August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 22 August 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430822-TC-JWC-01; CL 17: 75-78


Scotsbrig, 22 Augut1 (Tuesday Evg, 1843—

Dear Goody, this evening your Letter has come; and a Boy being bound to Ecclefechan with a Horse to shoe tomorrow morning early there will, if he and all parties do their duty, still [be]2 time for a word to reach you on Thursday morning. The Monday people had failed somewhere; an insignificant Note written in full time for that post went over by the Tailor; probably he, the ninth-part of a human messenger,3 was in fault. I have written again since that. Tonight I got your Letter myself at Ecclefechan; being out with my Mother on a showery drive. She is always willing to go, poor body, and it does her good; she has a wonderful heartiness of nature still left; has suffered and struggled much, and still hopes and lives. Thank God, for that among other mercies, denied to many worthier than I! Old age is not joyful; but there is sometimes a strange sad beauty in it:—all true things are beautiful each in its kind.

Surely my Dame did well in comforting poor Garnier; nay even it would seem in restoring him to sanity from insane! I know not what his project of Schools is, for I cannot yet read your cardinal word there:4 but the business is not like to be of much practical result; I rejoice much more in the improved aspect of German economics for the poor Garnier,—a wild man better than many a tame one. Somebody told me lately (I cannot at this moment guess who) that he had broken with the Allgemeine Zeitung5 people in the most disastrous manner, having involved them in a fatal calumny and platitude both in one about Lord Stuart de Rothsay.6 Let us pity the poor mad man.7

Adamson writes to me tonight to sign “the call” for some Intrusion Parson to Dunscore in room of poor Bryden:8 I have answered that I am myself a kind of favourer of Non-Intrusionism, and cannot. I forgave the brute M'Adam ten pounds of his rent;9 in spite of his provocations I found on inquiry that it would be just, and it is done. Poor biped, he has his own toils waiting upon quadrupeds in these times! Five-and-thirty shillings for five harvest weeks were the common wages for a complete harvest man at Lockerby Fair; “such wages as were never heard of before,” says Jamie, “Since I kenned the woral.” Jamie pays his own man, last year['s] wages, five-and-forty: “Folk think,” he says, they will make it a'right by screwing doon thae puir craturs.” He is a good fellow Jamie; he was greatly flattered by your salutation,10 the shadow of which I duly communicated to him; making him blush up to the eyes. He has a somewhat heavy burden, and bears it well.

Certainly I will send something to Macready: but up to this moment I can think of nobody worth knowing but Emerson and perhaps Greig. I will at least write a Note to himself one of these very days. The Yankees are fading altogether out of my mind since I left home; and I reflect now that except from Emerson alone I never got much but boring from any soul of them; that Emerson himself seems half in danger of melting into one knows not what deliquium;—that if America were to think of me no more till Doomsday, it would “probably be just as well.” Go to the Macready women by all means, and comfort them about “William.” William is really a man of worth; might put many a higher man to shame in these days. May he find a Bible, and read it!

We have got our old confusion of rain again after the thunder. All is wet and bleak, with a cold bleared wind even when the rain is done, and big ugly clouds sailing about in a sky of ominous paleness. Otherwise I had meant for Dumfries today, and Craigenputtoch; to have that off my hands. Tomorrow, as Wednesday, it seems, will not do for Dumfries: at any rate there is small probability of fair weather. Thursday, Friday and Saturday would still do for the expedition. You may rely on it, poor old Mary shall not be forgotten!— Happily no M'Kinnons (Hawick cousins) have arrived here tonight: the expectation now is that they will not come till they are asked, and we are gone. No news from Kirkcaldy; that affair is rapidly getting beyond the hog's-score.11 I have written to Spedding that on Monday next I will either decide on coming and name my day, or else abandon the project. Time is rushing on,—the time for sleeping is about done.

My dear wife, you are very sad;—nor is it any wonder, busied as you are at this time! My dear little Jeannie,—ah me! We shall go to them, they will not return to us.12 That is the stern fact; stern yet most beneficient. What were it if we had to stay here always! Forward, forward: the Eternity they dwell in is also dimly round us. God is their Governor as ours.—

I can write no more at present; it is past supper-time; it is bedtime, and this room is Jack's, not mine. I wish thee from my heart a blessing and good-night. Courage, my brave little woman; we have gone a long way together now, and rough road it was; and we will wander on together fearless to the end of it. I believe God Almighty is Just! Shall he not do all things well?13 Adieu, my own Dearest!

T. C.