January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 20 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420420-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 157-159


Scotsbrig, 20 April, 1842—

My Dearest,—I have fled down stairs to Isabella's room, to be out of the infatuated Grahame, who two hours ago, since I did not come to him, came to me, and is sitting over Luther's Table Talk,1 in a very neglected condition, above! Was there ever such a mortal? He had got a “spicy pamphlet” on the Non-Intrusion Question,2 “written altogether in my style”; which Grierson of Kirkbean3 and all people asserted to be in verity mine! I read a bit of it: my style indeed; the contorsions of the Sibyl; but her inspiration?— We will leave poor Grahame.

I got no Letter from you last night; but a Newspaper with two strokes kept me at peace. I had a Letter, however, from Maxwell the Duke's Chamberlain who has no power: the Duke, fearful of introducing troublesome example into his estates, is obliged to decline granting me the requested liberty in that particular way; but will do what Maxwell thinks will turn out to be equivalent: accept my renunciation of the lease, and pay me for whatever improvements M. shall verify to be due. M. directs me how to proceed: I have proceeded accordingly; I imagine it will turn out all well, tho' with a few days longer delay. M. is very civil, and I have set Hunter to work in the way he suggests. I rejoice greatly in the prospect of getting done with that thing.— Tonight too there will be a letter from you?

My sleep has not yet come well back; and the weather is too sultry for getting exercise conveniently. But the old Shower-bath has veritably had 2 shillings more laid out on it; and after being all in pieces (to get it into the place) is all up again, as right as ever, and I have had a very beneficial swash in it after dinner an hour ago. Shall we not have our own covered with canvas, and free scope to wash ourselves there?—

James Stewart sent down a Boy: tomorrow is Lockerbie Fair, and we cannot meet at Gill; but are to take Friday, and dine in his establishment at Kinmont.4 He is very courteous and obliging this Stewart, and far the sensiblest man I meet in Dumfriesshire.

Have you heard that the Murderer Good was taken up in Dumfries on Monday evening last? It is perfectly true that a man singing ballads on the street, in clothes liker a groom's than a ballad-singer's, and of most sinister aspect, was taken up; and refused to speak one word more or less: the town was in hurlyburly round him as Austin passed thro'; Alick too had seen the same man ballad-singing at Ecclefechan, and Jamie Aitken had met him on the heights of Dalton. It will be curious should it prove he. I read last night for the first time some of the details of that business: one of the horridest I ever heard of; it sticks in one's imagination with a kind of hideous pain. Such a man ought decidedly to be hanged: I think Mazzini himself will hardly undertake the “education” of him. The poor Wife! It is all a hideous tragedy.5

A large bundle of papers from Adamson6 lie here for examining; I must attack them tomorrow. His affairs with me are nearly put in order; but these are the documents of them, which I ought to understand but do not yet. I have, as Mill says, no love in the world for business; and it requires a great struggle to rouse my mind into grappling with it. A man is unhappy whose work is not his pastime too, in a certain sense;—the toil he loves to toil at. Often when I thought of these Dukes £100 and wretched sales by Auction, I have felt tempted to say: Wozu [For what]? And yet a second thought teaches me that had the hundred pounds been a million the essence of the business were all the same,—to finish reason[ab]ly and honourably what was all along reasonably and honourably carried on by them that are now gone to their Eternity and do rest with God: that was the important point! O my Darling, as you say, What has Templand or any other land to do with them? One's soul worships them: blessed are the Dead that die well.——— I will add no more at all tonight, but seal my Letter, and be ready for a twilight walk. Do Jeannie and you really never yet go out? Write me all your little history; your callers, your &c &c. Good be with you both, poor Jeannies. Your affectionate

T. Carlyle