July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO LORD ASHBURTON ; 29 July 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580729-TC-LOA-01; CL 34: 82-84


The Gill, Cummertrees, Annan 29 july, 1858—

Dear Lord Ashburton,

I am greatly obliged by your kind Letter of this morning; which suppresses, altogether as it ought to do, an unpleasant speck of disorder from one's mind, in a quarter where all is peculiarly bound to be clear and pure,—sad but also beautiful, like the memory of the Departed. We will now proceed straightway and settle that matter; so that only pious silence henceforth may be the element of it.

According to what recollection I have, the Bequest was twofold: part first, a sum of £1,000 to me;—this part will be easily settled, by a cheque from you, or a draft from me such as you have permitted: it is fundamentally indifferent which; but I somehow feel as if I wd prefer the former on a choice given. Part second was of the nature of a charge or commission; a Sum annually (£50, I think) to be bestowed on distressed Literary Persons; her pious gift, my wisest administration, year after year. Now about this there rises the question, Was it to be, during your life, during my life, or during yours and mine? I cannot recollect at all; and think perhaps the point was not specified? In that case, will you, please, settle it, what way you see best: I should think, possibly the third form, “during your life and mine” (unless you find it, expressly or by implication, settled otherwise): do you, please, decide, for I have no right to vote on it. The sum ought to be paid every Fourth of May;1—and if, what is not in the order of Nature, I be the last left of the Three, it will be in my own power to take farther order for the times that Anniversary comes round.

This I think is all we have to do: and if you will now, before leaving Town, put Part second into a settled shape, and write me one other little word on the subject, I will answer nothing more, but either draw, or accept your cheques; and so terminate.


What you say of my Wife is very encouraging,—unless I consider you too sanguine a reporter;—her weak coughing state, all this while, has given me great uneasiness. Poor Lady Elcho, poor Lady Elcho2—may you prove a false prophet there! For her own sake, and for that of Another,3 I can never cease to regard her.

If you come by Carlisle, direct for Glasgow (whh is 40 or 60 miles the shortest road thither), you will pass within 10 miles of me; but I cannot bid you pause for an interview; I wd chace you rather with new velocity into the mountains, well out of the way of Gout4 the scoundrel! From Carlisle there is a fine gentle (ill-paying) railway the quietest and handiest I ever travelled in, whh passes within a gunshot almost of this cottage, and then by Dumfries, Drumlanrig,5 Ayrshire, and places where you have never been:—but, no loitering with Gout to rearward!—

Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle

A “cart to Stralsund” will be extremely welcome, if it were conceivably possible! I have actually got a “Continental Bradshaw,” and pinned the Map of German Railways on the wall. So far advanced on that Enterprise; not farther hitherto!—