July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO JWC ; 3 August 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580803-TC-JWC-01; CL 34: 93-94


The Gill, Tuesday 3 Augt, 1858—

Alas, my Dear, I have got nothing this morng either; my expectation was confidence itself, and there has not the least word come from you! I try not to give way to fancies, whh is a kind of problem too, here in this vacancy; but I am terribly in want of news from you. Yesterday, when it was too late, I bethought me of examining the Newspaper Cover more strictly; it might have a date, a postmark of place (who knew but “Alverstoke”!) upon it:—alas, I found it had been already crumpled as useless, and I myself had assisted in helping it to kindle the fire: whether it was posted before your departure as I had at first guessed, or after your arrival as I now wanted to guess, there was henceforth no saying! Of course you wrote, I do not surmise neglect on your poor part: probably the Rowland Hill is alone to blame; his rapid posts, whh might so easily take in London-Scotland, do not, I suppose; but bring your letter to Annan at night—that is, detain it from me for a 24 hours more! I must have patience: let me hope again on “tomorrow morning,” in this place of Hope!— If only the news be good: but alas who can promise me that? Write at any rate; be diligent in writing, at least a word or two. This new quirk of the posts, I fear, has thrown you twice as far away from me. But we will hope!

No Letter came at all (if I had been wanting other Letters) but one from Foxton, answering that he is ready for the German Journey; most ready, but a dyspeptic, rheumatic &c &c,—who in fact seems to me questionable for the job. Happily I have him quite loose. Indeed the whole Enterprise is yet loose, as water; cannot be fastened at all, till I hear about Ld Ashburton and his Yacht, whh cannot well be before this week end. After that I must perforce make some decision. My life here is growing to seem little better than a nightmare Sleep to me: yet I shudder at the German Hurlyburly, and only Conscience is emphatic upon it. On the 6th you decide on your little project: write to me that same day what your decision is: I shall then have pretty much the whole matter before me.

Yesterday a threatening of rain attended me angrily thro' all my ride,—which nevertheless I persisted in to the utmost length:—after dinner the rain came; battered along all night; I sitting within, quiet over Béranger's Biography,1 and omitting my walk whh latter was a bad clause for the sleep that followed! I finished the poor Chansonnier [balladeer] (a very good Autobiography; perhaps worth sending to you, tho’ it is a heavy volume): his curious French death and life; his eminently truthful, discerning, loyal and ingenious character, good every way tho' smaller than I had expected,—all was very entertaining to me; and took its place among the confused nonsense I dreamt after ending it. Orlich is not yet finished,—wretched fiddle-diddle of an Orlich! I have other Books too; but that is the dreary book of duty for the present.— Craigenputtoch is for Thursday; Jamie & I to rendezvous at Cummertrees and do that little feat between noon & midnight. God bless thee, Dearest

T. Carlyle