August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 14 August 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460814-TC-JWC-01; CL 21:14-15.


Scotsbrig, Friday [14 August 1846]

No word from you yet; not the scrape of a pen1 this morning either! It is not right, my poor dear Jeannie, it is not just, nor according to the fact; and it deeply distresses and disturbs me, who had no need of disturbance or distress otherwise if all were well known to thee;—but it is best that I suffer it with little commentary. To thee also I will believe it is no luxury.— I said to myself, last night, while tossing and tumbling amid thousandfold annoyances outward and inward, “It is not fair all this; really it is not fair! I wanted to do none any injury; my one wish and aim was to pass among them without hurting any, doing good to some if I could. My own lot has been but emptiness; and they all cry, See thou has taken something of mine!”— The Jackass brayed, or the Horse neighed, or some of the children coughed; and roused me from these unprofitable reflexions again.

Silence is better than most speech in the case: this however I will say and repeat: The annals of insanity contain nothing madder than “jealousy” directed against such a journey as I have before me today.2 Believed or not, what is verily a fact. To the deepest bottom of my heart that I can sound, I find far other feelings, far other humours and thoughts at present than belong to “jealousy” on your part! Alas, alas!— But I will say no more today: if before Monday when I return there be not some word from you, I must write to Mrs Paulet;—I must on the whole allow the informal deities to go their full swing; but Madness shall not conquer if all my sanity can hinder it. O my Jeannie, my own true Jeannie, bravest little Life-companion hitherto, into what courses are we tending! God assist us both,—and keep us free of frightful Niagaras, and Temptations of Satan!—— I am indeed very miserable. My Mother asks, “No word from Jane yet?” And in spite of her astonishment, I am obliged to answer None.—

The poor Schoolmaster's Wife3 is this day dying, from childbirth. We pass her door; she lies within, sinking to the dark realms. I remember her Brothers, her Father and Mother. “An unco [very] neat body; had her kitchen papered, and a carpet on't.” And this day she is dying. Ay de mi!——

God forever bless thee my Dearest, and guide thee aright,—and me.

Thy own /

T. Carlyle

Send Duffy's Letter back, for I cannot yet read his Address: Can you? If so, do.