January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 30 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420430-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 173-175


Scotsbrig, 30 April (Saturday Evg) 1842

My dear Wife,—I must write you a word again tonight, since yesterday was your blank day: a word will suffice, while there is nothing to be recorded, and as yet nothing to be predicted, not even the day of my arrival home.

I am heartily glad those packages have got under our roof, in whatever state: such dreary waiting, in such a mood, too natural in the case, must have driven you almost to despair. The Carriage dues, which include the freight to Liverpool also, and all but the cartage to Dumfries and the packing, are no doubt the just charges, and we will not quarrel with them in the least. Let us be thankful only that the sorrowful business taliter qualiter [one way or the other] is over, and no more agitations on that score are to be apprehended for you. As for the house at Chelsea, if you like it, do not regard much my dislike of it: I cannot be healthy anywhere under the sun; I am a perceptible degree unhealthier in London than elsewhere; but London I do feel withal is the only spot in the earth where I can enjoy something like the blessedness of freedom, and this I ought to be willing to purchase at the expense of dirty smoke, tumult and annoyance of various kinds. It strikes me that I must run into the country when the town gets insupportable to me; but I ought not to quit hold of Town. To live in “cloth-worship” of his Grace of Buccleuch, for example,—I confess I should hesitate between Monmouth Street1 and that! Not that, I should say; anything rather than that!—

Yesternight I wrote to Harriet about the Execution of Louis: I also excused you for not writing, and gave some composing account of your situation and my own. The inclosed foolish Autograph-petition I also answered, with inconceivable brevity.

Today I have had word from Annan about Steamers: the first is on Wednesday at six in the morning. The second is—not yet fixed! I shall have small satisfaction out of these Steamers, I think! I shall have to rally myself, however, and make my way homeward by some means or other. If you answer this Note, I shall still be here for it; but do not unless I request you write after Monday morning,—after Monday Evening, I mean.

Jeannie's Letter,—you must first thank her for writing at all, and then say that she was too late for the post; that consequently she reached Ecclefechan this morning, and me this evening along with your Letter of last night! The missing of posts appears to be a very frequent thing.

Today I have lain on a sofa, and read the whole “History of the Family of Carlyle.”2 Positively not so bad reading. I discover there what illustrious genealogies we have; a whole regiment of Thomas Carlyles: wide possessions all over Annandale, Cumberland, Durham; gone all now into the utterest wreck; absorbed into Douglasdoms, Drumlanrigdoms, and the Devil knows what! Two of us have written plays; one could carve organs, sculpture horses. Mrs Jameson's old Carlyle was cousin of Bridekirk:3—I suppose I too must have been meant for a Duke, but the means were dropt in the passage. Heigho!——— What a hideous affair is that of poor Macgregor.4 Folly's steps lead not to blessedness, lead down to Bedlam and Death. Poor fellow!— Adieu, Dearest; not a word more

Your affectionate /