August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 29 August 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460829-TC-JWC-01; CL 21:31-32.


Scotsbrig, Saturday, 29 Augt, 1846—

Dearest, your Letter as usual was long looked for! Yesterday and the day before I had gone to the Post-house myself that there might be no mistake or delay; but in vain; there awaited me mere trivialities instead of what I wanted. At length yesternight, by an occasional conveyance, the little packet did arrive,—very welcome to me, as the best I can get at present. I lie totally inert here, like a dead dry bone, bleaching in the silent sunshine; often enough my feeling of loneliness, of utter isolation in this Universe, is great! Useful I dare say; one requires occasionally to be somewhat severely taught. Abdallah the Vizier used to retire at intervals, and contemplate the wooden clogs he had first started with; and found it do him good amid his vanities.1 Probably there may lie a little more work in me; nay I think there will and shall:—in which case, complaint is not the dialect one should speak in. Courage!—

There seems to be no good outlook towards the Lakes at present, even had your heart towards the enterprise been stronger than it is. Yesterday morning I had that Note from Spedding: childbirth and biliary complaints are not an inviting set of circumstances!2 On the whole I vote that we give up the speculation; that you, as Maryland Street is doing nothing or less than nothing for you, persist in your plan for Chelsea,—by Monday rather than a later day, if all suit. I know not whether you intend to take Cousin Helen with you, or to expect her afterwards; do whatever way you find pleasantest in regard to all that and other things; only be sure you ascertain which is the swift mail train of 7 hours (not of 13, as mine last year!) and go by that. I shall like better to fancy you in Chelsea, earthquaking, and putting all in order, and at least in your own house and own quiet bed, than tumbling about as you now are. Home, therefore, is the word. And remember one thing: to write a little oftener to me. And as near the old tone as you can come before the “spider-webs” got upon the loom at all! In me is no change, nor was, nor is like to be. Alas I do not much deserve to be loved by anybody,—not much or at all: but I am very grateful if anybody will take the trouble to do it. God guide us all; for our pathway is sometimes intricate, and our own insight is now and then very bad! O my dear good little Jeannie—but there will come a day when all that will be intelligible again. I should be miserable if I thought there would not. Again, courage!—

My time here ought evidently now to be extremely brief All is ready; nothing hinders me from going except my own pusillanimity mainly; and I do mean very soon to go. Ireland, not as a hope but as a reproachful unexecuted purpose, still hangs before me. The Lake-country and Portpatrick are out as routes, at least the former is: I ought to choose some other, by Glasgow, Ayr, or whichever it be. In a few days now, some-whither I expect to be upon the route. Probably Dumfries where I have still some tatters of business to do ought to be my first stage. I think you had better address your first Letter thither: Mrs An [Aitken] Assembly Street, Dumfries. If you write on Sunday or even Monday morning I am apt to get it there. You will evidently require some money too: I will send you some the instant I know you are gone towards Chelsea; Darwin or any man with a Banker will be able to help you in getting it, failing your own selfhelp which may suffice.— No Letters except more trash, worse than none of which I inclose you a specimen. I do not answer any of them. When you get to Chelsea you will save me the pennies they cost. No word from the Barings: I suppose them safe lodged in their Inverness region now, and rejoicing in the good weather. Good be with thee, Dearest, ever.

T. C.

I write to Duffy today to say that I am coming.