July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 3 September 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470903-TC-AC-01; CL 22: 50-52


Rawdon, near Leeds (Yorkshire) 3 Septr 1847—

My dear Brother,—As I am in extreme hurry I must content myself with a very few words today; but I send even a few, since Jack announces that it is I who am to write on this occasion.

Jane and I left home almost a month ago; have been lingering about in Derbyshire &c; and for the last fortnight and more, have been here on a visit to one Forster a young Bradford Manufacturer, who has very pleasant very quiet Country-quarters, is a most friendly cheerful man, and has long testified much desire to have us here. Jane seemed considerably worn out with the heats of London, and I considered it would do her good to get into the silence of the fields for a while. As it accordingly [h]as1 proved; for I find her much amended at present, and indeed fully in her average state of health. We have had beautiful weather, and no evil accident at all has befallen us. It was from the first settled that I was to go on to Annandale; Jane too was eagerly invited, and at one time seemed to have thoughts of it; but she cannot yet resolve to revisit Scotland after her great losses there: so she turns homewards for Chelsea again, on the day when I set off for Manchester and Annandale. That is to be the day after tomorrow, as we at present calculate; which in part accounts for my hurry at present. Early next week, probably on Monday (it may even be this week and on Saturday, if I find nobody that I like in Manchester), I expect to be in poor old Annandale again, and to see our dear old Mother once more. It is a sight for which one ought to thank Heaven, surely with one's whole soul: and yet to me it is always full of sorrow; and when the time comes to part again, it quite tears me to pieces for the moment, so that I could almost repent ever having come. O surely there is some kind of higher reunion appointed for poor mortals who have honestly loved one another here, and yet could never much help one another, but had all to admit many times that their hearts were sore, and could only share their sorrows together! God made us all; God will provide what is good for us all, what is best for us all.— But I may well change this strain.

We got your Letter here just three days ago: I sent little Jane's Note directly forward to our Mother, from whom (at least from Jean our Sister who is there) I have just got an answer this morning;—which, as it is the very latest news from Scotsbrig, I enclose for you here. Your own Letter is also at Scotsbrig before now: I sent it to Jack, with charge to forward it from Chelsea; the small scraping of an answer, which he has sent in return, I also enclose here.

He agrees with me in regret that you have not got the bit of land after all! There was of course no help; land with a doubtful title, paid for by very indubitable money, would never have done. You did in all ways wisely to stop short till you were clearly satisfied on that head. Could or can the “Land-agent,” or Thomson,2 not do anything to bring the matter into clearness? For instance, not get any indisputable person to guarantee his sale, and hold you harmless in case the title do misgive? I suppose, not. You will naturally be very particular in regard to any such guarantee; and poor Thomson, I suppose, is a rather dubious figure, on the other hand. So, unquestionably, you have done what was wise, and the only thing that was wise.— As to the money, Jack agrees with me that there is no hurry at all about returning it hither; that if you can get it well invested (I mean safely first, all things are subordinate to that), it may lie there, bearing its bit of interest, till we see. As to remitting it in corn or flour, that, as Jack says, will be a terribly unsafe operation just now! Our Corn-Merchants, who have flourished like the green bay-tree3 during last year of dearth, are now falling like the leaves in November: never such a time of “Corn failures,”—amounting already to five millions of bankruptcy, some say! We have an excellent harvest here, all over Europe indeed, and are getting it some weeks earlier than was at one time expected. Do not invest money in Corn, therefore. Put it by, as we said, in some safe place; and let us wait till we see.4

Dear Brother, this is all that was essential, I think; and therefore, being in such bustle, I will now conclude. Jack, as before, is busy getting his Dante printed: one can learn nothing farther of him by all the bits of Notes he writes. I, as before, am still idle, so far as writing goes; I know not when I shall get well to work again,—probably not till I get more miserable than I am hitherto! On the whole, I am not in any hurry; not loath to take a bit of sheer idleness, and of lying fallow in the scribbling line.— We rejoice to think of you and yours diligent in real work; honestly accomplishing what lies before you; and all kept in a body (which is an immense consideration), the bits of bairns all busy round you each according to his strength. Tell Jane and Tom5 their Letters are truly enjoyed here. God bless you all, dear Brother. Jane sends her love to every one. Your affectionate

T. Carlyle