January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 1 May 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420501-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 175-176


Scotsbrig, 1 May, 1842—

Dearest,—I am very wae for you, battling away there with so many sorrowful confusions, and a miserable headache to aggravate all! You will be at it again tomorrow morning; you will fight along, and it will end itself.

Those drawers you speak of were my doing, poor Wull Fingland fetching and carrying for me. I wish you could tell me the glass and crockery were all safe! M'Caig had sole charge of that, after Helen and Mrs Martin; and with the wardrobe, which also was all his and his man's, he seems to have prospered ill. The drawers of the old Desk are not locked; pull, and they will come out: there was no key, and had been none, for anything but the top-leaf or lid. So far as I recollect there was little in those drawers, except somewhere the new stair-carpet. You will find all things, as I predicted, in a terrible huddle, one portion here another there: I never in my life saw such a tumult. M'Caig knows little seemingly even about his own branch of packing, nothing at all about any other; and is a languid helpless kind of man.— Of Bibles there were two, beside the little one that has come to you: an old quarto Caplegill1 Bible which I gave your Uncle; a larger finer quarto that had been given by Mr Bradfute2 (this is the one I think you mean); this too went to Liverpool,—a line of writing in her hand assigned it to Cousin Jeannie. No other Bible came to light: none was sold, or otherwise sent irrevocably from us.— I hope to hear on Tuesday evening that you have got fairly thro' the business, better or worse.

A Steamer does sail from Annan on Wednesday morning at 6 o'clock, a most untowardly hour for me. By this nevertheless I mean to go. On Wednesday evening, at latest on Thursday morning, a Letter may find me in Maryland Street. I think of writing to warn them. Perhaps I may go round by Manchester, and see Geraldine, Ker, Ballantyne and Prentice;3 I even think of writing tomorrow to Rugby to tell Arnold that I pass his place and could stay a night with him, and speak radicalism, and see the Field of Naseby Fight:4 so adventurous am I! For I really do want to get the dust blown out of me a little, and speak a few civilized words before appearing in the Metropolis again! We shall see in what mood we are; I am insomnolent still, and a fair distance off the average state. But my utter Donothingism in these days does begin to press heavy on my conscience; I should regard active speaking even as a favourable change. Alas, I have this evening been up to take leave of poor old Grahame; a man of much worth to me always, but whose speech is of cattle!5 I have not even read since I came hither; I feel as if the mind of me were a poor scraggy bog upon which there had been cast ashes and the sweepings of highways: any remnants of grass that there are get doubly and trebly impatient to be up again, above ground, in the character of real grass, were it only bog grass. Patience,—and still more Diligence along with that! We shall see what comes of it all.

Alick and Jenny are here tonight; waiting in the other end of the house (my Mother's end) till this be done. I have also to write to Annan for a more precise account of the Steamer's hour. Adieu, my dear Wife. Be as well as thou canst when I come back!— Thine always

T. Carlyle—