January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 17 March 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420317-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 74-75


Scotsbrig, Thursday, 16 [17] March 1842—

My dear Wife,—I yesternight promised you a longer Note for today; and today they are all about me, and the afternoon is wet and keeps all within doors, so that I have no means to write. Indeed, as to business of any kind, there is yet nothing more to be written. I send you a small word, to prove that I am still here, still thinking of you and feeling for you. My poor little Jeannie: we are all spectators merely in comparison with her! None of us but she have lost a Mother: a kind friend with manifold claims on our love and remembrance has been sorrowfully taken from us all; but my poor Jeannie alone has had her heart torn asunder with a loss that can never in this world be replaced. God is great: there does come solacement assuagement to all; but that is a wound which can never be altogether healed.

To-day I have been at Burnswark with Jamie: poor Grahame is not there, he has been very sickly, sorrowful and dispirited, all winter, and is gone now to Glasgow for a few weeks, to try if the face of old friends will brighten him a little. I will take care to have the Picture conveyed to him;1 it will be in good hands. His establishment today was the image of dreary melancholy; damp, desolate, silent poor. Life is not made of soft stuff for us, but of hard.

Your Uncle, before quitting Templand, seemed to have little wish for any farther connexion with it whatever. I pointed out to him the ease with which, by Peggy Hiddleston's means, it could be retained for them as a summer residence: if you, on farther examining, can trace any definite wish in him that way, you must inform me directly, and I could set about so ordering the business. Otherwise I must straightway proceed to get a bargain made with the present tenant of the ground, or with another, and in some way get the matter put if possible entirely off my hands, and such articles as you have no value for changed into money. To me it will be one of the mournfullest scenes2 and I can well believe my poor Jeannie wishes never to look upon it again. I understand it takes some three weeks to give proper notification &c; in about three weeks I might have it settled, and be making for London again. I do not dislike a kind of fellowship with the Dead for that length of time: it is very mournful almost awful, but it is wholesome useful for me. It is towards Eternity that we are all bound; it is in Eternity that we already all live: and awful Death itself is but another phasis of Life which also is awful,—fearful and wonderful, reaching to Heaven and to Hell! Ah me, one feels in those moments first of all, how beggarly almost insulting to one are all words whatsoever, where such a thing lies there arrived and visible.— Enough, enough.

I am to return by Dumfries, I expect, tomorrow. My Mother is lamenting much that she did not go to Templand while at Dumfries in the winter: she is earnest to hear how you are; and feels, I dare say, how in the course of Nature it was mine to have suffered rather than you in this case.3 The day and the hour knoweth no man.4

I expect a Letter from you at Thornhill on Saturday morning or earlier. They wished and hoped you would “stay a week or two” with them, but I suppose that to be very unlikely. Adieu dear sorrowing Jeannie: God be with thee always. Thy affectionate