August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 3 August 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430803-TC-JWC-01; CL 17: 7-9


Liverpool, 3 Augt 1843—


I am in the agonies of packing and leave-taking today, with the prospect of a Macgregor dinner at night, and then a lodging in the mere chaotic belly of an Annan Steamer;—I am somewhat unwell to boot; and therefore in no condition to write beyond what is indispensable.

There came a Newspaper from you this morning; no Letter. Your next Letter must be directed Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan: I sail thither at 3 this morning. Innumerable cowardly desires and persuasives besiege me all morning not to go yet: but I see very well that they are at bottom only cowardly, fruits of mere dastard Indolence; and there in spite of “rain,” of “3 in the morning,” of &c &c, I persist in going; and write to Jamie for the Gig to that effect. Allons [forward], I ought to be thro' this; I ought to be into what lies beyond this!

Yesterday, in the interval of thunderplumps, we did accomplish Pauletdom; reached all three the sacred domain about 3 o'clock; sumptuous lunch, of which I ate some ten grapes, and enjoyed a smoke on the sunny lawn; then came a drive to Formby (nine miles off, instead of three), and the most entirely desolate savage-looking establishment of human habitations,—I cannot call it village, for the huts are sprinkled over a whole parish, bound together by deep-rutted narrow sand-lanes with green stagnant ditches and midden-holes;—about two miles from the Sea; and without “lodging” in it that we could notice for anything bulkier than a rabbit! That will never do; not that, clear enough! We returned home half an hour beyond dinner time,—along roads all paved, and so loud that not a word could be heard except it were spoken in a shout. Paulet and Geraldine were waiting patiently; Mrs Paulet was still far from any haste Our reception and welcome was of the most exquisite. Great disappointment because I could not stay all night. Geraldine was terribly busy about tobacco &c, but otherwise looking well and quieter than formerly. She bade me say that she would be at her post on Saturday to receive the Mudie1 at Manchester.— On the whole it is a curious establishment Pauletdom, which I am not sorry to have seen;—where some time or other I could spend a day or two with satisfaction. The Lady seems to me a singular mixture of haveril [silly person] and sultana; a thoroughly innocent-hearted person,—very “detached,” but handy enough to converse with. Paulet, I believe, to be a really good character too; but could almost guess, by the ways of him and by hints I got, that he must have spent his early life and fashioned his manner in the trade of Contrebandiste,—a fragment he of the Giant Smuggler too strong even for Napoleon!2 A Miss Newton3 the Catholic was there; somewhat troubled and troublesome with theology. A Tutor, “terribly aff for a langitch,”4 as indeed Paulet himself is; and a Governess—passing strange! On the whole I shall remember Pauletdom with pleasure. Intense curiosity to know whether you wd could might or should come there soon, was expressed; which I could not satisfy.

Enough of all that. I am off, and must pack first! Jack continues for another day or so with Chorley; whither next is uncertain. Adieu, Dearest, thou canst not help me or thou wouldst. Adieu!

T. C.

You will get no farther account of me till Monday; perhaps not till Tuesday! Mark that, Goodykin, and be “patient.”—