April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 19 September 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490919-TC-JWC-01; CL 24: 239-241


Scotsbrig, Wednesday 18 [19] Septr 1849—

Here has your Letter come, O punctual Goody; and now, at 3 o'clock, we may suppose you in the throes of getting under way; a pain I truly sympathise with, but one which has to be undergone! We spent last night here in occasionally scheming out your adventures, arrival in Euston Square, arrival at home; and then I went to bed: but it appears tonight is the true time to set about that operation;—in fine, I shall not be at rest till I hear that you have fairly arrived, and some account of what you found on getting to harbour. A little slice of Schwabedom,1 among the other fruits of your travel laid up for me, will not be unwelcome at all. Along with yours came this Letter from Neuberg; of course I give up altogether that speculation, and shall make for Chelsea instead of “Derby.” I decide likewise to omit Liverpool: Pauletdom, knowing what I do from you about it, is by no means a scene I would go wilfully to take share in! I judge it not, perhaps I pity it enough; but to condemn it withal appears the inevitable result if I did judge it: a clearer course is to do what Nature emphatically prompts, “Keep away from it; pass it swiftly in silence,—holding thy nostrils if needful!”— I have written to John, conveying a Note to him which I suppose is an invitation from T. Erskine;2 urging him too that he ought to look after Jamie's medical affair, which I consider ought not to be neglected longer. Probably he may manage the visit and it both at once.

All hands are busy at harvest here; everything ripe, and five scythes at work; the finis looked for on Saturday afternoon. I never saw more beautiful still weather; sunsets, when I go stalking up Middlebie Rig towards Burnswark side, are beautiful as Claudes, and happily I am bothered with no talk about them. I live as the idlest of all men. I have slept three nights, two in succession, well. My heart lies waste and sad enough; but it is quiet, left quiet,—and lays schemes for amendment and renewed activity, if the gods will. I am grown very impious, however; a dull weight as of stone mountains seems to crush down everything in me, good as well as evil. By and by we hope to see Richard become himself3 again in spite of everything! At any rate, a few days of absolute silence, absolute inaction in thought, word and deed among these old native moors is by no means to be despised.— I have not yet set any day for departing; but must of course set about it soon: I mean to try for Chelsea all at one run; so soon as I hear news from you there will be little excuse for my loitering longer.

Alas, alas, I seem yet far from articulate work; nevertheless one must begin to advance thitherward:—I wish you had got thro' that mass of burbled Papers, for one thing. But indeed I hardly think you ever will; and probably it is my own concern, tho' your judgement might have availed me too in the washing of such a mass of “diggings,”—diggings without gold, with at best only bran and huge tons of mud, ah me!— I have now Thoreau's Book, which went with me in vain all over Ireland; a very fantastic yet not quite worthless Book. I have others of the same still here; the pabulum of my at present “irregular life!— Get into the cab then, my poor Goody, for it is now towards 4 o'clock (my dinner-hour here); and Gootluck go with thee to the Orient and everywhither! Hoping for news swiftly— Ever yours T. Carlyle