July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE ; 11 September 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550911-TC-JC-01; CL 30: 59-60


Addiscombe Farm, Croydon 11 Septr 1855—

My dear Brother,

I suppose you very busy with your harvest, in this fine September weather; and try to flatter myself in general, tho' without any express news since John went away, that you are all going on in something like the old way. My special reason for writing today (in considerable haste), is to tell you that John has accomplished his Sea-voyage, and is now safe in Germany,—gone indeed beyond the mark he was aiming at, having found the railways suit better for going to Berlin first. He writes to me, dating these on Sunday last; “very muddy,” he says, from the boisterous voyaging; but intending to “walk about” in that big City for a day or two, and compose himself before going farther. He has Scotch people there, old acquaintances who came over in the Steamer with him; plenty of old Roman acquaintances living in Berlin, if he like to go in quest of them: Coethen, whither he is bound, is an easy day's railwaying (100 miles or so) to the rear of him, a little south of the road he has come: he will go thither, in the first place, having “warned” his friend &c &c; and then look about him afterwards as he likes. He says he accomplished his business in Hamburg1 to his satisfaction; adding no other particular about that. This is all his history since he left you. His Letter did not reach me till last night. I was very glad to see it; for tho' I could not think there was any danger, yet the weather having been so very windy (in these parts too) while he was at sea, and the Letter delaying a little beyond what had been expected, I was very glad when Jane brought it me last night, and put all to composure in that quarter. I have written to Jean at Dumfries, and by the same post I send you this. If Mary know about the thing at all, you can let her know about this result by some easy method.

I came out to this place, of which I dare say you have heard before, some ten days ago or more, for the sake of a little country and solitude; and have been here here2 without interval ever since, enjoying both these blessings,—with the addition of a horse too, on which, in this fine bright weather, I accomplish a great deal of pleasant solitary riding, over the “Heaths” (as they call them, tho' they are green open spaces, hundreds of acres, with only low whins, brackens, brambles juniper bushes where the ground is not perfectly smooth and bitten bare, oftenest not a twig of heather to be seen on them): there is such a “Heath” or Common, at every parish Church, and innumerable intricate lanes, all green and leafy, diving thro' woods, winding by solitary farms, lead variously from one Heath to another; not a soul to be seen in them either, about this time: so that there is no end to pleasant rides. I go out daily about 2; and take sometimes near 3 hours of it; which, with the other articles of regimen, seems perceptibly to be doing me good. The house is quite solitary, all but a servant or two, the family 500 miles away in the remote Highlands,—and extremely anxious, I must own, to make me comfortable here. I have plenty of Books;—in short I am doing the Hermit for a week or two in quite a successful manner; Jane coming out once in the 3 or 4 days to settle about “provisions” &c. I am likely to stay for a 10 days more. You can tell Isabella, I am not sure I should not prefer Scotsbrig to all this “ornament and grandeur,”3 were it within 10 miles of home! But I ought to be very thankful too; and am!— My blessings on you and yours, Dear Brother / T. Carlyle