January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 2 September 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560902-TC-JWC-01; CL 31: 211-213


The Gill, 2 Septr, 1856—

Poor little soul, what a miserable provoking business! I am grieved and angry and every way vaixed1 to think of you lying there in prison, all doleful, instead of cheery and well, a whole week already of your little vacation time which had been so prosperous till that. And for the sake of a Popular Preacher,2—Oh fie—with his “artful simplicity” (yes that is it) and “opulence of imagery” (representing next to nothing of importance as it was)! Never do the like again;—and above all, get soon better out of this, whether you be wiser or not.

Your two Letters were here waiting me last night; a joyful item beyond any, tho' the news was so bad:—I could almost have laughed outright at your description of the fatal adventure, it was so true to life, and in the old Jeannie style: that of throwing tea and toughened toast `into the system” by way of dinner after such a bout, that was indeed a finishing stroke. Edinburgh theology, I must say, pleases me less and less.

And now the bridle is thrown up, hangs loose about the neck of me; and I know not which way to do;—could not even see you at Auchtertool, if I still came Linlathen way. Walter's House must be crammed to the ridge-stone: I cannot imagine how he lodges such a party on any terms,—not to speak of the voces infantum que animae flentes in limine primo!3— — I incline more to

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Robert Scott Tait, 1 June 1856.

Courtesy of Edinburgh University Library.


the Glasgow way, by sea and the Picturesque; one ought not to refuse to see the Kyles of Bute and Ft Augustus4 “a jewel in Erebus”?5 I can decide on nothing positive yet, not having the “September No of Murray's Time-Tables” (sorrow on it): only I perceive I must be off from this some time on Friday: after the Post of Friday morning nothing more is safe for me sent hither. I doubt you cannot now catch me by writing even at once? Unless there is some thing pressing, do not try till you hear again.

Anne's Letter is quite magnanimous to read.—John is home from Switzd, I think and at Brompton since yesternight. I had to write to him too, tho' much in haste and with my nose running. His own lodging was not to be ready “till Monday”; so he had to loiter at Dieppe &c. Lest it shd still be unready I gave him a billet on Anne (to my bedroom for a day or two), but I think he will not use it,—so it is a mere solace to one's feelings and practically zero. All the readable of my Letters I inclose: one other from Tait worth noting, and this morning another do from “A. Ker!”6 Take care of thyself, take care! Adieu for this day / T. Carlyle