April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 7 September 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490907-TC-JWC-01; CL 24: 225-226


Glen Truine House, 07 Septr 1849

Many thanks, my Dearest; your Letter delivered me from many anxieties this morning. By one of the innumerable irregularities of this establishment there seemed to be at Post-time (9½ a.m.) no Letter at all for me today; and I was sitting at my lukewarm breakfast thinking in silence what could be the meaning of it, when the careless (or more properly the careworn and almost heartbroken) Flunkey of the morning brought it in for me! That is not yet an hour ago: and now we are all agog again for some expedition to “Craig Dhu”1 or I know not what,—chaotic miserably uncomfortable cold and hungry expeditions they all are;—and at any moment, if they do not kindly happen to forget me, I am liable to be called: let me therefore haste, and speed you off a word while time is! For nobody can say either when we shall go, or in what manner, or whether we shall be home in time for the Post or not. Circumstances little pleasing, any of them, to the rational mind! If I do not write this instant, Edinr being already lost, you will not even on Sunday hear from me at Scotsbrig.

Jack's last Letter, I mean the one to him, represented me in a state of lumbago: that is not yet entirely gone; but it has been in a bearable state ever since that day; I have got a big waste room too, and in spite of noises and turmoils contrive to get nightly in instalments some six hours or so of sleep. But on the whole my visit prospers as ill as could be wished. Double, double, toil and trouble,2—that and nothing else at all! No reasonable word, or hardly one is heard in the 24 hours. I cannot even get a washing-tub to clean my skin in; my last attempt at washing was in a footpail, as unfit for it as a teacup would have been; and it brought on the lumbago I complain of. Patientia [Endurance]! I have known now what Highland shooting-paradises are; and one experiment, I should think, will be about enough! At the great Abercorn's a little over the Hills, we hear of Landseer3 and Lord Duffrin “sleeping in one end of a Bothy, divided by plaids from gillies that sleep in the other.” Landseer too is sick, the little dottle [stupid man]; and keeps his bed all day. “There's a kid!”— Today Milnes is due here, a kind of real hope to me, of its kind; and the present Lordships go tomorrow. But, on the whole, I feel hourly there will be nothing for me but to get my visit done, and fly across the Hills again quam primum [as soon as possible]! It is in fact such a scene of FOLLY as no sane man could wish to continue in or to return to. Oh my wise little Goody! What a blessing in comparison with all the Peerage Books and Eldorados of the world, is a little solid sense derived from Heaven!— Write to me, all things; and give my love to my Mother and the rest. Adieu at present: there are gillies and flunkies. Yours ever T.C.

I wrote yesterday to Stirling of Keir; I recd a Nation Newspaper, no great shakes