January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 4 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420404-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 116-118


Templand, Monday, 4 April, 1842

My dear Wife,—Your little Letters are a solace to me every morning, when I sit down to my hermit breakfast here: Soon after I have done, old Mary is likely to be nearly back, and the chance of something from you is always a possession. Tomorrow I need not hope; and I am regretting today again to think that you this day have been disappointed of me. Nay who knows but you may think I was worse in health than usual! I should have decidedly written you a word that night, and omitted rather any other.— For the rest, you need not trouble yourself about my health: it does improve on the whole; I feel now much quieter, in fact much liker a healthy man, than when I quitted Chelsea. I have brandy, I have all things,—silence and free air and thought, especially. Margaret makes me hen-soup from time to time; I begin to get sleep in greater quantity again: in fact I am doing very well; and hope to have this last week of composure here, and then at the end of next week to bid the place my composed and mournful farewell.

Today is still and bright; altogether one of the beautifullest of days: I hope Jeannie and you are getting your excursion; that it will be the beginning of better days for you. It was on the whole very well you did not come hither. All things would have fallen with such a deadly weight of grief on you;—vacant, vacant; the transitory still here; so much that was transitory found more lasting than what we wished to endure forever! The mark of her neat orderly hand, full of humble thrifty elegance very touching in itself anywhere and anywhen, is in all corners of this house; and she—has gone a long journey! Patience, my Darling; she has gone whither we are swiftly following her. Perhaps essentially she is still near us; near and far do not belong to that Eternal world, which is not of Space nor of Time. God rules that too: we do know nothing more.——— The sight of these poor flowers which I have gathered for you has led me into such thoughts, which perhaps I had better have spared. The poor little flowers have all ventured out this bright day; and there is nobody to bid them right welcome now.

I have been at the Russells' this morning; I went with a Letter for Dumfries,—old Mary at the moment had gone away on some other small errand. James Monteath came in while I was there: he had been negociating about getting Margaret for a servant; but she had altogether declined: “if she went anywhither it would be to Mrs Carlyle or to Mr Welsh.” She gives me very little trouble here; and tho' I have not investigated her with any strictness, and cannot yet be said to know her character, I esteem her a superior person, and feel that she was a great blessing here in a time of great need. Poor old Mary cannot think of quitting Templand, while there is any fire of ours burning in it. I keep out of the way of her speech; but the sight of her poor old face does me a kind of good.

Tomorrow Mrs Black comes here about the Cow: I will try if she can get it without hurting other interests. On Wednesday I had to promise a call to Monteath,—which he would fain have made a dinner of: a mild-natured, vivacious, very wearisome well-conditioned man; whom one decidedly rather likes. His Father, quite ruined, has gone to Edinburgh, and left him here at “the Hall” to manage and retrench.——— I suppose I ought to go and see the poor old Mundells; I will some day. Bennett called here a while ago; but his fat vivacity was little to my taste I had already called at his house with your Uncle.1 That will do, between us, I fancy.

By the bye I hope Jeannie keeps the Liverpool people instructed of our history here? To make assurance complete, I think of writing soon again myself. John, if I remember, sends me nothing since his Cigars; which message I surely answered? I have written to Chambers, in prompt cooperative disposition toward his poor Mrs Begg: did you ever hear of her at Tranent? I suggested Lockhart as a fitter committee-man; but C. has small attraction thitherward, I fancy.—— Tell me every thing, Dearest; all the outs and ins of thy little history. Love to Cousin Jeannie the good and quiet, and get fast well again. God bless thee.

T. C.