiting for her); by another Newspaper today I find her “just this moment got to Liverpool: sick yesterday”; and that she is to sail “on Thursday” (this day) tho' whether for Dumfries or Annan I cannot tell. You must see her, and be as good to her as you can; do not say Medicine can do nothing (tho' that I do believe is the truth); but question her, speculate with her, speak hope to her: she is very disheartened,—that is her grand ailment, with hot London; acting and reacting. I fancy that whenever she sees Templand she will b[egin to] recove[r]— And for you, come off hither with our Mother to Manchester at the set [time or] as near it as may be. I had never more wish for you, than now in my loneliness. I am driving the First Chapter2 like chaff with birch-besom [birch-broom] before me; hope to have it done by the time you appoint, and then! All is right enough, if the nervous-system would but stand out; but it is not willing to do that.— I did not go near this German, whose scrap is here; because I could not so much as read his name:3 most probably, none of us three have lost much by it.— Your news of all the Annandale people, all struggling along in their paths, without faltering without falling, were extremely comfortable to me. Give them love and affection of mine, one and all, without limit. Better days are coming! that is always my text. Meanwhile, Bear a hand tightly, and let no man slacken!—

Mill asks me to go with him, as far as Dorking in Surrey where they have a Country house, on Saturday till Monday morning. It is very uncertain whether I will go.4 It costs some shillings of money, it wastes some hours of time; and small enjoyment reaped by it. Mill, whom I went to see last week, is looking thin-brown, very old and worn: but complains not, calls himself better, and means to “travel for a month” soon. Of his Father we said little except in the way of reverent allusion. Sterling you will still see. He talks of sailing on the 29th of the month—from this place I mean; or going by land a day later towards Portsmouth, and then sailing.5 I see more of him than of others, but little of any one. Milnes6 asked me to dinner again: “sorry I could not.” Dinners do nothing for me except hurt; nor the commerce of men. Work, thou poor devil, I say to myself; there is good for thee nowhere in the universe but there.— Cavaignac's Mother & Sister7 are come; I had to see them last night, Cavaignac being of the Buller rout,8 and to be under my escort. They are good French people; ugly, but true in their fashion: the daughter, continually souffrante [ill], has a small unbeautiful face (the mouth full of temper), but beautiful with courage and intelligence: she plays on the piano jusqu'à l'impossible [to the verge of impossibility] (literally)—with small effect for me.— The Buller rout had Trelawney9 for lion a huge black-whiskered beetle-browed column of a man (carrying nothing that I valued) [;] Lytton Bulwer, whom I did not notice with the eye,—and seven “Persian Princes,”10 with scimitars, turbans and long greenish gowns, came in about 11 o'clock. Thereupon I withdrew. Ach Gott!— Tell my Mother that I will write to her in Manchester: O those canns!— Come directly specifying day and week, as you said.— Send up Jane's Letter, or take it up—with my Mother? Adieu dear Jack[.]

T. Carlyle