October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 12 October 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18451012-TC-JWC-01; CL 20: 24-25


Scotsbrig, 12 Octr, 1845—

My Dear, I arrived last night from the Dumfries Expedition; a weary and a sad one, consisting mostly of Farewells. My Sisters both wept when I came away; there sit they, fighting along in their obscure department, amid clouds of children and confused elements of destiny; I have to go else-whither and fight otherwise. I did not weep; but there is a stony sadness which I think is much sadder than tears. Thou hast to be here, I have to be there; seest thou not, it is appointed us to part! My Mother and I got home after nightfall, safe and without rain. Country balls were at Dumfries; an immense cattle-shew just concluding itself, horse-races concluding: I had gone to nobody, except two minutes to Adamson's Bank; spoken to nobody except for half an hour, not very profitably, to poor lazy Aird. Our diamond weather is broken here into mud showers again; today windless, rainless, but very damp, all hands gone to Church,—we wait tomorrow for our fate as to rain. Jamie is well on with his crop, and has seven ricks built.

I have settled to depart by Wednesday's Steamer; I hoped never to have gone into that thing again; but find it now the bad best for me. Carlisle and its Waiters with their mountains of hat-cases; and the tumbling over Shap in the dark cold,1 and out of one unhappy vehicle into another: it is better to go to the Whale again, and say “Swallow me at once, thou dost it at once!”— We sail about Noon on Wednesday next; 11 o'clock is the advertised hour: likely to arrive in Liverpool about nine or ten that night. I have written to Mrs Paulet not to send a vehicle for me, the hour being very uncertain;—yet I do not know but she will do it; in fact, I shall be ready either way. I mean to see the Lady next day at any rate. Heartiness like that of Pauletdom is worth something in this world; and “Betsy” herself must be admitted to be a luminous object,—luminous, harmonious, like a bit of rainbow in such skies as ours.— What becomes of me after Thursday I will in due course predict, if needful.

No Letter today or yesterday from thee. One cannot expect a Letter every day; I hardly hoped today, and sent a messenger only, who came with “nothink.” Tomorrow there will be one? Tomorrow and next day I must be busy packing, adjusting: “tremendous energy” as Fuz would call it, will be needed! Courage!

Today if I mean to catch Monday Night and Goody at tea, the Post hour is as good as here. Wherefore, my blessing dear Jeannie, and not a word more. Last night as we passed “the Hill,” my Mother said, “There, it was coming up by that hedge that I first saw thy Jane, that morning long since!”2—a fact which brought whole Histories into my head again. Adieu dear little Bairn; I will never forget thee, I think; I for one!

T. C.