October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 14 July 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460714-TC-JWC-01; CL 20: 232-234


Chelsea, 14 july, 1846—

O my poor bewildered Goody, what misery is that, all for the want of a penny-stamp judiciously put upon a cover! I did think to write on Saturday;1 but I had spent such a time on Thomas Erskine and other trifles, and my plans for the walk were still so vague, I found there was no time left. Little time;—and not the smallest word that was important to be said! I missed properly only two days; the third possible day I wrote. Do not, O do not fret thyself in that way about nothing at all.— I will not “burn” this Letter either; I will keep it, and take good care of it, till better days come. In thy tragic sorrows and black confusions there is a noble element peering thro'; a gleam of something divine and true, which is worth following. By God's blessing we shall yet look back on all those miserable things, and find that a blessing beyond price did lie in them. As for the Redeemer,—yes “the Redeemer liveth”:2 he is no Jew, or man, or image of a man or Jew or Surplice or old Creed: but the Unnameable Maker of us, voiceless, formless within our own soul,—whose voice is every noble and genuine impulse of our souls: he is yet there in us and around us, and we are there: no abbess, eremite, or fanatic whatever, had more than we have; how much less had most of them! That is a fact. And the use of these, the divine worth that lies in them as in all miseries, is that we should recognise that: think if it be not even so.— But preaching is very bad. “Physician, heal thyself”:3 you may say so to me also; and I can only answer, God assist me to try it honestly! There cannot any other do it, or much help in doing it.— Come out, my Dearest, O come out into the light of day; and leave these brainwebs lying!—

My “rubbish” yesterday consisted of Manchester Newspapers (insignificant paragraphs there) which I sent off to Dumfries: insignificant Chorley Letter about the Miscellanies, which was thrown into the Basket; and confused burble of Free Kirk matters, pamphlets and Letters and Extracts, sent me by a certain Minister “Jas Macaulay,”4 whom I could hardly fish out of my memory at all, but recollected at last to be an insignificant Scotch Parson introduced not long since by Wm Hamilton one morning. Him and his litter I, on examination, hurled down stairs to light fires, without answer. And so, a little after nine, got out into the tepid moonshine; and walked about; called on poor Chorley, according to promise, who loyally joined me in my walk, and even furnished an indifferent cigar. That was my history last night: the best fruit of which was a moderately good sleep, worth really something to me; the best I have had for a good while. I took coffee about nine; have written a long Letter to my Mother since; and am not quite so depressed as usual by the Prince of the Power of the Air.5 The weather is again very hot; but there is a bea[u]tiful6 brisk west-wind, nay occasionally a welcome veiling of clouds; and I have on my janes and cobwebs.7— I am very lonely; I find it not worst to be so. Innumerable sad but profitable thoughts take possession of me, which would not so easily get access otherwise. One night Helps called; sat a long time; made Helen get him chocolate, tried smoking, poor Helps; and was dreadfully cold, so that I had to fit him out with my old grey Tweed at his departure. He had come up for one day,—a tremendous secret this,—to refuse Lord Morpeth's proffer of a secretaryship; magnanimously he had just refused it, and was returning to Hampshire again to labour at his true vocation, that of improving society by Books.8 Do not whisper a word of this. Really there is something good and just in poor Helps; the sound of him, that night was more like that of a rational soul than any I had heard for some considerable time here.

My Horse is giving me some degree of trouble still! They have blistered his throat, and the Leech says with me, Grass will be the cure for him; but he will not be fit to take the Railway till about Friday or Saturday! I really often wish to Heaven I had no Horse;—and do mean soon to attain that blessing. I have written today to inquire into Jamie's capabilities at Scotsbrig: I can leave the Horse here, and order them to shoot him, or to have him sold at Tattershall's by auction for £20:9 really I am not in the least skilful to know what is wise in the matter; and very desirous to be delivered into a better field for the deploying of my intellectual faculty! The comfort is, one cannot be entirely destroyed, decide it how one will; and the memory of all this will dwell with me in future years when I take to longing for a horse again! Of course you can throw no light on the business for me: but I suppose you can ascertain or have already ascertained that when I leave Town or sooner I may without impropriety send Bobus on to the care of Robert10 and the Grassfield of Seaforth; —or had I better not do that? Say plainly. You can also ask Paulet whether there is not somewhere a weekly auction of horses in Liverpool? At which, I shd think, as readily as anywhere in London, one could wash one's hands of Bobus if that seemed the fittest. Pray write of that.— And for the present—see there is the end of the paper! God bless thee Dearest; be good, be good. I have a serious speculation to be out of this place in the course of a week,—, but how? For a pedestrian tour? By rail to Seaforth?—or how, how?— Would to Heaven I had no more of these beggarly arrangements to make; but had a place where I could stay in! I really am not well at this work I!