The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 13 September 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510913-TC-JWC-01; CL 26: 170-172


Scotsbrig, 13 Septr, 1851—

It is all right and wise, dear Goody, all this that you have written to Blanche; and I am delighted to hear that you get along so royally where you are, and am heartily obliged to Geraldine and the others who contrive to procure you a few merry days in this world so much of which is sad and heavy. Not a merry world at all, generally speaking! Nevertheless there do occur little resting places here and there; and it is the part of a good citizen of this Universe to take these also with thankfulness, and make the most of them.

We got home hither at the due hour, and have had the equablest existence ever since; broken only by one's own sleeplessness perhaps, or little flaws of illness which quite overset my poor old Mother from time to time. Good old woman, she says again today when she heard your letter read, “I wad ha' liked weel to see Jane ance mair!”— Nothing can be more pathetic, sad yet beautiful, than the going out of a dear life in this manner. The thing I have feared all my days, behold, it is at hand; none can stay it, or turn it back! Life has other things in it than treacle and philanthropy, I am well persuaded this long while back.—— Jean continues with us till Monday; after which I am understood to be in readiness for my own journey, and not likely to linger at all. Brightest silent weather, closed lips (when attainable) and stupid Books (Lyle's Geology my grandest at present)1 are the resources I command. Unutterable thoughts and ruminations are not excluded, especially when one wakes in the night, which is still sometimes my course. But on the whole, I do profess to feel rather better; I bathe and walk every morning, have yet taken no pills (nothing but my castor once), find (in spite of Gully) coffee to be really useful just at present; and do not exceed either in it or tobacco,—for the rest, have not yet, definitely any account to render of the net sum-total that may lie in water-cure; but imagine that, except the walk after the morning's bathe, they will for me approach to zero. Very well!— — Garthwaite brought my clothes two nights ago: tolerably fair, all, except the waistcoat buttons, two sets, whh were palpably gigantic and intolerable; the poor soul was to ransack Annan yesterday for something suitabler, and tonight I shall have another weary bout with him. Heigho! Silence and Nothing at all were so much welcomer,—sluggard that I am.

That is a grand scene that of the two Espinasses: but E. senior should have covered his first note with a ten-pounder at mention of your name in the forbidden category! On the whole, I do not believe little E. has fundamentally changed his allegiance at all (which he is so inexpressibly welcome to do whenever it will help him in any way); but he is full of spleen and perversity of humour; and could say like Goethe's bigger friend “Auch in Gott entdeck' ich Fehler [Even in God too I discover faults],”2 when he is in these moods. Besides I suppose the little wretch was angry that I took no notice at all of his letter or “Life” of me (bless the mark);3 and in short— Oh dear, oh dear, who knows what copperas element a human creature has to live in here below!

Along with your Letter came that Note today: it will be incredible to you that I opened yours first,—will it not? But on the whole the Paris business becomes stringent, and I know not what to say! I hope Blanche will make no delay in writing; for then at least the whole case will lie clear upon the counter for computation. Any day after Monday I am ready (I think) for Lancashire; but if the Paris time extend only to “10 days,” it seems about as good as up for this bout! I must write however and keep it still open till we hear.—— What to say of sleep in Manchester I know not: one night is all I contemplate4 and that is likely enough to be broken and a failure try it where I may. A mattrass on the Jewsbury floor, a bed in the nearest inn, truly it matters not; only I shd like to be rather well let alone after my day's tumble perhaps. Does Geraldine know Hereford the Coroner and his Antipauper Society?5 I could like to see him (if we had time) on the morrow. He is in Glasgow, but is to be in Manr again: there is his address (with a curious note on the other side); pray keep the paper till I come, any way.

Of Mary Barton (i.e. the bodily Mary) and her spouse6 I think precisely as you do: dull he, very dull I shd believe; and how far it is good to get into hospitalities with the dull? But I will leave you altogether to decide;—and add only that a clean bed anywhere will suffice for one night.

Adieu dear little Goody; I send my regards even to Nero, and wish Geraldine were better. Adieu, Dearest.

T. C.

As you are an eminently good little creature, and can write admirably if you have a pen, I cut you one off, and send it,—goodish, I hope.