The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 8 July 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410708-TC-JWC-01; CL 13: 172-174


Scotsbrig, 8 july [1841] (Thursday)

Dear Bairn,

Your good little Letter1 did lie waiting at Ecclefechan last night; the stupid Postmaster had forgotten to deliver it; only after we were gone did little Jane2 come tripping over with it (her second journey that day); and Jamie and [I],3 returning in from a gloaming ramble over the fields, found it lying here. You are always good and punctual; you always write, too, a pleasant Letter, let the news be what they may.— As to “Paper,” pray break into that of Fraser's; part of it was intended for you!

Last night did not bring a sleep either, but only promised that one was coming. Let us be content; thankful for the stillness, greenness, bright sun or promise of bright sun; and piously ask what of clearness we can muster. This morning I have written to engage the Cabin Cottage for one month, beginning on the 26th of july (Monday come a fortnight) the first vacant time for it. Isabella,4 who has lived in a room of the place, represents to me that I have somewhat exaggerated its extreme littleness; its comfort and completeness, she says, is great: there was either that or no supportable house in this region; for Johnston's of Shawhill was of the nature of rooms in another person's house; and I learned that there lived on the other side of a wall within thirty yards a family of Middlebie Laird's people,5 the most distinguished basest gossips known even in this quarter; a circumstance which was at once final. We are to go to this solitary cabin, then; which you must not dislike too much! Our mother, or Isabella and her child,6 can occasionally come and take advantage of the spare beds; there is a round-faced handy little woman, with whom Ellen I think will do very well, who will look after all supernumeraries, “take care of the horse,” go errands &c: for four weeks we shall decidedly contrive to do! After that, Chelsea or Tynemouth, Quimperle7 itself, any place is accessible. You will have time to see your Mother in the interim. I suppose Ellen must go with you thither. You send her by Steam from Liverpool; an omnibus for Dumfries receives her at Annan, and then (next morning I think) a second coach for 2/6 sets her down at Templand. You clip out the Steamers Advertisement from the next Dumfries Newspaper: that will tell you the days and hours. So much for Ellen.

As for yourself, you know the way now; for there is now nothing to bring,—nothing but as many Literature-of-Desperation Books as will serve me four weeks: I shall evidently get no work done if it be not reading and riding. Consult Mazzini. Catch what you can in the London Library or by borrowing; I suppose that will be enough; for I grow dreadfully weary of it, and think it doubtful if I shall now bite at the “Article” for some time yet; and plenty of other books are here. I am writing on another bit of paper a list of some little things I want you to bring.— As for your money, if you have any anxieties, give it to John and he will send it by the City Banker's to James Aitken's care at Dumfries.

And now what day will you come? As soon as you like and can! Monday first, Tuesday, Wednesday? Look in the Dumfries Advertisement, and see what day answers for the steam. Arrived in Liverpool, write to me; I will meet you with the Gig at Ecclefechan, Annan or even Carlisle. At Carlisle, I believe, there is apt to be some possibility of a kind of hank[entanglement] about getting right on by the Mail, if there be too many applicants. The Steamer cabin is now 12/; but in the fairest weather I do not advise you to try such a rig again.— And so, Ducky, is not this all? Your next Letter will say on what day you are coming. I ought to add as Nota Bene [Mark well] that this Newby Cottage is not yet absolutely got; it is only offered for; and the man may let it to another, if any other apply for it on a longer lease than ours. But that I do not reckon likely.

And now, adieu, and no words more, but start to pack! I wish I had seen Sterling8 and Cavaignac. Is there no hope of Cavaignac's staying till I return? Give my regrets and remembrances to both, in your kindest style.— I too should not care if they printed Mazzini's Article: the sentiment collectif is certainly not alive in me,—for I have never found any but charlatans more or less decided, and egoists, and heretical fanatics, to make any collectivity out of in these days; with none of whom could a poor man like me collect or unite! Give my kind remembrances to poor Giuseppe nevertheless: I love him in spite of all his “Progress of the Species,” and Lamennais “small beer struck with lightning”!9

You may tell Darwin the distance from Tynemouth to Annan by miles is some 87; by hours is some 6½, a sixty of the miles being railway ones.

Enough now. I have John to write to, and Jean.

Yours ever /

T. Carlyle

“Miss Brown”10 (do you remember her?), the unfortunate woman, has arrived here two days ago, on a visit. Nothing ever was much more inopportune. But she stays down stairs: this lock of mine is sacred. On espère qu'elle s'en ira [One hopes that she will go].

Today the world is bright as emerald and silver: the weather promises now to be beautiful