January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 28 March 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420328-TC-JAC-01; CL 14: 102-104


Templand, Monday Night, 28 March, 1842—

My dear Brother,

Thanks for your kind little Note,1 thanks for your cigars; which arrived this morning before breakfast. I had a Letter too from Emerson in America,2 conveying the melancholy news that he had lost his eldest child, a very fine boy of five years. His affliction is evidently great.— There was inclosed in the same Letters (for in fact two Letters came, both of the same date) a couple of draughts for about £56,—one of them for a small sum of £8 was drawn on the “Executors of James Fraser.” Perhaps I may trouble you farther about that. Or perhaps they may be able to settle it at Dumfries; whither I am bound tomorrow, on a multiplicty of sorry affairs.

Negociations go on at a dreadfully slow rate here: I have had a “Memorial” to make out to your Duke before I could be allowed to dispose of the small Lease of Templand here: I am minded to give up House, Lease and all to the present subtenant3 of the lands, whom I thought an industrious hardworking man, and made a really beneficent offer to, of letting him have the whole for £100 ready-money, instead of a rent of £15 for 14 years: the man proves a greedy pigheaded piece of obstinate absurdity, who might almost tempt me to draw back again. The disgust he inspires me with must not smother my true feelings of pity for him. Then there is an Auctioneer, whom I think to see tomorrow, before setting out; for I cannot haggle longer with these pigheaded rustics; I must proceed, on the faith that the Duke's permission will come. Then there are packers, and carriers of ‘several’ things for London. Then there is the dreary business of Craigenputtoch,—to be attacked tomorrow and next day. Ay de mi! But in some three weeks or less, I hope to be thro' it all: there is no course but to plunge on. I find I should like “business” now terribly ill. My whole mind is grown indolent, impatient of these small, most measurable things. Nay I am ashamed to see how indolent even in thought I have been for some years; how much I have left lying in me like a mere stagnant sea of emotions; never struggling adequately to change it into thought.

My life for the last eight days has been of the most perfect solitude: very sad, but not a morose sadness; wholesome, I think, and not without a kind of blessedness. This House, all vacant except of memories, all silent except for winds, is like a kind of solemn Hades to me; the whole world is little other than a Hades. The weather is oftenest bad, but it is weather, not smoke-confusion and city-dirt: the sun bursts out at intervals, with the Durisdeer Hills all new-powdered, grey-white with snow; I hear the rooks among the woods, the voice of rivers rushing near and far,—and all is full of impressiveness and meaning to me.

There was a speculation on my Mother's part about coming up hither; but I fear it would be very wearisome to her. There was nothing mentioned of it in a short Note Jamie sen[t] me since I wrote last. We shall see. I know not whether such an opportunity to have her near me will soon lie in my way again. Ah me!—

Today I was in Thornhill, and got no other walking, the rain coming on. I saw the Russels and others; their little rural existence looks singular, almost touching to me. The people here are very poor; next door to Annandale, not quite Annandale: these Dukes and Drakes will make a precious business of it by and by!4

Poor Jane seems still extremely weak. I await your next Bulletin of her with anxiety. Go and see her as often as you can, comfort her as you can.5 She has had a right sore loss. Adieu my dear Brother: I hope we shall meet again before long. Your affectionate T. Carlyle

The cigars seem excellent, tho' I have not tried them yet except by the eye. I brought two dozen cubas with me from Liverpool, not so bad, part of which still remain. No right pipes here!