July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO JWC ; 13 August 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580813-TC-JWC-01; CL 34: 124-126


The Gill, 13 Augt, 1858—

No news from you today nor yesterday, my little Child: I try to hope all is still going well. Tomorrow there must a letter come!—

All is haste and hurry here since the Post came this morning, with a Letter from Jack; settling that Foxton and I are to meet at Newcastle and embark on Tuesday Evg next! No man being so learned as our Doctor in the Bradshaws1 foreign and domestic, I had entrusted to him the task of appointing with Foxton (who was asking me about Passports &c &c): and he has appointed so; liable still to my refusal; whh, however, I have taken good care not to give, but the contrary. My own speculation had been that Leith, 21st (Saturday 21st) was to be my place of embarkation; and so I was lounging about with time enough ahead: but, after reflexion, I am forced to admit that “Tuesday,” and “sooner the better,” is the real rule of the case; and have written to say so and engage. The anchor is up, then; no more rest or loitering; “Yo heave Oh!”—and begin that we may end. Oh dear, oh dear:—but there is no help. Nay I cannot but admit that I have completely finished here; my “milk-diet” becoming questionable if further continued; and in the middle of next week (days shorter so much) there must have been precisely what there is in the end of this. I had begun to consider, too, that on the 21st I shd be perhaps within a few days of a possible sight of you, Goody dear; whh might have tempted me to prolong the thing to the 28th (if that wd have done for you),—and the days are already short enough! Better as it is, Dear; let me be content and you.

If Foxton and I go right, we leave Newcastle 8 p.m. Tuesday next; and arrive at Hamburg Thursday evg following: our first stage, a day's railing thence, must be to Halle or Merseburg2 (thro' Hanover, a stupid country),3 for the “Battle of Rosbach”;4 and thence on to Dresden, only a 60 or 70 miles, for other items to right and left. Prag5 (100 or 150 miles) comes next: within a week after Prag we may have done with Bohemia and be climbing (in leathern diligences) the Riesengebirge,6 towards Breslau7 where also lies about another 4 days or 5; after whh we have only Frankfurt on the Oder,8 with at most two days there; whence home, by Berlin likely, and either by Ostend if for London, or by Hamburg again if for a Scottish port (Goody needing to be brot home or the like)—Ach Himmel, wd we were well there!— — I will appoint where your Postes Restantes are actually to be: meanwhile if you have written for tomorrow, and have nothing more to say specially, let that suffice till you hear again. Your “God speed you” would be so welcome too:—but unless you sent it (perforce) by yr Sunday evg post, it wd not find me here on Tuesday morng. Do if you can, Dearest; but don't bother to do it!

I am well again; had a grand ride on dromedary yesterday (the first since Saturday); a grand walk in the evg (caught up by a central battery of the thunder now prevailing,—one hour or so of it, 9 p.m., standing plumb up under a hedge and wood near Brow Well, my umbrella running like the dumb-waiter in Trafalgar Square;9 got no hurt, not much of wet, and rejoiced the world by my reemergance here); grand walk, as you see; and had a sleep in proportion,—wd to Heaven you had but the like of it, poor soul! So that, you see, I start on fair terms; and might easily have been set to sing “Yo heave Oh,” on worse.— Today is Lamb Fair of Lockerby;10 a great day for Austin and certain of the girls;11 who are tasting of the skyey waters, from time to time, poor souls. Air still hot, sky leaden, and almost no wind yet risen. I got a good bathe on Wedny; but that was my last: none yesterday owing to thunder-rains at the time.— Jean talks of coming out tomorrow, with 3 or 4 collars & small items I set her to buy: I will make her bring me the necessary money withal, whh will be a real benefit.

Yesterday the unfortunate Marquis12 was buried in Cummertrees Aisle, an immense procession escorting:—I rode in the other direction, and saw nothing of it; but Austin was there. A funeral service according to the English form was read in the Kirk (understood to be by the poor old mother's13 order), tho' the man was an express elder of the Parish.14 Austin's gig was next the Old Lady's carriage in the procession; coming thro' the Park, at the place where her poor “Archy” (her one son) perished in that dark way, her screams and lamentations were loud and dreadful. Poor old woman (a proud, maggoty gadding creature in old days, a Douglas herself I think), she insisted on attending to the churchyard, she and her one Daughter15 (with whom she is usually not on speaking terms): they had her to lift from the carriage: “an auld thin wee woman, bent twaefald.”— — It seems the determination is, at Kinmount, not to consider it except as accidental (tho' in that sense it is hardly conceivable, nor conceived by the public hereabouts); and to avoid discussion and contest, it is thot they will forego a certain Life Insurance, whh wd object if called upon.16 The poor man, still only 40 and in the flower of health, was not a bad man at all; kind, honourable, brave, & even “blate”;—but hasty, headlong, unlucky very: & so it is over. I will write a word on Sunday for you again. God keep thee Dearest,

T. Carlyle

I sent the Book Tourgff (with one of Ruskin17 to accompany) upon its road to Loch Luichart yesterday, with a Letter to Miss Baring. When do you start hitherward; or is the day not fixed? I hope tomorrow may say.