January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 11 March 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420311-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 67-69


Templand, Friday 11 March —1842—

Dear little Wife,—Here is another mournful little duty thou must do: Robert M'Queen is going off to Crawford1 on Monday, and I will set him on superintending this matter while there. We want the day of your Father's death;2 which you can insert at the blank space, and so return the paper, if you approve of the wording of it. Your uncle says your name should be Jean, like your Aunt's and Grandmother's: he approves of the rest: I strike out “frail,” as better spared.

The day is again a tempest of wet. I have got all your uncle's expenditures, household and everything else (not without difficulty), and they are all ready for paying when I get down with him to Dumfries on Monday. He has been very kind, manful and considerate; his feelings doubtless are sad enough too, but he stands out like a rock, and yields very seldom to any shew of emotion.— He has absolutely refused to have any concern with the furniture here; says it was no longer his at all &c.— The people are here (M'Caig and another) even now, “valuing” for the tax-gatherer's sake:3 so soon as they are gone, Mrs Martin and Helen will finish their packing, and lock everything up. There is a box of “plate”; all well and carefully packed: had I not better send that up to you at once? Mrs Martin talks of going tomorrow if it prove fair.

I am dreadfully sad in the mornings, before I get up and some kind of work or endeavour after work fallen to. One has to look at the black enemy steadily, and contemplate him, in solitude, for oneself. All sorrow is an enemy; but it carries a friend's message within it too. O my poor Jeannie, all Life is as Death, and the Tree Igdrasil4 which reaches up to Heaven, goes down to the Kingdoms of Hela, and God (the Everlasting GOOD and JUST) is in it all.— We have no words for these things, we are to be silent about them; yet they are true, forever true.

I had a very poor letter this morning from Jeffrey, who says he has written to you.5 I will by no means forget Cavaignac. I have given Mrs Martin the two pictures of Stevenson (so like your uncle) and of the Duke of Wellington. The large oil-painting of Cousin Jeannie as a child, I thought of giving to her, as likely to be interesting when she grew older; but they say she does not value it: is that so?6——— Johnnie and Walter are gone to Thornhill in expectation of some Letter from Liverpool, and do not return on account of a new outbreak of rain. I will wait till they do get back and then close.———

Wa[l]ter7 and John are returned (3 o'clock, the rain still continuing): the report from Liverpool is good as to my poor Jeannie's health; but she is “sad, very sad”: ah yes,—who can bid her not be sad! It is a sore stroke that has fallen; the sorest that can fall.

A little Boy is here waiting to take the Letters; I must end without more words.

M'Caig is gone, will report tomorrow. The likeliest way of settling here seems to be that the Tenant of the ground may get the Duke's people to accept him, may take the house too, and so we to bid it farewell.

My dear Partner, endeavour to still all feelings that can end in no action; compose thy poor little heart, and say tho' with tears, God's will be done.

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle