January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 11 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420411-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 140-142


Templand, Monday (2 o'clock) 11 April, 1842

My Dearest,—You are abundantly kind to me; kinder far than I deserve! Alas, the kindest thing I could ask you to do for me at present, if it but lay in your power, would be to get well again, and be somewhat rallied and composed when, after all these tragic confusions, I get back to you again!

Your next Letter will come on Wednesday, when already M'Caig and we are in the thick tumult of packing. The next after that will find me setting out for Crawford:—what a contrast; the mean final uproar here, and the still, great, eternal side of the scene yonder. I like to end it in that way rather than another. In sorrow itself, mere sorrow for the honourably Departed, there is something of greatness, of divineness, that renders it supportable. The rest too will pass; I have but some 3 or 4 days of it now, and then it is ended.

Already this forenoon I have gone thro' one stage of it. The Auctioneer has been here with his list-papers; I have, ever since breakfast, been measuring carpets, specifying things reserved, &c, &c: the man is just gone; I have left my Mother reading down stairs. To add to our confusions, James Aitken arrived this morning at breakfast on his way to Sanquhar,1 and about two hours afterwards Robt M'Queen. Jamie Aitken is coming back, and is to take my Mother down with him: Robt returns from Thornhill for dinner: I shall have them all off again at night; and my own thought to myself,—for the last time here.— These old chairs and sofa still hang in the balance; the freight to Liverpool is quite unexpectedly heavy; the articles too are certain of them beginning to get frail,—and we have already, I doubt, beyond a cart-load; I have for the present decided that I will set these items out to sale, and have them bought in again, if they do not reach a certain price,—cost of 10/ each at Chelsea. To give more for them, as far as I can judge, would not be rational. Poor Auntie's old mirror shall come, and be mine; it is an ancient narrow high one (if I judge rightly, in the room next the green one), and has faded gilding about the sides. Little bits of carpet Jenny and Jean both want: I will employ somebody to buy in any cheap little piece that will suit for that purpose. I send the poor straw-bonnet to Mary today, with Cottagers of Glenburnie; to Jenny go Grace Darling and the Trials of Margt Lindsay: Jean has another Book in two volumes called Evelina (I think). The Logan, Kameses (2 of Kames), old Thomson's Seasons, Ossian &c I retain. A beautifully bound Evidences of Christianity I send to Walter Welsh.2 Her Prayer-book, Pocket-Bible &c are of course yours. Nearly all the Books here were either retained or given away; there remained nothing but some fractionary wreck for sale; and as the man had advertised “a large quantity of books,” I had to send for a Box from Scotsbrig, which also are come: all are now tied into lots and labelled. The Pictures, of no value except the Cottar's S. night,3 are all to come to you.

Tomorrow we must strip off the Carpets; all the things that are to go must be put into a separate room, and locked. On the Thursday there is also to be a commissariat attended to; people “that had any connexion” asked in to get some refreshment: this I will trust to R. M'Queen, having first left sufficiently the wherewithal: a cold roast leg of mutton, a round of beef if I can get it at Dumfries: I lay strict charges that in the terminating of this household there be nothing visible that corresponds not with the spirit in which it was always kept.

Why do I trouble my poor Jeannie with all those things? Truly there is no reason, no profit in so doing. But “out of the abundance of the heart,”4 the pen writeth;—I am quite full of these matters at present.— — R. M'Queen is now back from Thornhill, I hear; Margaret will be swiftly following with her “scrap-dinner”; and a good bread pudding to back it. I must hasten to conclude. My Mother too has come up to me; looking very melancholy and weary.

Last night I wrote to Walter; a Note also [to]5 Richard Milnes: he has named me, I find, in his Copyright speech.6 Satan Montgomery is cut into chopped straw in todays Times: served him right.7 John is surely not gone to France; I had a newspaper from him in the end of the week.— I meant to write some day a word to John Mill; perhaps I shall get it done tonight.

The poor violets are out today; I send you a few flowers of them. Mrs Russell was instructed to come another time (the third it will be, I think), and take away whatsoever thing she had value for. The poor Garden still clean, but all beginning to bud, and not likely to be clean long is sad as a sepulchre to me: I am really in haste to take farewell of it; to say: “Serve others, thou poor bit of earth; her thou hast served to the end, she tended thee well. Thou endurest forever; she too—tho' now far away from thee. Adieu!”

Mary Mills is to get the old Kitchen bed, bedding and blankets; so Helen had ordered; wisely. The blankets &c are all sorted: none do remain to be sold, except some 6 or seven pairs of old Scotch. The sheets &c of course I wholly keep: the coverlids are still locked up in the wardrobe;—they are not napery? I will look thro' them and decide before Wednesday.

Dearest, I am merely chattering: why should I scribble farther? I will send my love to Cousin Jeannie, and close.— Do you take a glass of port then? The wine sent from Leith is very good too, I imagine: the same most probably as they have here, which your Uncle sanctioned my approval of. A glass of it is really beneficial, I think. And what weather must yours be, that will not let you out! Go out, both of you! I am glad of your new driver. Adieu, Dearest; no clash [idle gossip] can be weaker than this,—better to thee however than Silence. Adieu. My Mother sends her aged blessing.

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle