January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 12 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420412-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 144-145


Templand, 12 April, 1842 / (Tuesday Noon)—

My Dearest,—A few minutes before setting off for Dumfries I write you a line. The Carpets are all up, the chairs all piled; I have been over the whole House, assorting it as I could, and all is now flying with dust and uproar, except this little room whither I have retired,—which was once hers! There is a poor little miniature set of corner-shelves here, where phials &c stood, which is almost a portrait of her: the top shelf looks as if it were framed in with a fine bit of japanned metal: on lifting it up, you find it is the handle of some broken cann! In other hands it would have been rubbish; here it is a piece of beautiful human order, working on the poorest means; to me more beautiful than or-moulu were. Our poor good Mother!— I have taken all the phials &c, and wrapt them up for Dr Russell. The Russells sent here this morning a fine active lad, “Wull Fingland”1 whom she often liked to employ: he has been working all morning under my orders. Margaret, a most swift, cheery, affectionate, expert woman has him now in command, beating carpets &c. Poor old Mary sits alone in the kitchen watching a big roast, to serve on the day of Sale. I have picked out tin covers, teapots, all kinds of miscellanies I could discover that looked fit: the scuttle, kettle, two jellypans &c are laid out against tomorrow. No tea-urns are discoverable here; a big copper-kettle with basis and heater, and a smaller one (too small even for me alone) are what Margaret thinks you must mean.— The Drawing-room is set apart for collecting all the things not to be sold. On the day of Sale it will be locked. M'Caig and his man come tomorrow morning at 8: with Alick, perhaps Jamie, with Fingland, Margaret and myself we shall contrive to get thro' it. The chrystal is all set out; we will do what we can at getting it packed, effectually. The chairs and sofa remain in suspense till after Thursday; and are perhaps likeliest to be sold. Part of the computation will depend on what Walker of the Dumfries Steamer can say to me respecting freights and railway fares tonight; the rest must be a chance of sale:—value 10/ at Chelsea, I decide that they may be brought.

I wrote to John Mill last night, and an answer of a Note to John: I had gone roaming far and wide in the twilight after they all went away: up to near Dabton2 by Nithbank, then back into the country towards Merton Kirk, along by which I thought I knew a road that would take me home without passing thro' the Village: my path at last among the woods and ditches grew rather complex; I had two hours of it in all,—but the blessing of perfect solitude under the blessed silent stars: the clear sky, inextinguishably bright after all storms and defacements, puts always new life into me. It is impossible to believe that He who made that can mean unbountifully with us, can mean other than well with us, dark as His ways often are.

Adieu, my poor Wife: what more can I write at present? I have orders to write to M'Caig; I have to dress yet; and my minutes here are numbered. My love to the fair Cousin; whose popularity among your friends is very gratifying to me. My blessings on you both. Your affectionate

T. Carlyle