January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 1 August 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560801-TC-JWC-01; CL 31: 148-149


Gill, Friday, 1 Augt, 1856—

Dear little Jeannie mine,

It will be better that I write you never so short a word than none at all; you will not grudge any brevity when you understand that is for the sake of “work” (bless the mark!) which lies immediately behind it. I wrote all my other Notes; three, to Tait, to Scotsbrig, to Dumfries, before going out to bathe; and now, after a hot walk to and from, and a nice dip between I am here for you before going farther.

I was vastly glad of your little Letter, kind and good, tho' sombre and distrustful perhaps beyond need; and bringing me nothing but favourable news. It had “too late” conspicuously marked on it, otherwise I had not been disappointed on the Wednesday: on Thursday (yesterday) morning it was all the welcomer directly after breakfast. Many thanks to you always, my good little woman; and know, if you can, that in my own way none loves you so well, nor feels that he has better cause to do so.

I am getting on quite perfectly here; hardly ever had such an ideal of a farm-lodging almost; for I am well let alone too, besides all my other blessings: I have excellent country fare (chickens, milk abundantly, one egg with superior hot coffee to breakfast, and daily at dinner the best bread-pudding you could wish me,—for Margaret1 is very expert, and all are attentive and good): I ride magnificently too every afternoon (at least 2 and the 3d coming); walk again in the fresh dusk, clear solitary roads almost as smooth as Chelsea pavement): I even sleep tolerably; have missed only one night, when Austin took me out to drive, drove on (imprudently) to Dumfries, where we found Jean with company,—and came in for the fag-end of her teapot; I believe that to be it; and will avoid again!— — Mary has had out the bed, down to its very elements, basking and airing; has even put in new featherbed, and it is really quiet beyond wont: nevertheless it is certain I get bitten,—not in the bed, I do believe, but by mosquitoes and other trash, whh abound to a degree.— — I have been three times down trying “work” for a couple of hours: it never fairly got begun till yesterday,—if began it yet be.

No news or Letters worth a penful of ink: the Voltaire Bookseller,2 ignorant of the two new failures, paid me for the old in stamps at once, the magnanimous man: Chorley, in reference to the new, writes sham-grandly, “like a Bartholomew patient of flaying;3—a very ill-given man, studying to be morally perfect in this world! At last, this morning by itself, comes Tait's Letter here inclosed with the Photograph: is it not beautiful? I think the two faces are capital; the whole far beyond any engraving. And have told Tait so.— On Tuesday I am for riding up to Scotsbrig (driving, that is, with saddle included), and staying till Thursday. On Monday I ask Jean to come hither. That, O Jeannie mine, is all my history.

How thankful am I that the Anak4 clogs do serve the turn. Scandalous not to have poor Nero washed: be peremptory on the point! Your Picture is here; I mean one of the better kind of Photographs framed:5 on the opposite side of the Mantelpiece is Another,6—which you guess. I often look at them both; with thoughts for which there are no words. Adieu, Dearest!

Yours ever

T. Carlyle

Perhaps you had better send that Photograph and Tait Letter on to Lady Ashburton; as a sign that nothing has been injured in the great Process.— I have never yet written; but you can say I will along with one of the “bigger impressions” when they come. That will be the shortest method. The Address is

Loch Luichart Lodge / Dingwall7

Alas, here is “dinner,” and not a stroke of work done!