January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 25 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420425-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 164-166


Scotsbrig, 25 April, 1842—

Dearest,—I date still from Scotsbrig, not from Thornhill as I yesternight expected to have done. My sleep—O that weary unmanageable sleep!—again proved unprosperous: I made out but some three hours of it; and on awakening found myself in such a state of nerves as rendered Thornhill and complex irritating negociations a very questionable outlook. Having made no special engagement with any one, I put Jamie's gig-horse to potatoe-harrowing, and myself to a new double-dose of drug stuff, and another day of somnolent Donothingism here. Tomorrow morning I can hope to be in much better case; tomorrow morning I must go at any rate. It is a most consolatory feeling to me, the hope that I shall then get done. God send it: I am perfectly weary of Dukes and Dukery. Seldom before in this world was I so hemmed in with packthreads and cobwebs; reduced to a pause among obstacles that looked so entirely paltry. The Morton Miller1 I fancy to be a bit of a jockey withal; but we shall see. The whole of them are of a tribe which I am thankful to Heaven I have no kindred with. The sordid jannering canaille [chattering rabble]!

Today I have looked over the Adamson Papers; a most wae [sad] business, here and there: I have read some pages of an old Josephus;2 slept four hours, more or less, amid all manner of noises, on the old sofa; dined on hen soup: and now sunset having come, and no postboy (according to arrangement yesterday), I think I may as well walk over with this to Ecclefechan myself. It is the night correspondent to the London Sunday; so no Letters are to be expected, at least none that I care about.— On Wednesday evening, if possible, at farthest on Thursday I hope to be back, and all these burbles cut or unravelled; in some reasonable way, finished. After that, by some route or other: Homeward ho! I am in all ways totally grown an alien in this region now. It is pity; but it is fate,—how can I help it?

About this hour the two wardrobe keys (with much else!) will be whirling thro' terrestrial space, perhaps somewhere about the Town of Stafford. I do hope they will get to you before the railway van arrives: indeed I think they will; but I ought to have made sure by sending them the day before. You must take out all the wardrobe drawers: some of them are above a hundredweight, full of linen. Will you put the wardrobe in your room, or where? Up stairs where the green Bed is to be? I am glad of the poor old red chairs. O my poor little Lassie,—and the poor wee chair! It was like to make me weep as it stood yonder at Templand, and so much had come and gone since it was occupied! But we must accept the evil of this world not along with the good only but as portion of the good: a world whose deepest basis is TIME, that is to say, is Death, Change and all manner of Sorrow. Joy, what we call joy, cannot continue here. God is Great!———

Fuz never writes to me: I suppose his new “business” ought to be something relating to the Heroes volume, which I look to see coming out now,—with money in the tail of it. The Fraser Executors have dishonoured a small bill of £8, which Emerson had accepted from their Boston Bookseller instead of money for me.3 To me it does no ill at all, tho' perhaps the poor people expect that it would. I merely return it to the Boston Booksellers, and say: “My cash, gentlemen!” This I have already done.— Fuz has made no answer about his Dickens copyright business either.4 So much the better. He is, as you say, a considerable of a goose.

Tomorrow, if I can, I will send you another bit of empty writing: I hope to exchange all that soon for empty or pregnant talking, and find my poor Jeannie not so ill as I sometimes fear! Adieu, my dear Wife: all good be with thee.— Ever affectionately T. C.