August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 17 August 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430817-TC-JWC-01; CL 17: 56-58


Scotsbrig 17 Augt, 1843— (Thursday)

Dear little “soldier from the Thirty Years War,” 1— You see I do write again today; I spoke of being silent, but promised nothing! It occurs to me that tomorrow night will correspond to your Sunday;2 that there will be too long an interval if I omit tonight.

The only practical business is that you, as soon as convenient, make up the Book called Rahel (three volumes, I think)3 into a Parcel, address it to Lockhart, pay it and despatch it: “J. G. Lockhart Esq, 24. Sussex Place, Regent's Park.” I write half a word to him to say that you will send it.

Last night there was a Letter; there had been the night before, and of course the morning before, but the snaffle [rascal] of a Boy had denied it! A crime, which ought to be punished. But at no time could the Letter have come more pleasantly to hand: in the glorious twilight, all heat now grown tepid, and the Sun gone to other countries that needed him more, I had wandered out in hope of meeting the messenger; and meet him I did on the Potter Knowe beyond Middlebie, and saw by the look of him that he had a Letter from Goody; and there under the last light of blessed day nothing but soft vapours and silence round me everywhere it was read. With thanks to Goody! May no solider return from the thirty-years war under worse auspices. The plague of it all was well worth enduring to teach one what blessings pass unregarded “over our head.”4 There is no place like home!5— Poor old Stimabile, I really am sorry for him. His avarice will not lessen but increase; it is the last passion in such men, which absorbs all the residues of the others as into the lowest cess-pool of all. The old man fallen away from all else, bleibt ihm doch Beutel und Geld [yet for him purse and money remain].

Young Sterling has been ill-advised to publish that simulacrum of a Strafford, good for little that I see, except to shew that a man wanted to write a Tragedy. Fuz's critical doctrines, so far as he has any, are rather weak; but his feeling of the total hollowness of the Article and his desire to express that by some doctrinal proposition or other are good. When will that mania of the legitimate drammars end? How glad am I he has given you this Copy; it will be you my dame and not I that have to answer! After all some of those Extracts are decidedly better than anything I can recollect of the Ms. Strafford: probably the print introduces them more handsomely; the ugly illegibility of the handwriting has no doubt hut it somewhat with me.

Jack, as was to be anticipated, decides on getting hither tomorrow. Not without a considerable explosion of cross-purposes and other misarrangements already! Peace of course will depart when he arrives; and our stay here must not be long.

Do you really wish me to go to Thornhill and that sad scene again?6 I said silently on parting from it last, “Adieu, probably forever !” The other day, in looking up the gap at Quarrelwood,7 it came solemn and sad upon my heart, “I have no business more there.” My poor Jeannie, if it will give thee any solacement, surely I will go; but liking is a thing that can in no wise enter into it.— Aird was about taking Gilfillan up while I was leaving Dumfries: I sent regards &c to all the Russells; A. also seemed to understand that I had nothing more to do there. I had much rather go to Crawford8 if I could, and sit there silent for a while. My Dearest, we will go, together yet, some day. There, and in Eternity which is Everywhere: we have no other vestige of her which is altogether holy! Weep my poor little Bairn; weep but not like the foolish and weak,—be it like the brave and wise I can write no more about any other matter at present

Adieu my Dearest with blessings, / T. Carlyle