January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 31 March 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420331-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 106-108


Templand, Thursday 31 March 1842—

My dear Wife,—Last night your Letter lay for me, as a little solace when I returned weary; this morning Mary finds nothing. I bethink me that I must send you a line tonight or else there will be a a1 vacancy till Monday with you. Mill's visit seems to have done you really some good: I am much obliged to him for calling.2 If you had once sunshine for getting out, I should begin to think more favourably of Jeannie and you.

Menteith staid on Tuesday till the time for the two-o'clock conveyance was unattainable. I carried out my Bag to the road (old Mary having gone to seek some sawyer of old sticks or the like), and there after long weary waiting, the last Coach took me up. The afternoon was dry but windy and cold; I felt in such a state of melancholy, and spirits altogether depressed, as I had hardly experienced even here before. At Dumfries I could find nobody I had business with at home: about nine o'clock Aird3 came over to Jean's, and set me talking;—this was but a small benefit either, with the prospect of a night at the Commercial Inn. The truth is I am still in a very infirm state of liver; continually on the borders of my old complaint, which is ever ready to return on me, which acts greatly on the spirits too. Between 3 and 4 in the morning, Boots roused me, knocking loud and for long periods to rouse three bagmen: one of my first reflexions was that I must perforce get thro' all my affairs early in the afternoon, and walk back to Templand (since there was no other conveyance), not risking another night in that establishment. Almost beyond expectation I accordingly did get everything pretty well managed, sent my Bag by the Carrier, and took the road again a little before five. It was and had been showery, not like to be wet; the good Aird insisted on going almost the first six miles with me. At Cluden Tollbar I saw the Mrs Black, an honest respectable-looking woman, full of kind sorrowful remembrances: she is to come up herself on Tuesday next, and bargain about the cow. About nine o'clock I arrived here, and got coffee: I seemed no worse for my walk, which was hardly more unpleasant than a stagecoach would have been, in the mood I was in. Today however I am obliged to be very quiet,—especially as the weather again is rough. Tomorrow I fancy I shall have to go and speak to “the Factor”;4 I bethink me that I shall have to go some time or other. An elderly kind of Lady has been here today, a Mrs Steel from the Cross-Roads, who wants the house; a very talkative, seemingly poor and forlorn widow, whom if I can do anything to help, it will seem to me a charity. I consigned her to Margaret and Mary to shew her the Garden &c, and got her away,—poor woman. She is very like George Irving's Agnes;5 yet with a kind of lady air. Her husband was suddenly lost in the W. Indies.

The Auctioneer's Advertisement, in a very imperfect state, is here; I must get on with that, straightway on pain of losing another week,—“the Duke” may answer as he will. I find there are 12 drawing-room chairs, not of great value as chairs; I have studied occasionally all morning whether we ought in real wisdom to bring them,—or to give up the attempt as a natural, pious, but not a reasonable purpose? I incline still to decide for the affirmative, your affection for them I suppose being great. The Dumfries Packer (Js. Aitken tells me) can still be had. I am beginning to be very impatient to have done here. By rapid pushing on my part, we may perhaps have finished on this day fortnight.

My Dearest, it is a poor wersh [feeble] story I send you, out of my solitude today. I send many a thought too, which is not written; which I should find difficulty in writing or in uttering. Ah me, the wild spring winds piping all round seem to sing a great deep Dirge. “Silent rest over us the stars, and under us the Graves!”— God's blessing with thee!

T. C.

There is a Bonnet here in the upper shelf of the wardrobe, a Dunstable6 in black trimming and without lining: shall I give that to my sister Mary, for her memorial? I am at a loss what things to get for the three women. This bonnet will be difficult to carry; and the sight of it, I think, will only bring tears into your eyes. I have opened the Letter to ask you; pray say.— Adieu again.