July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 30 September 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470930-TC-JWC-01; CL 22: 99-101


Scotsbrig, 30 Septr, 1847—

My Dearest,—I am just going off to Gillenbie, to Stewart's;1 where I have been due above two years. I know not for certain whether you will get the hurried scrawl I sent you off last night, at Addiscombe or not; and therefore write you another line, to signify for the moment, in case your imagination should doubt it, that all here continues well. We hear indeed, by Jamie, that poor Mary2 is complaining a good deal; she looked wretchedly ill when I was last there, poor Mary: my Mother and I are to go over tomorrow, a fresh supply of horse-power (from the Rood Fair) having now arrived. My unfortunate interior, suffering from defect of sleep &c &c, is in a decidedly inferior condition; but perhaps the ride, a solitary one, thank God, will do it good. Ah, me!—I have written to Spedding, that I will fix a day for him; written also to one Jeffrey (a poor “literary” youth, son of an old acquaintance),3 what brief word was needful: and the Pony is standing ready.

How art thou, poor little Jeannie? Tomorrow this time you will be getting ready to go off; will perhaps be home, by this time. I shall like better to fancy you there. Get into the backroom upstairs, out of the paint; be very quiet, and take some care of thyself! I perceive, by one phrase in the last Letter, sad doubts still lingering:4 alas, alas, if the Lady Harriet “get enough of Letters,” she must be very easy to satisfy: I think I could write upon a sheet all she has got from me for a twelvemonth past! But my own mind today is extremely sad; I am not very fit to write on such subjects,—and will change the page.

Grahame writes again, radiating more “joy” over the last ride we had together, and pressingly inviting me to a day at Burnswark before I go; “must come” &c; he talks also of “Alexander Magnum's Mother Olympia,” and “tempis fugit”: a most wonderful old Man of the Mountain!5 If “happiness” were our being's end and aim,6 who would not rather be Grahame than Goethe?

In my present defect of all Literature, I have fallen in love with the “Groves of Blarney”:7—really it is infinitely better than the Nation stuff; which I think daily grows in loudness of insanity. Of all the trades in England, I should like worst to be Irish Minister at present: grapeshot appears to me to be by far the probablest solution.8

Ever since Manchester, I got mostly out of the “Praslin Murder”: but here is a new phasis, it would seem! Good Heavens, my imagination refuses to conceive the unspeakability you intimate; I am forced to believe it a conversational exaggeration! The like too, with still an additional atrocity, is, however, affirmed of Tawell,9 and pretends to be official. Certainly, if such things be true, there must be circles in the Inferno of Nature deeper than even Dante has dreamed of! Non ragionam di lor.10

What says Mazzini to all this Italian work?11 Is not he too sharpening his stilettos? This seems to be worth ten Savoys Expeditions.12 Tell me of him:—and do not fear that your Letters “are not worth reading”; whatsoever you write about, and in whatever mood,—“she's a top hand as a letter!”13— — I have on a pair of my new breeches; exceedingly good. Jenny still busy with flannel shirts. Adieu, Dearest; write me a long Letter; kind if thou canst: I love thee ever. Thine

T. Carlyle