January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 29 March 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420329-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 104-106


Templand, Tuesday, 29 March 1842—

Dearest,—Take a word today too, before I go away. The weather is grim, blustery, but dry; I must go at half-past two or at four. I shall hardly be back till Thursday.

The poor violets I am afraid are hardly out; indeed I am not quite sure that those little blue things are they, but there is nothing else here of a violet colour. These have got so far under the shelter of one of the laurel bushes. Our rude wind blue1 down the westernmost of the two big hollies at the crossing of the walks; I have mended it as my strength could, till more strength arrive; it will still grow its time. These red flowers are the only perfect ones. Poor flowers!—

Today the little chair for Scotsbrig being to go over, I have directed old Mary to accompany and convey at the same time all the flower-pots in the window at the stairhead to Mrs Russell; the old bronzed stucco urns that were once ours and now stand on the sideboard are to go to her at the same time. It seems to me not impossible that the drawing-room fire-screens may be got packed somewhere about the sideboard; we will wait till we see. I have sent the smaller of the two Pictures to Mrs M'Veagh, the one I think called three generations; it was easier for old Mary to carry: the resemblance of the child to you was not visible to me. Cousin Johnny's2 picture is already either in Liverpool or London; I think they gave it to himself. I know not yet what memorial to get for Jean and for Mary; but I shall find something. I have given a poor Boy of Dr Russell's,3 whom she liked, who staid here three nights when one of her miserable servants failed, a Tardy's Dictionary and an old Livy;4 I remembered the Tardy, but thought a charitable orphan heart best deserved it.

I have had the Letter-cutter here this morning, and given him minute instructions; he is to have the Inscription done on Saturday night come a week, and to bring me Cranston the Innkeeper's5 certificate. I have also had another man. I begin again to hope that in about two weeks more I may have all things done.

In the drawing room, I perceive, are two Tables; one a round or oval (very like the down-stairs one at Chelsea), the other a smallish square one that stands under the hanging book-shelves. Which of these? I sent one of the four-footed stools along with the little chair to my Mother. Have you any use at all for these dining-room window-curtains? It seems they do not go with the house; they are of blue glazed cotton, and appropriate where they are: if I knew what to buy them in again at—?— Or on the whole why trouble you with I shall have M'Caig's List at my return; I will mark out whatever is not to be sold in that,—and endeavour to get more perfectly by heart the things here; which hitherto I cannot yet perfectly do.

What becomes of you my poor Wife? Can you read anything within doors in your seclusion? Let not the day pass with you in sad thoughts alone! Friends do not yet know that you will see anybody, or perhaps more than enough of them were about you. Would you not like to see Mrs Jameson? The Sterlings are far off; but indeed in them is not much resource,—except their kindness, which even in old Sterling is very genuine.

I have written to T. Spedding and to Lockhart; I think of writing again to Thomas Erskine: in the long evenings, when there is not moonlight for a walk, I write somewhat, or read old wrecks of books: my very sadness and vacancy is profitable to me. Let us look our miseries in the face, the truth in the face, however miserable. Man was not made to be wretched; it is his own fault if his Life be not great and glorious however full of toils and tears. Adieu my poor dear orphaned one. I am thine ever

T. Carlyle

Love to Cousin Jeannie, and tell her to mind the sun and the Fly into Kent and Dulwich— They announce James Menteith;6 I wish he had chosen another time!