August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO LADY HARRIET BARING; 9 August 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460809-TC-LHB-01; CL 21:8-9.


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan N.B. 9 Augt 1846—

This is to salute you in Stanhope Street on Tuesday morning, or even on Monday Evg if you chance to come so soon. I am here since Friday, amid an inextricable coil of things, the highest all jumbled into union with the lowest; which gives me enough to feel, and think of, and but little to say, a friend of Silence as I am.— Ireland was omitted,—postponed. My poor Jane is fallen rather worse again; she is still at Seaforth; has an uncle and then “Zoe”1 to visit before leaving that region: she is, as you may fancy, the weightiest item of my cares at present.—

On Thursday first, if I do not hear from you again, still more if I do hear in confirmation, I mean to be in Carlisle waylaying you. Your Inn, I conclude, will be the “Bush Inn”: it is the largest, and by reputation and some slight experience, I understand it to be the best. The Glasgow mail lands me there about seven in the evening,—if there be any Lady Harriet arrived? Till Monday morning at Langholm I attend you;—wonder to find myself in such a presence in such scenes! Natural and Preternatural,—these two are strangely present everywhere in this Life of ours; these two are identical, I do believe, if it were not our stupidity that mostly saves us. A wholesome quality in some cases; and happily very plentiful.

To me in such circumstances all places and arrangements shall be good; and the queenship of our motions is naturally yours. At Carlisle there is nothing that I know of to be “seen,” nor at Langholm except green hills and quiet moorlands,—enough of these I can promise you. These hills are all unusually green; look moist and bright and melancholy to me, as if they had been lately weeping. For indeed there is nothing here but thunder and rain, with bursts of bright hot weather, these two weeks past: it is hoped, but with no sure ground that I can see, that the “weather will take up” in a day or two.

O my Friend, my Friend, how strange an element are you in these old Langholm moors to me! Adieu till Thursday, if the gods do will that we meet again that day.2 The gods are great; and so are the devils. I am not well today; I will not write another word.— Your little Note was beautiful, in its words and in its silences. You are all good and beautiful; and I am bound to be forever grateful to you. Bound; and do not need much binding.

Ever yours /

T. Carlyle

A Note by the morning post of Wednesday (before 8) will reach me here on Thursday morning. This is a constant address for me while in the North.