April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 12 September 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440912-TC-JWC-01; CL 18: 200-202


The Grange, Thursday 12 Septr, 1844—

Thanks, my own dear Goodykin; always a helpful little Goody thou! The Letter came this morning while I was shaving; a most welcome messenger in my solitude,—for I have not got into the way of sleeping here yet, and have a good deal of time in the mornings for solitary reflexion; which perhaps is not a bad thing for me either.— The two Pills (thanks too1 thee, dear little Doctor!) were in their curtailed Box, safe as possible; it was next in ingenuity to a quill. I shall not need any more ware of that kind for several days, if at all; so there is no hurry with more.

Tho' we have no work here at all; and our work, as it were, is to find ways of doing without work; yet at present I am in dreadful haste; bound within small length of time to “walk and smoke” with worthy old Ld Ashburton, the rest being all engaged shooting &c &c, each after his kind. All my available time has gone over the Proof this morning; another time we shall do better;2—besides as yet what is there to tell?

I dined very abstinently that first night; I never got rightly warm till once in my bed, between 12 and 1: no sleep for me,—but I lay in a kind of silence nearly without parallel (we are surrounded by three miles of mere Park, and are an aristocratic mansion), I also determined to keep myself content: some two hours of light sleep I think I did get; then awake at six,—to wait for breakfast till 10, no food but cigars and sunshine! Graunvoll war der Gedank ihm [Horrible was the thought to him].3 Well, but I got a brilliant ride yesterday, with Baring & Co; I was and mean still to be very abstinent, I slept a good deal better last night, and on the whole am well, all but “acid on the Stomach”: another ride or walk (which ever it may be, one or both) with due abstinence will probably set me up again to the old pitch or above it. The air is sunshine, purity and balm; the ground is undulating green with woods and water; the solitude the silence is divine!

We are a small party, no Stranger beyond Strachey4 and me yet: the Howicks5 have “taken cold,” or something of that sort; Buller continues silent, absent not known where. Did Jenkin's Hen6 say nothing of him?— Lady Ashburton is a surgeon Patient at present, a striping off of the skin of the shin upon a carriage step; ill dealt with for some days back; yes[ter]day7 was the day of a formal operation of which better hopes are entertained: she lies in a back drawing room, keeps all the women about her all day, and we never see her till she is wheeled in at night to Tea.8 She seems very fond of talking to me; a frank rattling woman,—some thing of the Mrs Jeffrey American,9 whom perhaps I shall grow to do very well. The two Miss Barings, are elderly, not beautiful or wise that I see yet, and shy as fawns.10 Were it not for the Lady Harriet, who is herself a host, we should be ill off for women! My chief resource at present is the old Lord; a really good old man, of most solid cheerful ways, fond of talking and of being talked to about any rational thing. Baring and I found yesterday a Church of his just getting built: the Architect and Manager, a fat massive Scotchman of the name of Guthrie “from Tranent,”11—very interesting to me, poor old fellow!—

Tomorrow I find there are two fresh arrivals expected, who we shall see in due time,—one of them is already known to be Poodle Byng: ach Gott!———

“Ld Ashburton waits Sir!” and there is the general cavalcade drawing upon the gravel! Adieu Dearest Mine! May the blessing of Heaven be with thee!

T. C.