January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 26 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420426-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 168-169


Thornhill, 25 [26] April, 1842—

My dear Wife,—We have just got up hither, Jamie and I, in the old Gig, and established ourselves in Glendinning's Inn. I was astir this morning at five o'clock, and struggled to expedite everything; nevertheless it was towards nine before we got off; near three before we arrived here, over by Loch Etterick and Lockerbie: too late for calling on the Factor who has no power; wherefore I determined that we should wash our faces and have dinner first. Both those operations are done, and I have still half an hour before it seem time to make an evening call on Maxwell; in this interval I set forward my epistle to you: if you hear nothing more it will at least apprise you that I am safe here, and bent upon finishing this very sorrowful business straight-way. It appears to me, if I now saw Maxwell the affair would not last long between us. We shall ascertain soon.

Poor Templand, solitary in the still sunshine! The look of it from the hilltops was one of the saddest I ever had. It is now I think some two-and-twenty years, since on a day of April not unlike this I first passed thro' this village: I sat probably in this very room, then a dirty sanded country drinking-room, and rested myself over wretched coffee (I had walked from Muirkirk, and was bent for Dumfries); Edward Irving had parted from me the night before; of your name I had heard, but knew none of you:—ah me, what things have come and have gone! It is all like a drama, and one scene of it has ended! Good Heavens— But why do I dwell on such faces of the matter? I am not here to meditate or suffer, but to go and try to work a little.

Your face of Daniel Good1 (it was yours doubtless?) lay waiting at Ecclefechan as we passed this morning. An absurd stupid-looking blockhead of a figure; full of cunning, full of stolidity; the mouth puckered in intense yet foolish anxiety, the eyes watching askance what they will get nothing by watching: a thing ludicro-horrible. They will certainly hang him. As yet for a creature who could take the bowels of his wife and stuff them into a chaise-box, and act in all ways so like a hyena, I can conceive next to no pity. To be put out of the world seems clearly what he demands of all people that would stay reasonably in it.

The Glendinnings on our arrival, put us into the common room of Gigmen and Bagmen; but learning from the Hostler who we were, they swiftly ushered us into this private apartment, up stairs, which looks out upon the cross street, with a capital bedroom behind it. I will not go to the Russels' till at least tea-time: we shall clearly do very well here.

If I see the Factor, it is possible I may stay till after eight: in that case, Jamie will be trusted to put this Letter under way in due time; otherwise I will try to add a word after my return. Adieu for the present, dear Wife. Perhaps the Railway things have already arrived? I confidently expect news at Ecclefechan. Good be with you, my two Jeannies.

T.C. (5 p.m.)

half-past 7.—I believe the thing is in the fair way of being what is to be accounted here as “finished,” and that I shall get away tomorrow. I have seen the Factor, and as it were come in “the Lord their God his Grace's will.” Hunter I do not design to employ much farther.—Good night, dearest: I [have] many things yet to do