January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 19 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420419-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 153-156


Scotsbrig, Tuesday, 19 April, 1842

My Dearest,—I have been mending (without tools!) the hinge of a door which awoke me by its creaking last night, and my hand is none of the steadiest at present. This is, on the whole, altogether a Troglodyte life that I lead here, and I shall wish soon I were back into some sort of civilization again. The women last night were superintending some cow in a peculiar situation; going out with their hay-tea, they awoke me by that hinge,—the more the pity, poor sluts! I had fallen into sleep, soft and deep and speedy, being thoroughly in want of sleep; and that creak set me up for two miserable hours, well that it did not for the whole night. I have still my leeway to make good in that matter; three nights minus, the wretchedest that I remember for a considerable time.

Last night a Boy sent over with the Letter for you, brought me your Chelsea one of friday, which had gone round by Thornhill; the Saturday one, which came hither, was already answered. We are now some 18 hours nearer one another: if you wrote to me on Monday, I shall get your letter this evening (22 hours after it leaves London, 26 after Chelsea), and there are 2 mails a-day. I must have my sleep again, however, before I can profit by anything.

The shower-bath with the other things was found standing here this morning at 6; Austin had travelled all night, and slunk into some kind of outhouse bed when he arrived. The sight of the poor Templand lumber again made me altogether sad; but it is the last sight of the kind now. The little black Desk, with many little traces of her still in it, and carefully preserved by me, is here safe, now serving me to write upon: the bottle of yellow drying-dust had unluckily been ill stopped, and had shaken out its contents; but by care, patience, and working with a pair of bellows I cleared all out again; and the poor little Desk is perfectly right now. One of “the blackguard's articles” turns out to have been the Table that stood by the wall in the dining-room; properly the middle part of a long table the two ends of which made the dining table there. I was rather glad he had left it. It is now my Mother's: the two ends had been purchased by Alick. I had brought the whisky-bottle away; I have given it to my Mother, the only person I was sure of not having it abused in the way of drinking! And now surely all these melancholy things are at length disposed of, and our heart will not be hurt with the sad shadow of them any more.

The Shower-bath stands erect in front of the house here; it will not enter either closet or room door, or even stand for height, if it had entered! A joiner is to come tomorrow, to take it in piecemeal, and rip up a bit of the garret-floor to give it space: I have agreed to spend two more shillings on it, and to leave it there,—as a fixture in Scotsbrig house, for the shell of it will never come out more, except piecemeal again.— By the bye, I have been thinking, since you have got that reasonable joiner, we will have a canvas shell made round that shower-bath of our own: the effect of the thing will be immensely improved by it, and it will not cost many shillings.

Cromwell sometimes rises upon me here; but as a thing lost in abysses; a thing sunk beyond the horizon, and only throwing up a sad twilight of remembrance! I sometimes think I will pack all Fuz's1 books together at my return, and send them away: I never yet was in the right track to do that Book. Yet Cromwell is with me the fit subject of a Book, could I only say of what Book! I must yet hang by him. But indeed, if I live, a new epoch will have to unfold itself with me; there are new things, and as yet no new dialect for them. The time of my youth is past; that of my age is not yet fully come. Patience! I am dreadfully lazy too.

No “Duke's answer” can arrive, I suppose, till the end of this week. It is a wonderful relief to me that I am here got fairly out of the choking sycophant Duke-element, which tempted me at every turn to exclaim, “May the Devil and his grandmother fly away with your shabble of a Duke! What, in God's name have I to do with him? All the Dukes in Creation melted into one Duke were not worth sixpence to me!”— I declare I could not live there at all in such an accursed soul-oppressing puddle of a Dukery.— It seems the man's tenants, before long, are likely to be most of them ready for bankruptcy, in this side of the world; and with his new Chamberlain “that has no power” he is like to make a precious kettle of fish, Grahame hears! I still, whether from bile or no, think it very possible he may refuse to let Jardine and me bargain in that way: we shall be ready for either event.

I think it will be better to stop here, and not seal till I see whether there come any letter from you.— I have copied out some melancholy inscriptions today: shall I send them? Yes; I have sent you all things: I find that the best plan. If you do not like to keep this give it to Jeannie to send to her Father. Adieu, my Dearest; I wish I saw thee again! God bless thee!—

8. O'clock p.m. They have sent no boy; sorrow on them! I must seal, and despatch one; I can still hope for a Letter, but will not be impatient. I am out for a walk in the gloaming over the moor. Best good night, my Dearest. Yours ever,

T. Carlyle

Jean Welsh youngest / Daughter of Walter Welsh died / on the Thirty first of March / Eighteen hundred and / twenty eight.2

To her is now united here / Her elder Sister, GRIZEL WELSH, / third child of the above Walter / Welsh Esqre, and of Jean Baillie / his Spouse. She was Wife and then / Widow of JOHN WELSH Esqre / of Craigenputtoch, Surgeon in / Haddington, where he, summoned / by Death on the 19th of September, / 1819, lies interred. She was born at Castlemains of Crawford, / on the 15th of December, 1782; she / died on the 25th of February, 1842, / at Templand, Closeburn, / where her Sister and then also her / Father, both tenderly watched / over by her, had died.3

Her only Daughter and Child, / Jean Baillie Welsh now Carlyle, / of Chelsea, London, far from the / graves of her loved ones, / has had this Memorial inscribed, / A.D. 1842.

Here are interred the / Remains of Jane Baillie / Wife of Walter Welsh in / Caplegill who died the 21st / of January 1790 in the 42nd year of / her age.4 Also / of the above named Walter / Welsh who died at Templand / in the Parish of Closeburn on / the 16th November 1832 in the / Eighty First year of his age. / A man who lived respected / And died regretted.


These two gravestones, which are of the kind called troughs lie contiguous, in the South-east corner of Crawford Churchyard; the second of them farthest to the North. Farther to the North still, and lower considerably in height, is a third flat stone, on which I noticed the names Welsh, Murray, and the date 1737, but the letters were too dim for copying today. / T.C. Crawford, 14 April, 1842.

(Copied at Scotsbrig, 19 April)