The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 19 September 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500919-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 223-225


Scotsbrig, 19 Septr, 1850—

The Buttons are all right, and gone to the Tailor; indeed, Dear, I knew you couldn't have them here on Wednesday,—dimly knew it at the time, and clearly saw it soon afterwards;—but “Wedy for Thursday” (in Lord Mayor's phrase)1 is good policy at any rate, is it not? And so here, sure enough, they are; and Garthwaite's Boy2 soon after them:—and all my bother about “clothes,” whh has come upon me this time again in due course of Nature, will be got thro', before long. I hope; and be wound up, like yours of the Library into a “work of art” for some “Chelsea Evening Entertainment,[”]3 if I prosper, by and by; Ach Gott! That affair of clothes comes heavy on the Son, much more on the Daughter (I suppose), of Adam! I instructed Jean to buy me three pairs of drawers, for instance; and here has the Tailor sent me five excellent pairs out of the stuff,—only all of them, I fear, too strait! And my Dressing-gown, exactly like Sampson's,4 and an excellent article, is clearly wrong in the lining,—a dim drab Colour, which Jean and the Draper fixed upon, never minding my precepts taken from the law of Goody, nor once shewing it to me! Oh Goody, Goody!— But we shall get thro' it all, better or worse; and look back on it as a “work of art,” before long.

Do not regret those contrivances “of a rude age,” dear Goody mine; they are still useful for our circumstances, and are always beautiful as human virtue is. We are not yet rich, my woman; nor likely ever to be,—Devil may care for that part of it! No “new suit of virtues”; only not quite so tight a fit in the old one,—an advantage that undoubtedly. But Chapman's Account for the Pamphlets might teach us moderation if we were forgetting ourselves: such a return of money for so much toil and endurance of reproach and other things, as has not often come athwart the Literary Lion,—Devil may care for that too! He says “the Account is all right,” you perceive (about ⅓ deducted for doing too much):—he will pay you your bit of an allowance this week, however; and so let him and his trade-ledgers go their gates again. “The little that a just man hath is more and better far”—said the old Jew Psalmist;5 a most true and comfortable saying

My last Letter ended with a Prophecy, which has come and is hourly coming true. I am frightfully in the way here, now that Jack has returned; my own sleep too has gone a good deal, and my quietude and silence still more; poor Isabella in the heart of busy harvest too:—in fact it was clear to me next morning, as I lay awake in bed, that here I cannot any longer handsomely or even humanely be. Two little projects of travel rose upon me: one a visit to Spedding, which is easy, but not very useful; the other a sail to the Island of Iona (Western Highlands) which I have been demanding of myself for years past, a much more difficult (or disagreeable) piece of travel! On both I wrote after getting up. From Spedding there is already an answer; quite ready for me they, and attainable by 7 hours rolling: I might go thitherward on Saturday, if all else suited,—if in fact I had clean linen, which (not by my fault but by the necessities of this place) will not be the case till Saturday night. Spedding therefore is postponed to the beginning of next week. From David Hope of Glasgow, in reference to Iona, I yet hear nothing: alas, I sadly fear that is too hard an adventure for me in the present state of nerves and spirits, at this advanced point of the season! But I do think I shall go to Spedding:—after which might not this (fruitless) hunt after “a quiet place” turn itself—perhaps towards Chelsea again! O Heaven, I have been in no reasonable set of human arrangements, for sleep and lodging, since leaving it, I think! We shall see. Meanwhile I purpose running over to Dumfries for a couple of days till the Cumberland adventure be ready;—Monday I shall be ready, if that suit otherwise. At Dumfries I shall but be a little worse off for quiet than I am here; and an immense alleviation (I perceive) will ensue here whenever I go. So courage! I have written all the due letters; and it is settled to be so.

You are to go to The Grange on the 25th? May it prosper with you, Dearest! Miss Farrar must have misreported, or have been misinforwarned:6 I have written to Lady Ashn that I cannot come at present; that I will go to Paris if I be well enough. Guess for me, by and by, how long you are to stay; I think you may find me at Chelsea on your return,—perhaps before it, if Iona go to smoke! Mind also you are to take travelling expenses, as if I were there myself;—keep some account, namely, and let me pay it,—without bother. And take care of yourself, my little Bairn; according to the 11th Commandt, Lass dich nicht verblüffen [Let yourself not be bewildered];—and try to get any scrap of profit or of enjoyt there may be going. And come home cheerful to me; Oh do,—will you not?

Poor Neuberg's half bottles were decidedly bad. Yet one shd try if one cd love that pig.7— The wretched little scrap of a Fleming!8 Adieu, Dearest; Heaven bless thee

T. Carlyle