July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 20 September 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470920-TC-JWC-01; CL 22: 79-80


Dumfries, 20 Septr (Monday) 1847—

O my Dear, what a whirl of confusion I am in; all tattered to pieces by noise and business and uproar of various kinds; hardly able to scratch down for you the smallest intelligible word! Here is a little money for you, at any rate; this day week (Monday first after reading it), the Bankers at Mangean 'Ouse will pay you,1 or John or anybody you send, the sum noted, to keep the house warm for a time. That is the most essential message of the present postday.

Directly after sending off my last Letter, I got your two,—thanks for them; thanks for your own good kind little sheet especially:—next day (Saturday) Jamie yoked his old Gig, and drove me rapidly off in a high wind hither, taking Gill by the road. Mary, poor thing, looks very old for her years; has a sad kind of composed aspect: all busy as bees round her, and a good crop this year,—encircled with floods of Irish Navvies and Railway confusion; little else in the shape of novelty since I was last there. An hour and half more of tempest brought us to Dumfries; where, dismissing Jamie home, I have continued in a Purgatory of noise (tho' with features of a Paradise in it too, for real kindness belongs to the latter region of things), and have been terribly tattered about ever since. Tomorrow (unless it prove rainy) I mean to be off by some Lockerby Omnibus, and thence by rail to Ecclefechan and Scotsbrig, where at least I shall be quieter; the old windy moors will not fret me with talk of any kind, at least of any kind that requires to be answered. My heart is utterly sad, and lonely; it is a most lonely business this earthly life of mine for me! But I must not take to whining; that will never do.

The Chelsea Letters you sent me were of small moment mostly; one of them from a Printer's Young Men's Society (or whatever they called it) wishing me (modest youths!) to give them a Copy of my Books: the other two were from Wiley & Putnam,—contained a Bill for £73.4.9; the magnificent sum that my American Cromwell has realised up to July last! Besides the Bill there was a Letter elaborately endeavouring to explain how this exiguous modicum was, after all, the right sum, instead of (I suppose) ten times as much, which probably might have been thought nearer it! I must write to W. and P. today, indicating that I have got the Bill; and, in polite language, that they are “d——d swingla's” for sending no more. I must pocket it as something gained from the mouths of wild ravens:2 Clarke, my Yankee Getreuer [trusted follower]3 appears to be making pause on such an issue; but he too, what can he make of it more?— — O Dearest, be as good to me as thou canst! I must end here abruptly; being warned that “dinner” is come. On Wednesday, if all prosper, I will write again.— There was a vague word from John too,4 along with your last Note; tell him so, without the “vague.” Adieu!

T. Carlyle