January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


TC TO JOHN FERGUS ; 17 July 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450717-TC-JFE-01; CL 19: 100-101


Chelsea, 17 july, 1845—

Alas, my dear Sir, I am still here in the depths of Old-English Stupor, and the guano-dust of Past Blockheads; deep still in Oliver's Correspondence, namely; and cannot taste the Highland breezes on the hillsides, or the Hospitalities of kind friends! There is still a month of rough ugly labour before me; not till this day month, if then, shall I by any means get out of this affair;—out of this place, shall be on the morrow morning after. I am still clear for Scotland; but doubt, in these circumstances, if I shall get farther North than my good old Mother's house in Annandale: there I must be at any rate; my first step after this ugly job is done. If I do go farther, if I ever come within wind of Shehallion,1 you of course shall hear of me. But the chances at present seem small. Patience is a virtue that beseems all men.

I have got a horse, very wild, very swift; dash out daily for a glimpse of the green world. Helps and I sometimes ride together: I will give him your message; would willingly grant you him; but cannot bring him, as you see. He is waiting here for a new Helpkin, I think; one of the smallest prettiest Irish wives is about bringing him somewhat; and he has to wait for it.2

My Wife goes to Lancashire on tuesday; for some visits there and in Wales. This Town is emptying fast, thank God;—Peel rapidly flinging his Bills overboard.3 In solitude, if it be duller, I shall get the faster thro' my work.

All your Sisters,4 I think, except Miss Fergus, have been here within the week; all well, except Mrs Royd whose eyes are still in a questionable way. Let us hope her resolute attack of the malady may subdue it soon.

Scotch Pauperism generally, and Highland in particular, does already attract disgrace to the country; and will attract still worse things by and by, if not looked to; which there is little chance of its being.5 My heart is sick to think of these things. As Dr Arnold once told me,6 “One has no resource but to put the thought of them away.”

You meanwhile, do you enjoy the Summer skies, the Highland Hills and swift-rushing streams;—and think with pity of the element of noisy Dust and those that live there. Commend me also with all manner of kind regards to Miss Fergus. And so Leben Sie recht wohl [Live right well].

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle