The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 13 September 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500913-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 210-212


Scotsbrig, 13 Septr, 1850—

I am still short of sleep, dear Goody mine, indeed I did worse last night, than usual in that respect: nevertheless today I feel much better, and look forward by the spirit of medical prophecy to complete reinstatement in my rights of seven-sleeper this night (if I prove steady, as I promise to do): and so I write poor Goody a word to that effect by way of seasoning to her poor solitary cup of tea, and study of the newspapers, on Saturday Evg as usual. Last night I had myself to blame, or rather poor W. Grahame and myself: one of the dullest mortals, and most perfect of innocent bores, that poor old friend of mine, now is!—but tonight the blame will be all my own in case of failure. Nay this morning, lying in bed after bathing or before it, I did, as my poor old Mother prescribes, “call on Patience” and considerably composed myself thereby! No wonder I am unwilling to drive to Dumfries or anywhither. Here is the best part of a week passed in meanest miseries, owing chiefly or solely to that inevitable adventure.

I told you little about my proceedings in Dumfries; indeed except on the medical side, which you got full enough, there was almost nothing to be told. Dumfries lay dim stoory and ragged (it was a clouded day tho' dry); one got from it, as ever, the impression of a place sinking to decay. They are to have water, however; that was something: poor fellows! James Aitken for his share prospers; Jean, poor thing, has surely the life of a galley-slave with those heaps of noisy children: but she is fresh and hearty,—always very kind and sisterly to me. Do Jenny as to health, and kindliness tho' in a quieter style; her two bits of Lasses are a very picture of cottage orderliness and propriety,—the eldest, mounted on a stool, was baking scons while I sat there; a thing to be laughed at and wished well to.1 I called on nobody at all except Aird and Banker Adamson. The M'Diarmids are “building a smart new House” and otherwise flourishing; but in my miserable humour I could not stand that intolerable Mother-Cole2 whine of Mrs M'D; and so shirked it, for once. “Why not forever?” I said.— Adamson's nose is decidedly getting red; and age is coming on in the shape of fat: I got £25 from him; and my Bank Account,—concerning which, dare I confess it to an accurate Goody, my anticipations were exceeded to the amount of at least £500! It appears we are worth 2 thousand and a fraction there; I had forgotten the new Cromwell, in guessing it in my head: but indeed such a fact as the above testifies to some peculiarities in me, I think! “The little that a just man hath” &c &c.3 Poor Aird is lame of an ancle these many months; quite grey and heavy, a solid-looking patient old gentleman: twice I saw him for an hour, and had respectable Christian speech with him,—a little speck of clear blue in the otherwise dusty heaven there— — By the bye, with reference to money, I have just ordered Chapman to remember 27 Septr for me: he is to call on you, one of these mornings, with a Draught for Fifty Pounds; what remains you will get from him in another form and send me hither for Adamson. Your own little Draught A. Sterling or I suppose the very grocer, will easily turn into cash for you.— Finally, I got a new Dressing-gown (almost the image, I think, of Samson's4 London one), with grey trowsers, drawers, and flannel-shirts: the Tailor is to take them, I hope, this night. Mind this also, if you think it concerns you: there is to be another grey waistcoat; do you think the buttons will again be wrong? How can the wisest goody say! In fact if there be need I will write to you again in time.

Adieu Dearest: I ought really to go out into this blessed beautiful air. Jack is here today; I have finished Alton Locke (Mackaye Capital, tho' too mostly baddish): it is now near two, and dinner time comes on apace. Nota bene,5 I gave everybody your Memorial Packages respectively; and everybody was loud in recognition, especially Jenny, Mary & my Mother: omitted hitherto! God bless you.

T. Carlyle