The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 12 September 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500912-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 207-208


Scotsbrig, 12 Septr 1850

Thanks, Dearest, for that nice kind little cheery Letter I found here last night on my return! It reminded me of old times, and did me real good in my dispiritment.

We got home very softly and fast,—a most excellent running pony, and the day bright and still; staid two hours with poor Mary, by the road, who is kindhearted, and full of cares and toil, as usual:—all was right, in short, except one's own deplorable soul and liver (or heart, or whatever it is); and that does make such an insolubility & misery of it! Alas, alas, I ought to be wrapt in cotton-wool, and laid in a locked drawer at present: I can stand nothing. I am really ashamed of the figure I cut among creatures in the ordinary human situation. “If I had the wings of a dove,”1 as poor Mrs Chorley sang, “I would”—do several things other than “flying to seek something comfortable to eat!”—

The truth is, I did not sleep well last night either; and, partly on inclination, partly on principle, took almost no breakfast but tea; have sat in the sun by the “dyke-backs,” reading Alton Locke &c till now (3 o'clock) when they are frying a chop for me; and—and—“W. Grahame and his Sister” are momentarily expected to “spend the evening and have tea”! I must swallow a pill, swallow a chop; and, if it please Heaven, be fairly out walking on the Moor before that fatal arrival,—to curtail the visit for one hour at least! Otherwise it will be worse for me. No Letters today at all, except some dud of a message from Farie at Malvern, needing no answer,—tant mieux [so much the better], tant mieux! One couldn't do witht human creatures altogether, Oh no, no; but, at present, in such moods as I now am in, it were such an inexpressible saving of fret and bother and futile distress, if they could but let one alone! Woe's me; woe is me!

Alton Locke, I fear, is worth very little; but I have yet done only half a volume;—it is probable I shall struggle quite thro'. A very jangly, exaggerative, intemperate kind of Book. The Leader was decidedly preferable; with Ld John Russel getting curtains given him (and Goody's pencil-mark to it), with Thackeray going to lecture in the United States &c &c.2 The Barclay draymen and Marshal Haynau's beard is a noteable and to me really an ugly and ominous kind of occurrence.— — Chop is now eaten, and I still safe: I seal, and fly to the moor! Adieu, dear Goody Adieu. I will write more deliberately next time, let us hope! Meanwhile it is your turn, is it not? God bless you always

T. Carlyle