August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 12 August 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460812-TC-JWC-01; CL 21:9-11.


Scotsbrig, 12 Augt (Wednesday) 1846—

Dearest, I was much disappointed on finding no Letter from you at Middlebie1 this morning! Last night, in passing from Dumfries, we inquired at the Post-house; but there was nothing from you: this morning I walked down myself; but there was again nothing. A Nation newspaper with an address which I gladly believe to be in your hand; but no strokes, no nothing! You should have written some word or other; considering what a force of imagination one has.—— I could not find a moment's chance on Monday; we left this about 11 o'clock, and did not reach Dumfries (lumbering round by Gill, with manifold wearinesses, manifold chagrin's2 for a mind in the morbid state) till long past all hours of Post. Next day on attempting there, I found there was hardly resource to address you a Newspaper: the ink absolutely done; it is uncertain to me whether the Newspaper can ever have arrived. Jean's house, with noisy children and other confusions, is like a Bedlam. And now I do not even know with certainty what your address is. Surely, surely, you ought to write a word!—

My Dumfries expedition, restricted itself to the rigorously essential; I saw nobody but my two Sisters; bought myself an umbrella and some small necessaries; had the usual sleeplessness, returned hither, mostly in silence, with the usual depression of heart. It is very wrong, I say often to myself; very weak, and morbid and wrong. Depends mostly on the wretched body of me too. Philosophy, utmost “moral resolution” can do little except by taking the thing in flank,—if one were wise enough to know where and how!— Poor Jenny's little place in Maxwelltown (quiet close to the extremity of the Village where we used to enter it from Craigenputtoch) was quite a pathetic little pleasure to look upon. Neat as a new pin, she, her two little lassies, and it; a good back room well-carpeted (one of our old London carpets); and with 3 sovereigns I sent her she has got a quite neat four-posted bed &c, and has all in order there. Human intelligence in a state of worthy activity is beautiful to see. Plenty of work Jenny is getting: she comes here tomorrow; but here, I clearly enough discern, there will be no continuing for me. I rather wish I were well away again. More than once I have thought of that little backroom at Jenny's: absolutely I must contrive to get into some quiet place, and be allowed to sit there, amid fresh air, and delivered from this avalanche of confusions which hurts me much otherwise.— The Potatoes have wholly failed, this year: but there is plenty of labour and money; Dumfries too is to have its railway, and go to Heaven by Steam.3 Ach, gib mir einen grossen Gedanken, damit ich mich erquicke [Oh, give me a great thought, to refresh myself with]!— But on the whole I have got some cold in my bones today, am very full of cramps, aches, ailments; and may as well hold my peace, and go and fast and walk. The weather has grown cold and nearly dry.— My one glad piece of news this day is in the enclosed Note,4 which postpones my Carlisle expedition till Friday, and contracts the extent of it by one third. Read the Note; there is no high-treason in it, I think! O my Goody, my dear bewildered Goody,—God help thee to clearness, and me. Ever thy own.

T. C.

The Courier Newspaper, if it ever arrive, I want it directed to Alick: “Brantford, Hamilton, Upper Canada” with two strokes. If you know the fate of the Box, you may mention it. Adieu Dearest

How shall I direct this? Seaforth will be safest: the very change of address would have impelled you to write possible, which by the Nation I see writing is!—