January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 6 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420406-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 126-127


Templand, Wednesday, 6 April 1842—

My dear Wife,— No letter from you today; only the two Newspapers without any stroke: I hope it does not mean that you are weaker than usual! At bottom there is no reason to think so, but I am in a mood today for catching up any alarm. Tomorrow I trust there will be some word for me.

From Scotsbrig nobody comes, nor so much as the shortest word or whisper. A penny stamp and a crumb of paper incite all men to be punctual in sending whatsoever bears the semblance of message or needful announcement! It is possible my Mother might arrive tonight or any evening: she, poor woman, will be most ready, but the delay depends on some other.

My days of quiet here, my last days, are rapidly ebbing away. No stiller existence is led under the Sun at present. The Day beautiful; all things of a beauty, a peace and a sadness to touch one's heart. Till your final return of the List (day after tomorrow) I do almost nothing, in the way of assortment here: on Saturday, and then finally on Monday, I must be entirely alive and decide on innumerable items, with the Auctioneer taking his inventory beside me, and the Packer in the rear of him. They will be three horrid days. I purpose to get Jamie of Scotsbrig or Jamie Aitken, probably both, to take my place here on the Thursday;—that day I will take myself away somewhither; that night there will no longer be a lodging for me here: all will have ended here.

Today I had a visit again from the Widow Steele; whom I swiftly got rid of: it was more compliments, reports of “Morton Mill” &c &c. I think I shall go and see Hunter again tomorrow or next day; I want (in anticipation that the Duke's answer will come) to have all in a state for terminating itself before the Thursday arrive. It is I that am driving everything forward. I might have waited longer; but not without something definite to do; and that was not worth contriving for all the time I could have staid.

Not long afternoon I set forth to make my call on Menteath: not at home, once more,—to my hearty satisfaction. I strolled slowly, deviously, thro' the Park towards the Old Castle, among the rooks and field birds, in the beautiful still sunshine; I even lay down upon a bank, and looked my fill at it— Queen Victory's crown-jewels and drawing-rooms are but a twopenny bauble in comparison. My beautiful divine old mother EARTH—“Godlike, or God,” as Richter says!1— Slowly strolling, for the sun was absolutely too hot for me, I called on the old Mundells. A fire in the drawingroom; revd Mr This and also revd Mr That coming to dine, I must absolutely must stay &c &c. Mrs Mundell was distinctly ill-bred in pressing of me; we made a really awkward bungle of it by way of finale, for in the lobby or in the very doorway I met the revd Mr This and Mr That and had to disregard all hints and signals and not turn back and be introduced to them!— The poor old Dr. is very deaf; one can make next to nothing of him. He gave me his Anti-Nonintrusionisms2 (very violent little platitudes, rhymed and prose, printed on some 5 small slips of paper), and I came my ways.

All this day, and all days this week, I think of the workmen in Crawford Churchyard. Perhaps it will be on the Thursday that I go thither. Patience, Courage, my poor Darling!—

Walter sent me the inclosed Note yesternight. Along with it lay that yeast-bottle of evangelism, Dandyism, hungry vanity and vacuity from Satan Montgomery. Yet my Note was only civil, and studiously written before reading his Book.3 Poor fellow, I must and can make no answer farther at present.—— Margaret has entered a few minutes ago with tea. Blessings with thee my poor Little Wife!

Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle