August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 9 August 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430809-TC-JWC-01; CL 17: 28-30


Scotsbrig, Wednesday 9 Augt, 1843

Dear Goody Coadjutor,

There is a bright Day come out of Heaven this time; and all lies green and azure, bright as sapphire and emeralds, a real enlightenment to the soul of man! I have written various of my Letters, to Robertson among others; and begun to stir among my rubbish again, and feel some slight determination to have it put in order if I can.

No Letter from thee last night, thou Graceless! Well, I did not deserve any. I scribble as usual; the rather as, if tomorrow prove bright, I shall be off to Dumfries, and there will be a gap for once; who knows if not a gap for two days running. I have various confused things to settle and manage at Dumfries, and there is small convenience for writing there. Last night instead of a Letter from Goody, there arrived, unpaid, this horrid mass of vocables from W. Grahame, which now for thy sins I doom thee also to read:—no, I will not; I will retain the document for pipe-matches, remembering what the infirmity of female human nature is! Poor Grahame is in the worst of situations, and seemingly quite broken down in spirits: poor fellow; yet with an insatiable appetite for human converse, such is still his noble trust in his brethren of the sons of men. A true nobleness of mind; yet to me a dreadfully wearisome one at present. Jamie and I had decided that we were to walk up to him this evening, seeing the weather dry: but since that, the Austins, Mary, Jamie and two children have arrived; there will be no adventure of that kind for tonight. I will have a long drive in the Gig with my Mother,—my poor old Mother is not at all well: a sight of God's green world, capped once more with its dome of eternal Blue, will be useful to us both. Poor body, she has reconciled herself to Alick's waygoing; the hearts of all good men reconcile themselves soon to the irrevocable, inevitable. Some of Jamie's details about the matter are very striking to me. Jenny, on stepping into the hackney-coach that was to take them down to the ship, broke thro' the bottom of it; the old wreck was fated to ruin under her! Little Jane looked extremely agitated; kept her eyes “fixed on me” (says Jamie), so long as she was in sight. Tom, on the other hand, who has wonderfully developed himself last year, and promises to be a “clever boy,” lay down on his side and elbow on a box on deck, and looked unconcerned about him. Alick was firm as iron;—poor toil-worn, heavyladen, embroiled bewildered Brother, may God be guide to thee!1

In one of the Newspapers you sent last night is a long address of George Rennie's to Scotch Farmers, inciting them to emigrate with him to “New Edinburgh.” The Address is well enough, not too well; the adventure, under such auspices, seemed to me a little questionable! May it prove otherwise. Poor Rennie too, driven hither and thither by demons, of ambition, impatience and such like, is not without deservings, and has suffered much. One wishes he also could “find his work and do it.”2 The danger is, his violent egoistic temper; that government of his will require a “heroic patience,” I think, at the basis of all: true insight, or any heroic thing, is not to be had otherwise.3

The Austins are “behind with their rent,” as nearly all men and farmers are. For the rest, healthy, fresh, “wise-like.” Poor Mary looks hard-worked, worn, but does not complain of anything. She would send you a thousand regards if she knew I was writing.— The poor Wife of the Purdhamston farmer (Ritchie4) died three weeks ago, suddenly, after childbirth, and has left the poor awkward man disconsolate, alone in his pilgrimage. There is tragedy everywhere, the fifth-act of tragedy! Adieu, Dearest. Be good and wise, and fail not to write to me. Thine ever

T. C.