The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 19 July 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410719-TC-JWC-01; CL 13: 188-191


Scotsbrig, Monday [19 July 1841] (11 o'clock a.m.)—

Thanks, Bonny Bairn, thousand thanks for the Letter. I was threatening to get seriously uneasy. “Never in my life did I know Jane behave so unpunctually: not one word, tho' words now go for a penny!”1 I was about to write myself this day, had there no Letter come, at latest in the evening: but Alick and I settled yesterday that he was to have a messenger in readiness at each post; and so here is your Name-sake Jane, a most wise little Lassie,—and all is right. Be a better Bairn for the time to come, or———!—

I am by no means sure that you have done wisely in undertaking to come by the Steamboat. The temptation was indeed considerable; and the last agony is two years old now. You have good weather, the best of the year as I will hope; and with the bed on deck, and Helen to watch you, it must be risked now. Cannot you take a thimbleful of brandy? It is a great resource for some. Take care also what dinner you eat; no sloppy article. Heaven guide you! I will be on the pier at the hour (so soon as I have learnt it); I will have the Gig, and whisk you up to Templand that day. We will find some resting-place at Annan, or go on to Mary's,2—kind always, tho' at present the houses being a-rebuilding she lives in a barn, I believe! As for Hellen, it has struck me might it not be as well to leave her at the Cottage, with some work that would serve her till Monday next? The likelihood is that there will be some kind of vacant bed-closet procurable for her there, and she would have the ground investigated, the house all clean &c for our arrival. I think I will go and look after that tomorrow: we can do as we like when we meet. An omnibus goes to Dumfries; the Victoria I now find is fully as convenient even for Dumfries as the Nithsdale is. If we had Ellen (that is the way to spell her, is it not?)3—if we had Ellen put up, we can travel ourselves at our own rate. It is but for four days; I rather think the Cottage, if there be room, will be the place.— Have you some small thing (bag, or my little portmanteau, or even both then, but no more) for going into the Gig: it holds very little. And this is all I can recollect to counsel you about.

Much good may Liverpool do you, or rather have done you, for it will be the last day when you get this. Had I known the Paulet was so superior a character I ought certainly to have gone and looked at her!4 But I do not believe she is equal to the Sun-faced,5—not Moon-faced, as only the profane Darwin calls her; not she. By the bye, here is a Letter from her this morning; I wrote to ask about their election; then saw in the Newspaper that they had lost it, whereupon I wrote again to say she need not write:—this is the upshot. Burn it, and speak nothing of it in that Cheshire neighbourhood.— —I should on the whole like best of all to see poor Geraldine: an ardent spark of Life, struggling and striving, one knows not whitherward too well! May the bounteous Heavens be good to her, poor Geraldine. I wish she could once get it fairly into her head and heart that neither “woman” nor man nor any kind of creature in this universe was born for the exclusion or even for the chief purpose of falling in love, or being fallen in love with! Good Heavens, it is one of the purposes most living creatures are produced for; but except the zoophytes and coral insects of the Pacific ocean, I am acquainted with no creature (except George Sand too, and the Literature of Desperation) with whom it is the one or grand object! That object altogether missed, thwarted, and seized by the Devil, there remain for man, for woman and all creatures (except the zoophyte), a very great number of other objects, over which we will still shew fight against the Devil! Ah me, these are sorry times, these of ours, for a young woman of genius. My friend Herr Mone (whom I am reading here) greatly prefers the old deep Norse Paganism, with its stalwart energy and self-help, with its stoicism, rugged nobleness, and depth as of very death, to any Christianism now going!— Recommend me to Geraldine at any rate, as one who love her, and will lament sore if she gain not victory, if she find not by and by some doctrine better than George-Sandism,—inclusive of G-Sandism and suppressive of that.6 Enough now.

Not a word in the shape of news can stand here. Je fais le mort [I sham death]; I live in a silence unequalled for many years; I grow daily better, am really very considerably recovered now. My popularity is suffering somewhat by the absolute refusal to see any body whatever. I let it suffer.

Harriet Martineau answered me; upon the whole I had better send her Letter than the Stanley's, which contains nothing except “kindest remembrances to Mrs Carlyle.”

Would it not be a precious thing now if I detained little Jane till the Post-hour were past!— Thanks to railways that they do carry Letters with such speed.

Go and see the Chorleys!7 Have you forgotten them altogether, poor little bodies? Remember me with affection to your fair Cousins.——— Could you buy me (with perfect convenience) another piece of cloth to make a winter waistcoat of,—black or very nearly so; perhaps altogether so? I would give it to Shankland,8 with certain plaid trowsers. Never mind it, if it lead you half a mile out of your road.

Adieu, then, dear little Creature Jeannie. Sail prosperously; be not too sick; come jumping up when I step upon the deck at Annan foot. Kiss Geraldine, I command no more.

Yours ever and ay /

T. Carlyle—

Your Letter bears no date;—but I infer that it is either oxygen Street9 or Liverpool!—