The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 21 August 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500821-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 164-166


Boverton, 21 Augt (Wedy) 1850

Thanks, dear little Jeannie;—compose thyself and be quiet! Yesterday there came no Letter; not even the Nation Newspr came, nor has it yet come (lost, I suppose?): had there come nothing today too I shd have been seriously uneasy. Thanks to the struggle you made the little limping Postman has now put us all to quiet. I am much obliged to Geraldine for staying with you. I wish she could have taken a month's quarters with you in your present solitary post. The randy, I hope is gone? The little apprentice can be but a makeshift: I like ill to think of your fret and agitation about new servants just now. Can we do nothing to help it? It always strikes me you could very easily close the house altogether: I will come back immediately, if you want it; and we can go to some country lodging anywhither for a while, go to Scotland together, &c &c. This can be done; and directly, if you will so decide. Except the sight once more of my good old Mother I have nothing to look for in Scotland. A quiet bed and board is not very certain to me there either,—at least only for a limited time. Quietude in some place or other I must try to get for a considerable while longer,—for really I am terribly tattered to pieces, and in need of being “well let alone”;—but that bounds my wishes; and alas as for my hopes, it indeed exceeds them.— — Write immediately if you will have me return. But I know already you will insist on saying No. I wish I cd make you understand how feasible a method of deliverance from all your house-keeping miseries this seems to me!— At any rate, pray take time; are not “the rowings all in the loft; nothing pushing?”1 Oh my poor little Jeannie, endeavour to compose thy too-vehement soul; quicquid vult valde vult [whatever it wants, it wants strongly]: “too vivid, my poor child!” I make no doubt all the projected improvements will be in a quite tolerable condition agt my return; and if they are all baulked together, will not the very intention of them be a piety as interesting to me as the fact under luckier circumstances could be? Oh yes; perhaps more so: the wish and the power are a sad contrast in more cases than that, in this world! My poor little home at Chelsea does not fail in comforts of lodgement: I never leave it without finding how it distances all others in that particular; and how the engineer latent of my poor Goody has done for me what no quantity of money &c could have done! Thanks to thee; O know that I have thanked thee,—sometimes in my silent hours as no words could;—for indeed I am sometimes terribly driven into corners (in this my life-pilgrimage, of late especially), and the thing that is in my heart is known, or can be known, to the Almighty Maker alone!—— No more of this. In fact, I awoke too early; and my nerves are below par (or above par) today: that is it. I meant to write only one word; and here are already two slips full, and nothing said.

In spite of my experience of last night, I have to report that sleep goes decidedly a little better: all else goes well, silently regular as the current of Time, peaceable and pensive as the colour of these Autumn days. No news with me at all,—except that I have got my hair cut, and a pair of shoes soled; both well done! I bathe daily; this morning again, it was before breakfast: other two or three mornings I have been better employed asleep; bathing come in the afternoon,—a most tempestuous sea for three days back, only calm again this morning; scores and scores of ships making their way out of the Channel this morning, being windbound so long. To bathe in these waves the way is, Walk in till you are ancle-deep; then stoop down hand foremost, cluching hard by some crevice in your floor of natural rock (if you know the right ground); the roaring monsters of waves will abundantly bathe you,—well if they do not wash you quite ashore to the injury of elbows and legs! Better water I was never in. But the whole process appears to me insignificant in a medical point of view.— — Redd is reconciled to his lot; or hopes that he will be able to better it? Saturday (or Friday—no!) was fixed for the day; but we shall have a fight first. God bless thee, Dearest. I will write again before going. T. Carlyle