The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 20 April 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410420-TC-JWC-01; CL 13: 106-107


Ecclefechan, 20 April (Tuesday) 1841—

Dear good Wife,

You are much suprised to find me dating out of Annandale; nor have I time to explain what incident and chain of incidents it was that bowled me hitherward yesterday forenoon out of Leeds, rather than Londonward, or some other ward: suffice it to say the Marshalls could not be made to conceive that my original proposal to stay “till Monday” was other than irrevocable; nor would they give the slightest hint of invitation to continue longer,—otherwise I should have accepted! As it was, I had to get in motion; not towards Nottinghamshire,1 where I was not expected till Wednesday; therefore, either towards London or hitherward;—and you see how it has gone. Hardly in my Life have I had a more dispirited entirely miserable day (so far as nerves and atrabiliar humour went) than yesterday was with me. I thought of stopping in Manchester; where it was five o'clock, and I still dinnerless: but the railway Inn looked squalid, dingy; the Liverpool train was about starting: I rumbled along again. At Liverpool I asked for Chorley;2 he was gone home: an omnibus was starting for the steamers; I mounted, partly that I might have privilege to smoke a cigar,—the first since morning. The omnibus left me short of the Steamers, at an Inn where I demanded beefsteak: the beefsteak proved tough, cold, price 2 shill and 11 pence, and every way horrible,—the room all full of scandalous curly-headed Bagmen: I could not think of fronting strangers that night, of passing the hours in such an alien tumult: I called “a car,” and was in the Ox-belly of the Annan Steamer, amid platitude, grease, sea-sickness and the plagues of Egypt! It was a windy night and my mood, such as you know—such as the poor Goody knows too well: ah me! Nevertheless I had the privilege of being totally let alone; I passed the day in absolute silence, consuming my own smoke; except that imperfect beef-steak and a little vapid water pretending to be of the fountain, I tasted no living. Strange to say, my sleep was better last night than any night since I left you; I woke (for the second time) about 8 o'clock decidedly a little better. Ben Nelson3 got me tea at Annan; and I walked hitherward in the afternoon three hours ago, not at all such a miserable man. Poor Alick provided me with a bacon dinner, which has done well enough; infinitely better than the champagne ones. From Annan I w[rote] to Lady Galway, How I had not come. What amazing [ex]tremes is a man used to in this shuttlecock wor[l]d,4 racketing one from extreme to extreme!

The sad news is that my Mother seems to be very much out of order in health, and to have lain so these two weeks at Dumfries. I can get no right account of it; but must get off, myself, tomorrow and see. I have written to John about it, whom in the course of the day you will probably see.— I took order with Mrs Marshall to have your Letter forwarded. Shall I get one tomorrow morning? my wife, my ever dear Good Jeannie! Pity me, do not cease to love me! Yours evermore

T. Carlyle

I will of course see your mother before leaving this region Write, write.—