The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 30 August 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500830-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 182-184


Scotsbrig, 30 Augt, 1850—

Tomorrow I expect a Letter from you; today I will only write one word to season your Evg Newspapers on Saturday, and prevent your little heart from being vexed with apprehensions. I am well,—“as well as cd be expected”! I have slept handsomely all these three nights; last night best of all, the only really good sleep there has been since I left my own stall at Chelsea. Nobody is here, John still away; we are the quietest of househo[l]ds1 for all but necessary noises. A mason worked before this window till yesterday, “making a new gig-house” at the end of the stable; and is now away, waiting for the joiners to roof. Shearing begins on Monday. The weather is cool and bright, almost coldish; no rain since that deluge of the Steamer day. I walked to the top of Stockbridge Hill (up the made road, opposite to the end of Burnswark) last night about sunset, and met nothing but two horses; one of the peacefullest evenings, salutary to the vexed heart of a son of Adam. Your Newspapers came, two of them, with Redwood's mark on them as well as yours: I have found German Volksmährchen [folk tales] here (Jack's stock), and employ all vacant minutes upon these, finding them very curious and ingenious.

Jack came down for twenty minutes, just after my letter to you was sent away. We have seen nothing of him since; but, alas, his second patient too is gone, died that same night (as he seemed to anticipate); here has just come a letter for me to the funeral tomorrow, and now, it seems, another and still another of the household has caught the disorder,—dysentery, whh is said to be prevalent at Carlisle and about, and has an infectious quality. Poor old Corrie; one's heart must be terribly taken up otherwise not to spare a thot of sympathy for such a case as his too. His sorrows come all upon him in his old age: better when they come before that sad stage of our course. His eldest son, of whom we used to hear enough, “John Corrie,” has just been dismissed from Liverpool for drunkenness, and is at home unwell too. This “Nancy” that is just dead was of my age; and I well remember her

My trunk is up from Annan, and all my things safe; 4 clean shirts still left, which is well, as the prospect of speedy washing is not clear in these harvest times! I shall never forget my Steamer voyage; but I am glad to have made it too.— At Jamie Ewart's I had forgot my 'bacco-box; found yesterday that it was lost, and knew not where; it alone lost,—and last night brother Jamie brot it up with him from Ewart's and Annan market; “could have sold it for pounds,” he said (owing to Literature), being slightly (scarce perceptibly) elevated with liquor as he spoke! A true zeal for literary honours, it wd appear, prevails in Annan: bad luck to them, they shd have had a better omnibus to bring me up from Waterfoot,2 and not two dirty Cumberland mechanics to insult me in it, whom I had to golly down into silence amid the mud and rain that were aggravating us all! Literary glory, I perceive, is not good for much. Here is an example of a Newspaper Cover (which actually came), which I saved for you the other evg from my Mother's pipe. Were such “drapers” (dirty drucken daised bodies) ever made before?— Burn it as soon as read or sooner.3

At Annan, on that Steamer day, Jamie was properly waiting for Edwd Hoggan, to take him up for the rent-day to Ecclefn; which feat he and I accordingly did,—at the cost of leaving my trunk behind for a day. Poor Hoggan looks grey, but otherwise changed only for the better: a most modest well-conditioned man, with the air of a gentleman too, tho' very poor. Jamie likes him very much, none speak other than well of him. I did not see him again; but he talked very kindly about old things, especially of Uncle Robert4 and Puttoch and you: I was really glad to have seen him. The Russels &c are well; Menteath5 has got bit by a dog, and is still in some horrible terror it may have been mad!

Oh Goody, I never take pen to thee without running to such lengths! I have a little note to write to Dumfries too. Can you send the measure of my flannel-shirts,—quam primum [as soon as possible]. Emerson's Letter6 (came today from you) is worth little; you shall have it next time. The new servant,—when is that? The rowins not now in the loft; and all manner of domestic and other adventures? Mazzini—upon my honour? Thy own bit of sleep above all? Adieu, Good keep thee, dear little Goody. T. Carlyle

Scotsbrig, Saturday, 31 Augt

I am going off to poor Nancy Corrie's funeral, the time (Noon) just at hand; and write only to tell thee so much, lest on Monday Evg there be disappointt felt. Little Jenny7 is off seeking for a Letter from you; if none come, we will try not to be vaixed; but we hope better things tho' we thus speak.— I am promising to get better here; I had another excellent sleep: would I could hear the like from Chelsea, but I fear things go not quite so well there in that respect. I took a long circuit last night, by Relief and the Clint Hill; a truly pensive, melancholy but peaceable and grateful walk of contemplation. I read the Seven Swabians,8 a small Pamphlet, thro' the day; then went to bed, slept, “and did nocht ava'.” It cannot be said that I am killed with work here.

John has never been back, nor have we heard any certain word from Newfield; there is a kind of rumour, and attempted hope, that things go better there, and the fatal malady is stayed. We shall see shortly. I wish Jenny were here with your Letter (in case there is one):—in the mean time I must go and dress; and will leave this open, till we see.— I keep Emerson's Letter till John have seen it: a word or two about poor Mt Fuller's death is all there is of any value in it.9

Letter come from you; not a moment's time to read it: thanks, thanks; I gather by the first words that nothing is wrong, and will read as we go along in the gig. Adieu, all good be with thee ever, dear Goody mine!

T. C.