The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 10 September 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510910-TC-JWC-01; CL 26: 162-163


Dumfries, 10 Septr, 1851

Dear Goody,—In the midst of the hurry usual in my visits hither, I snatch half an hour to send you a word,—word about nothing at all moreover, for of news or the like I have none more than formerly. Robt Calvert and certain Australian Cousins1 were booked for Scotsbrig on Tuesday; a prospect of noisy nothingness there in consequence: so I decided on yoking the Gig, and taking my Mother over with me to Gill, whence the Dumfries visit, a thing binding upon me, could be done in the interim. The weather was, and is of the beautifullest sunny September sort; so that the enterprise was handy, and we have done as well as could have been looked for. We met your Monday Letter between Scotsbrig and Middlebie; thanks for that: I left word for the Tailor about his waistcoat;—I expect he is now far on with his job: one other thing well out of my way. I left my Mother at Gill; Jean is to come down with me to Scotsbrig at 2½p.m. (within an hour of now) this day by the rail; there Gig and Mother, after poor Mary's tea, will be ready to receive us, we hope, and so we shall drive all over to Scotsbrig together. I had an illustrious bath, both shower and sit, with even something of the plunge bath superadded,—for the ingenious James has made himself a most effectual set of baths here, tho' not equal to Whitworth's marble sort;—after which operation I had a long rapid walk: my sleep had been tolerable, tho' none of the longest; I have now been at the Adamson quarters, have talked with Aird, bought globes, &c &c, and except one or two small items am ready for setting out, on rather fair terms. An ourie, misty, dusty kind of character is upon all these localities; the railway doing them hurt in their business rather than good: however, they are just about getting plenty of excellent water brought into every house, whh will be a grand matter for them; and “Father Gavazzi,” as huge Placards testify, is going to harangue them in Italian tomorrow, which one wd think must be an extremely unprofitable operation, for all but the Padre himself! This blockhead nevertheless is actually making quite a furore at Glasgow and all over the West Country, such is the Antipopish humour of the people. They take him for a kind of “Italian Knox”2 (God help them); and an Ass whom I heard the bray of in some Glasgow Newspaper, says, “He strikingly reminds you [of]3 our own grand Hater of Shams, Ts Carlyle,”—certainly a very striking resemblance indeed! O my Dear, I am sick of the stupidity of mankind: a servum pecus [servile herd]; I had no idea till late times what a bottomless fund of darkness there is in the human animal, especially when congregated in masses, and set to build “Chrystal Palaces” &c under King Cole, Prince Albert and Company! The profoundest Orcus,4 or Belly of Chaos itself, this is the emblem of them:—ah me, ah me!—

You have yet heard of nothing more of Blanche Stanley, nor the visit to Alderley: a stubborn painful fact, however, it does remain; and I often uneasily reflect that it will have to be done. Of Paris &c beyond it I cannot venture to think at all,—tho' that too is a “fact” of similar kind, and must demand to be decided on. Alas, I am weary, weary; and rest is not for me anywhere. “She said I am aweary”:5 well, Mariana my dear, is that so unexampled a predicament?

On the whole it seems to me I shall have to lift anchor from Scotsbrig early next week perhaps,—certainly before long. I think you had better open some correspondence with Blanche, and ascertain whether “four days” of us then or about then, will be acceptable? Four days, don't (unless you yourself wish it otherwise) engage for more. But we are bound to go.— — Adieu, Dearest: Oh let us help one another at any rate, if we but can! I salute you with my blessing always; and bid you take good care of your poor self for one thing! Meanwhile be as cheerful as you can.—

Your's ever

T. Carlyle