The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 20 August 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410820-TC-JAC-01; CL 13: 220-221


Newby, 20 August, 1841—

My dear Brother,

The second of your unacknowledged parcels of cigars1 has just arrived this morning. Thank you kindly for them all. The matches, I feel with my fingers, are in this latter parcel: I am now completely equipt for smoking; my cigar-case full, these two Sussex packages unopened, and one cigar over,—in all, some 37 cigars! I use very few here; but shall find them come in excellent stead if I go to Speddingdom, as seems likely.

Yesternight Jamie came down for Isabella and my Mother, and took them all away after dinner. I know not if I mentioned that on Tuesday last I was to go up again for my Mother, that she might have an additional bathe: I managed that enterprise; brought Jamie and Alick, who had both some business in this quarter, down too,—Jamie riding in the gig with us as far as the Howes;2 both assembling with the general company here at dinner; the whole day going off in busy donothingism, pleasant enough for me. They are all gone now: Alick and his Wife are to come down on Sunday; that will be our last visit, for on the morrow3 we ourselves go away. Mary's eldest lassie has come down again this morning, with milk &c; we propose driving her up again in half an hour, and I write to you in the interim. Our time, which is about done here, has gone along as well as was needful,—in a kind of vagabond style; the fruits of which I expect afterwards. I have lived as it were entirely alone; in company with the Titanic Elements, Spirits of the Water, Earth, Wind and Mud: by no means the worst company. Last night, after dusk, I walked along the River to Annan, then across the Bridge, Smiddie-Brae (once “Trimmie”!) and up the cow holm as far as Gallowbank Pool; in a grey wild wind, in perfect solitude, except for sleeping cows, except three fishers too whose rude Annan voices I heard, busy in their trows4 in the Gallowbank Pool when I arrived. No walk in the world could be more impressive to me. I looked into the Lady Well in passing home again; Annan Street had groups of 'Prentice Lads &c on it, and maid-servants in white aprons. Tom Willison's shop-light was shining far up the street (Beyond Scott's Bank, you remember);5—but Tom himself I suppose is laid long since in the everlasting Night, or the everlasting Day. I said to myself, God is great, and this World of His! Near ten o'clock I was here again.

Our good Mother, still occasionally in great vexation, is pretty well in health, and undoubtedly getting more composed. Jenny, when I saw her on Tuesday morning, did not seem yet to have resolved on any thing: it is better that she take time.— Grahame's sister of Burnswark, Mrs Howatson, is just on the verge of her end;6 in great suffering, poor woman. Nelson I have seen nothing more of; of Stewart yet nothing.7 The other morning we had to witness a Shipwreck: right opposite our windows here, on the Cumberland coast, an American Timbership, in very fine weather, with all sails set, had gone too shallow; and “coupit [capsized],” directly on striking ‘the bank’ It was painfully interesting till the Belfast Steamer, making all way against the rush of the tide, got up and saved the crew, 11 men. The poor Steamer came swashing by in two hours after with a flag at every mast and yard, in token of her joy.8 The wreck lay like a great drowned Leviathan, with limbs broken, for two tides: she then vanished, to the Docks of Port Carlisle I fancy.

Templand is still pretty full of Liverpool people:9 it is very possible I may leave it again on Tuesday, to come up again for Jane. Scotsbrig is the safest address. Adieu for today dear Brother.

Yours ever /

T. C.