candlestick

January-July 1842


The Collected Letters, Volume 14


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


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE

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