The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 11 September 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410911-TC-JWC-01; CL 13: 251-252


Scotsbrig, Saturday morning [11 September 1841].

Dear Jeannie,

Your Letter came last night, thro' the pouring rain; your other Letter also got to Keswick on the afternoon before my setting off; that is, a few hours after I had written. Thanks to you.— I got well home; the good Spedding1 conveying me 12 miles, in spite of weather and too early hours, in his gig, to intercept my lumbering Coach: he is the kindest of men, and one of the sensiblest I have seen for years; a far better judgement and deeper eyesight than his Brother,2 who produces himself much more. I looked at Carlisle Cathedral, at Carlisle Castle; after infinite fiddling, got at last on a Coach; Alick and Jamie were waiting for me at Ecclefechan, and it had all wound itself up well. I had looked into Borrowdale, been on the top of Skiddaw, seen all manner of Marshalls &c that were visible, and so could lie down to sleep in peace. Two wet days of absolute silence, two good sleeps and one not bad, have greatly set me up again; and I am ready for a new enterprise,—that of getting home, I think, as the wisest of all!

I will meet you on Monday at Dumfries; before two o'clock I expect to be heard of at Sister Jean's, who is now better. You will find me there when you come at 3; if, as is likelier, I have not found you before, waiting for you at the Coach. Or perhaps if Mother come with you, you will come in some chaise? Jean's about 2 o'clock is the surest rendezvous I can give you. We ought to start as soon after three as possible. You will find a neat enough little rustic room here with a fire, with a good bed; and none to meddle with you. Poor Jenny keeps herself in the other end of the house, or down stairs: many children float about, but none get admittance here.

As to the weather on Monday: if it should be only showery, we must not mind it at all. If it should prove a streaming all-day deluge, such as we have had often enough, you seeing it so at noon had better not stir: have a line sent down to Jean by the guard of the Coach; and we will consider that the adventure stands over, altogether as before, for the morrow. But I think you will come. And so good luck to poor Goody!

We are waiting here this third day for seasonable weather, my Mother and I to get over to Gill, and consult the Austins about a winter lodging for Jenny. This day, the last possible otherwise, is understood to promise well; and they wait only till I have done writing, to yoke the gig, and let us be off. So enough!—

Miss Sedgwick seems to be the commonplace unwonderful wonder she looked to be. Her impertinences will gratify the reading public; which ought not to blame what it likes and wishes. Our “rather humble way” is a truth, tho' a gigmanic niaiserie [foolishness]. I was not aware that I had “preternaturally bright eyes,”3—the real fact is that owing to bilious and other causes they are rather muddy eyes! “Canaille [Rabble]!” with a grunt, Cavaignac would say.—— Enough now, dear Jeannie, Goody.

Thine always /

T. Carlyle