July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 27 August 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470827-TC-JAC-01; CL 22: 41-43


Rawdon, 27 Augt, 1847—

My dear Brother,

Jane wishes you to go down to Cheyne Row, and give Anne in her name half a sovereign: this, she thinks, will do better than a whole sovereign, as indicating that the period of return is probably not distant. Pray do this tomorrow, or so soon as you have leisure.

We go along here in our original way; and feel in general very quiet and rural: we have yet settled nothing about a day of departure; or indeed about anything,—except that, I think Jane will directly turn southward when I go northward; which period, to judge by our total and absolute idleness here, cannot be put off for very long now. We have the beautifullest bright autumn weather; see nothing, over hill and dale, but green and gold; all steeple-chimnies and disturbances safe in the distance: add to which we have the hospitablest cheeriest landlord, and an excellent horse to ride:—sure enough, one might go farther for a bit of rustication, and fare worse!

One day, Monday I think it was, we went all to Bradford; Forster with Jane in his Gig, with a new horse he was buying; I some two hours afterwards, solitary, on the back of F.'s mare. Bradford, some 5 miles off, is a huge huggermugger smoky Town, of I suppose 80 or 100 thousand spinners and weavers; deforming with black clouds and every kind of dust and rubbish a beautiful hill side, and converting its once limpid brook into a black hellgruel:—not without interesting objects and phases either. But our memorablest adventure was the journey homewards. Forster and Jane had set off first; and it appears their new horse manifested, all along, a decided tendency to run off; the roads exceedingly steep, but F. holding in, and guiding, with exemplary skill. I did not come up with them, till we had crossed the Aire,1 and were climbing the last hill, a long steep ascent of near a mile which ends at Forster's house here. They waved me not to press near at a swift pace; I drew bridle accordingly, and they, finding the ascent now softer, set off again to trot: but lo, the wicked animal took instantly to kicking, to violent plunging, and they rounded a corner with the certainty left in my mind that I should find them all in ruin in a second or two when I got round! Some men had already come up, and were striving to assist: but my first glance, on getting round, did shew me poor Forster getting pitched out, the gig-shafts broken, men at the head of the horse, and Jane starting up from amid the rubbish with dust on her shoulder! Forster's ancle is still under the sprain, tho' now fast mending; Jane's shoulder grew rather sore after 24 hours, but is now quite well again; the new horse was instantly dismissed with protest, and the gig sent to be mended: this happily was all the damage, and driving has been mostly in abeyance ever since.2

We had a man called Phillips (“the Monkey of Carlyle,” as Mazzini's translation of “singe de Rousseau” would give it):3 a vague, innocent, vivacious but wearisome man; he went on the morrow morning. Others, either two or three, also wearisome, have been here to tea; but Forster does not trouble me on that side, where it can be helped. We drove one day to Bolton Abbey,4 some 14 miles off: a beautiful enough place, but infested with Tourists and Picnicnic viewhunters; a to me wearisome drive. Let us henceforth decline the Picturesque.

Richard Milnes made me ride over to Fryston, some 20 and odd miles off; meeting me, at “Oulton,” on the other side Leeds: well enough; and I staid with them all night at Fryston, which also (except for want of sleep) was well enough:—and more than this Milnes came up hither next day, to make acquaintance with Forster, and has now achieved it, and left us finally about an hour ago: very pleasant too, but again involving want of sleep for me!5 Basta [Enough], as to that matter. Milnes goes to Spain for an autumn tour, in the course of a day or two.

Jenny wrote to me from Scotsbrig some days ago: Mother well, harvest getting fast on. No other news.— Poor old Mrs Cochrane!6 Horrible Duc de Praslin!7 I suppose you are getting steadily on with Dante; walking occasionally with Chorley (to whom remember me), and heeding little else in this wild world for the present.

Yours ever /