August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 16 August 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420816-TC-JWC-01; CL 15: 21-23


Chelsea, Tuesday 16 Augt / 1842—

My Dearest,

Thanks as ever for your dear little Letter, for the good news you send me;—and pardon that ugly mass of Manuscript,1 which you need not read, unless you have nothing to do. Indeed it will contain nothing new for you; and is a fatuity, little better; but I wanted to have it off my hands for something better: I have hurt all my fingers and thumb in scrawling it, for so many hours: that is the worst ill I have done. Exactly this moment, while the clock strikes four, I have done with it; and must run to some interior town post office,—and not dine till five!—

We go along quite elegantly here: little Jeannie comes down in the morning in a kind of shawl dressing-gown, almost with the air of a little wife, to make coffee to me! I try to get her some kind of walk or walklet in the evening; have no trouble with her at all. Helen's leg is still in an ineffectual state, tho' now superinted2 by John: I think she hurt it one day, the fool, by taking off the dressing altogether. She is a fool. It does seem to be mending, to be doing quite well; but there is a hole, I suppose, and it must have time.

Last night, dinner not yet ended, came Garnier; not half so mad as last time.3 This morning after breakfast, O who do you think should enter? Good old Mr Dobbie of Thornhill! The sight of him made me very sad, cheery and healthy as the old man looked. He had been at Liverpool; had thereupon decided on seeing London too. He has been living, this week past, in Paradise Row, in Gough House, with some Schoolmaster D. D.4 I think whom he knows. Tomorrow he goes to Southampton for some days; and will then give us notice when he comes back. I sent him off to Allan Cunningham, “whose wife he had baptised, in old days.”5 Ah me, the poor old man, and what he comes from—my poor little Jeannie! He made profusion of kind inquiries for you, and whether you had got a Letter he once wrote.

No Letters today, but this scraggy one, very welcome however, for I could get no news of my poor old Mother. I had straitly ordered them to get me the picture of her good old face—alas, alas, she is sad to me, almost as if Death had already taken her too: we are parted for this Earth, and cannot be more together: the stern Lord of Time has said it, and will be obeyed.

By the bye, if you like you may forward this Netherlands Tour to her address: “Mrs James Aitken, English Street, Dumfries N.B.” I partly meant them to get a trial at the reading of it, and promised it accordingly. But not unless you like.

No news from Lancashire for me today yet. I believe this day is the anniversary of Peterloo, and they are keeping that at Manchester. It seems to be the strangest insurrection in the world: no violence, all collision with Authority avoided; only “we will work no more till we see a fair day's wages for a fair days work,—till we see the Charter, which alone can secure us that!”6

Jeannie goes to dine in Stimabiledom, “to meet the Maurices.”7 À la bonne heure [Well and good].

I add no other word but my heart's blessing

Ever thine /

T. Carlyle