July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 21 September 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470921-TC-JWC-01; CL 22: 81-82


Scotsbrig, 21 Septr, 1847—

Dear Goody,—Take a stupid word from me, rather than none. I have had my dinner; no Letters have come, not even the Dublin Nation (did it never get to Chelsea; or how?);—the day is dim Scotch mist, occasionally thickening into rain; and I have not yet been out at all: reasons enough for your excuse if I be dull. I promised yesterday, and shall perhaps frighten your poor little screamikin of a heart if I do not perform. The paper too (you perceive) is damp; grown damp in my absence: but never mind!

I got to Lockerby yesterday, on a Coa[c]h1-roof, according to program; a drive I recollected doing last time but one with you, many years ago: the braes where poor Harry2 had to walk, and all the phenomena of that old damp afternoon, came, as is the wont in such cases, strangely before me again! At Lockerby, in the midst of Navvy and Mason lumber, and every kind of confusion coerced only by a few “Caledonian”—Lockerby Porters and Officials, I had to wait three quarters of an hour: then the softest of railways for fifteen minutes, and another half-built station-house, and two “Caledonian”-Ecclefechans (very strange the old Annandale faces look in their railway fustians and furbishings);—after which a walk of an hour; and then I was at Scotsbrig, and that is the last of me up to date. Judge if the quiet room, and the fresh country sleep were welcome to me. In fact I am up to nothing but sleep, I think, at this stage of my history.

Here, that is over Dumfriesshire, I think the chief mood, during these days, is emotion of pity and pretended-pity over the failure of “Ried, Irving and Co,” the enormous London Merchants.3 Many people here depended more or less on them. “Get money, Jock; honestly if thou can; but get it!”—and so it terminates, one day— By the bye, did you (“honestly” that was, at any rate) get the Bank Letter of Monday, for £75? A small peculium to go into the House-purse of a judicious Goody, and keep the Devil out for a time. Mention it when you write;—which is to be tomorrow? Besides the Letter from Lady Ashburton,4 which is here, there had come none but one from Fitzgerald, about the old story of the “uses of the Church” and so forth; which is in no case worth the stamp for its weight.5 I wrote to Lady Ashbn this morning—“my chances of going to the Grange at present very small.” Perhaps you will hear from her yourself by and by. If she ask you, and you like to go, go by all means; if not, not.—— I have bought infinite flannel, and some cloth,—of which take these two specimens, O Goody, and observe! Two waistcoats of these Colours; and no buttons could be got for them at Dumfries: get us a dozen of each sort, at thy peril,—and send them swiftly, for Garthwaite comes on Friday. Not too big, nor too little, nor of a wrong colour, nor of——! “Hold your peace, you fool!” Enough, therefore

T. Carlyle