The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 17 August 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520817-TC-JWC-01; CL 27: 230-232


Dumfries, 17 Augt, 1852

Hardly time for a word; yet there must be one word lest you get uneasy before Friday,—which wd be your first post-day if I did not write till the day after tomorrow,1 the date of my getting back to my Scotsbrig writing case.

We came away hitherward, my Mother and I yesterday; bad weather overtook us, and continues; I left my Mother at Gill, and am here for 24 hours now. Nothing wrong, nothing wrong, my dear little Goody; only the old story, dispiritment, isolation, dyspepsia and want of sleep. Everybody is very kind to me too; I am an unhappy creature!—

I have written to Neuberg, in the middle of this confusion, a very confused missive, That I could come away from Leith to Rotterdam on Saturday come a week; that I ought to see Berlin, Dresden and some other things but that I scunner and shudder at that and every journey. However, he is to tell me what the particulars from Rotterdam are—so far as he can make out from my aims; not an easy problem, I fear.— Tell me, thou, a candid word now about Germany: When could you go with propriety, leaving nothing like a duty undone (not capable of being done by Chalmers &c) behind you? Say in what length of time. And speak for yourself witht reference to me and my irresolutions.

It seems to me quite cowardly that I shd give up even the shadow of an Enterprise on Frederic for indigestions, insomnolences and the terror of railway chaos. Absolutely that, like a kind of bayonet in the back, is pushing me on; to attract me there is more zero or even a minus quantity.

Jack went off toward Edinr and Auchtertool on Monday, some hours before my Mother and I left. Poor Helen2 is not in a good way, poor little creature, tho' not worse than when you heard, perhaps a little better rather: nor do I see the slightest hope of help for her thro' what these Doctors say; Jack's notion, however, seemed to me the safe one: to keep off the need of operation till the last moment; to depend on regimen &c as the only real help. Philp the Kirkcaldy Dr, whom I have seen, is a clever kind of man.— — Aird is very lame here; rather dreary, tho' human and friendly. The day is damp, with grey windy scuds of Eastwind rain: I walked far and wide; landed unexpectedly at Woodlands3 at last on the Craigenputtoch road of all roads in this world! I started in soul as if I had come on something preternatural. O my Jeannie, my poor and ever-dear Jeannie, do not quite cease to love me,—do not! Evermore T. Carlyle

Wednesday afternoon / Scotsbrig (as before!)

I have now studied Neuberg sufficiently; and send him off that you may understand, more clearly than I could explain in such hurry (3 hours ago), what is to be done about the Passport. Take up the old Passport to Lord Ashburton: my own notion is that it requires only to be visé'd by Bunsen and the Austrian Ambassador (one of Bunsen's clerks wd help you if all else fail): one way or other, I trust to the genius of Goody for having it off to me all ready before half past 5 on Friday Evg: “Post Office Edinr,” it wd be more consolatory to find it there, and have no care on that head during the voyage. But I perceive by Neuberg, it will still do even if despatched on Saturday, addressed “Hôtel Pays-Bas, Rotterdam” (and paid, that it may find the better welcome!).— From Goody's self I expect a Letter at Edinr any way.

Lord Ashburton will help you thro' the Passport, for love of me, if he can. I have been thinking since of that fine addition to the scheme, of his coming with it himself: really that would be very brave. And he is not due strictly (at least was not understood to be) till the 15 Septr; before which time we cd have a look of Berlin, not to speak of Weimar, Dresden, Torgau and the Saxon Switzerland, together; and send him home a still healthier man! But I fear her Ladyship will not consent, nor his Lordship either: more is the pity. (Help that on if you can: for really it will give me pleasure).

I will write again tomorrow; poor wearied soul, there is no rest to thee till I go. Tonight I have to write to Erskine (a farewell), to Jean, to Jamie Austin (abt money): writing enough.—But Jack is off till tomorrow evg, & there is a heavenly calm: no sound audible but the singing of the Burn; the very poultry and turkeys have retired—to the stubbles & stooks, I doubt Adieu, Dearest: take care of thyself.— T. C.