The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO GRACE WELSH ; 24 April 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410424-TC-GW-01; CL 13: 113-114


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan / Saturday, 27 [24] April, 1841

Dear Mrs Welsh,

The morning before yesterday I had very nearly surprised you; more than I believe this Note will now, for Jeannie has most probably apprised you that I am here.

On Tuesday morning, very suddenly, almost contrary to expectation, I found myself flung out at Annan-foot once more on my native soil. I had come from Leeds, thro' Manchester and Liverpool, literally as driven by the Devil,—the Steam-Devil, at least; or, as Jane expresses it, “like one shot out of a cannon.”1 At Scotsbrig I found alarming news that my Mother had been seriously unwell at Dumfries for ten days. On the morrow morning, with such inadequate conveyance as could be had here, I was off to Dumfries; found my Mother considerably recovered, and very anxious to be home at her own hearth. Part of my plan was to drive up to Templand, next morning, pass the day there, and return with her to Scotsbrig, in some chaise or close vehicle, on the day following. It turned on small chances that I did not come,—that I was not off with the early sun, and there perhaps before the coffee was boiled! But they persuaded me to wait breakfast at Dumfries; and the day, after that, broke out so beautiful and mild, that my Mother, greatly averse to chaises, declared herself eager to venture in such weather if I would take her in the old slow-going gig. You see the result!

We are terribly off for cavalry here at this season; all horses at work,—worn out, even when they can be spared. Nevertheless I do not yet give you up. I am still to be here for a day or two; and if “Austin's nag” (almost our sole resource) prove attainable, and this dull headache which is daily departing go its ways,—who knows?— I have written to the Newcastle steam people; partly meaning to return that way: if so, I must depend on their day, which is not yet known to me. On the whole, it is uncertain;—on the whole you must not look for me till you see me! I will do what I can. Nobody will look the blither on me (not even I myself) if I return without seeing you again!

Jeannie's Letters of which I had two yesterday (one that had gone round by Leeds) are brisk and of cheery temper; I hope all is going tolerably right, poor little thing. She has been far better this winter than in any other for several years back.

Accept these hasty salutations, my dear Mrs Welsh, from

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle

I send you the Dame's Leeds Letter, which will amuse you.— If I cannot come I will write again. About Tuesday or Wednesday Evg is the likeliest.2

But ah! here is rain again: I fear, I fear—