The Collected Letters, Volume 13


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 5 September 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410905-JWC-TC-01; CL 13: 243-245


Sunday [5 September 1841]

Dear— Your letter written on Thursday morning1 was read yesterday afternoon—from all parts of the kingdom letters take precisely the same time to arrive at Templand viz: two nights and two days! “After all, a postman for all the tatooing he makes is a comfortable phenomenon”! I aimed at writing yesterday morning; but just when I had got the pen in my hand, there walked in a little gentleman who expressed himself “delighted to see me,” followed by a larger gentleman whom he introduced as “his Brother”; and that again was followed by a gentleman still larger in white weepers a quarter of a yard deep, whom the first-comer, still enacting Master of the ceremonies, introduced as Mr Graham of Burnswark!!2 The face of Mr Graham “was quite familiar to me.” But the person who took upon him to be more intimate with me than Mr Graham I was obliged to confess I did not recollect “The least in the world”—and then there was nothing for it but that Mr Graham should introduce Mr Menzzies—and Mr something Menzzies3—and then I understood how it all was; except what had brought them here! that also became apparent in time— Poor Graham had “brought up his sister to Dalgarnoch churchyard the day before”4—was come over to give some directions about a tombstone, and the party were to wait at Templand till the workmen were summoned from Morton—three mortal hours!— Nothing could be more inopportune than such a visitation yesterday—for Mary5 was lying ill of a bilious headach in the kitchen my Mother lying ill of a bilious headach up stairs—no wine drawn—and neither Margaret6 nor I audacious enough to ask leave to draw any—while the sense of our apparent unhospitality, made us embarrassed “to a degree”— Mr Graham told me that Alick and Jemmie had “come all the way” the day before; a piece of attention with which he seemed greatly pleased— I wish I had known in time of their being so near—but “it was probably just as well” that I did not—under the existing circumstances! —I have a long epistle from Helen7 this morning written on glazed paper, and beating you all to nothing in profusion of capital letters! She says “it is a good Thing you Sent me Before you for the Little Time We have Ben gone the hous apears to me Like a Barren Wildernes Every thing had Such a Bad Smel for the Wether sems to have Ben much the Same very Wet”— It is all satisfactory enough except as to the manner of her conveyance from Liverpool to London; where she only arrived on the Saturday fore noon! after having passed a day and night on the top of some coach!! but she says she “had a nice view of the Country”! I have also had letters from Hariet and Darwin (at Tynemouth) or rather Darwins is a joint production of his and Mrs Wedgwood,8 also at Tynemouth— They were to leave on Monday (to-morrow) It is better my visit should come after theirs; altho they wished we could have been all reunited—it will be something for poor Harriet still to enjoy—and so many together might have been too much for her— Darwin found that she looked much worse than he was prepared for—“misled” he supposes “by what he had heard of her from T. C. without BELIEVING him”—for the rest, he appears most dreadfully exhausted “by the tremendous tour he has made” and hopes soon to have “the Happiness of seeing me in my proper suburban Sphere”9— I have also a little note from Cavaignac enclosed in a few lines from Elizabeth10—she had written to congratulate him on his Brother11 being made a Colonel—and the note for me came in his answer:— He does not make the slightest mention of having ever received either of our letters—on the contrary he “hopes soon to have a few lines of Carlyle”! Nevertheless he may have had the letters in due course; for that sort of oblivion is quite in his manner— At all events it is good to tell him of them which I will do today—if nothing [“]very particular occurs to prevent” me— And now I wonder when you are coming—not that I would have you come an hour sooner on my account, so long as you can do where you are—the elegancies and even a little of the gaities of life will do you good after Newby—and for me, I am doing pretty well now— I sleep better again—and am not so sick—only the cold pierces me to the heart for the last two days it has been winter here without the clothes! The youths are returned exulting in their Slaughter of fishes— Walter is preaching today at Penpont12 of course I would not go to hear him— My abstinence from public worship gives great scandal, but I would rather be scandalized than wearied to death— I am curious to know what scene you have had with the superfine Mrs James13—of course, you would not get off without one, more or less trying— Remember me to the Spedingii especially to the “unofficial Intellect”14—and to Mr Pollock with grateful sentiments!15 There have been no other news-papers— I send two letters— Sterling appears to be carrying on the glory as heretofore, DISCOVERING INTELLECTS official and unofficial by the dozen16— Poor Welshman17 you will surely visit him some time or other that so he may die in peace! And now what more have I to tell you except that the bread is slightly improved—and that I am “yours as you have known me—better perhaps—at least not worse”

Jane Carlyle