July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 3 October 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471003-TC-JWC-01; CL 22: 111-113


Scotsbrig, 3 octr (Sunday) 1847—

Thanks, Dearest, for your kind little Letter of Yesterday, which I was right glad of;—and here again, just while I was about beginning to write to you, has another Letter come, an hour before its time, still with good news! All's well that ends well: happy, indeed, that you are home again, out of that constrained lodging, very unsuitable in your weak state. My Mother's rage has been considerable, ever since she heard of it, “That the puir craitur could na get a bit fire!” Not so much as a bit of fire, “for a' their grandeur!” Money, if it exclude bit things which are apt to go with the want of it, is of small value,—to the possessor or to others.

Did John come to you on Saturday evening? Otherwise you would be without news of me;—as indeed what “news” had he even after my Letter! No “news”; only the old course of Donothingism, quietly transacted, amid the brisk winds. I rode to Gillenbie that day; a pensive, lonely ride, over the clear solitudes, all silent too, except for one great diapason of howling east-wind; piping loud, with a strong sunshine to accompany it. The humble cottages, and thatched stackyards, and old still scenes, did me good to look upon them: old Earth, especially one's poor old native corner of it, is forever beautiful to me. James Stewart, as you know, was not there; only the Wife, a large good woman, good with all her “ladyhood,” and very much afflicted still, poor woman, for the son they lost last year in China. She had a very small Manilla greyhound, which had been his; and wept sadly over him again, at sight of me, who had once ecorted him to Liverpool, long years ago, when he first left home.1 Charles Stewart, James's Brother, a curious grey sly old Scotchman, whom I refused to dine with long ago, came riding up, just as I was going off; was hospitably urgent on me to go and dine with Hope Johnstone and him,2 in spite of my thick-wool coat (the old overcoat made straiter, as you will see!): it was a kind of temptation; but not an irresistible one: I was “firm, Alicia”;3—reached home before sundown, and dined, not ineffectually, on two soft eggs and brown bread.— May the Devil fly away with such paper and ink! It is impossible to write or remember, or almost to “spell,” with such materials!— — The old grey, slow-speaking, long-nosed sagacious man, a very polite man too, pleased me right well, however: I have decided to go up again tomorrow to Gillenbie (for James's interview and mine, at Gill, on Friday Evg was a mere flying salute, transacted while the Gig waited, with a long drive ahead of it): if I can see “Charlie” again, it will partly reward my magnanimity. Any creature that has sense in it, how pleasant to see, in place of one that has little or perhaps none!— Macqueen's Brother, Tom,4 has been speaking about buying Craigenputtoch, it appears: I already told Stewart to sell it him willingly, but for the full value, as “nothing was pushing.” All hands are “failing,” it seems, and continuing to fail, in London, Liverpool &c &c: they will probably make a precious winter of it;—and may bless the Divine Hudson for all his mercies, the canaille! As there is plenty of meal and meat in the country, I suppose the poor people will get fed any way; and for the rest, what could one expect after their scrip mania,—nay at bottom what need one care? If one wish gambling to cease, one must hope and wish that gamblers be regularly punished! Poor beggars; wallowing in gold, and yet as poor as Midas with his long ears!5 Let Hudson live forever,—but only a copper-statue, as a monument and monition to us.6

But the best news, my Bairn, is, That I am coming home again, in about a week. Today I write to Spedding appointing Friday for the meeting at Wigton;7 Friday first; with Spedding I stay over Sunday, and then on Monday (probably) get under way for Chelsea! That is the program at present. You may write hither till and on Tuesday evening; but after that, not, unless you hear otherwise. After that, the Address is, “James Spedding Esq, Mirehouse, Keswick, Cumberland”: Tom's place is “Greta Bank,” and I know not which I shall be at, but they are only a few miles apart; and for Thursday and Wednesday evening's (Chelsea) posts, I am pretty safe to be at Mirehouse, where James and the old Father live.— My Mother, tho' wae to part with me, does not much object to my going; I see she is tired of all the noise, poor old Mother, and wants Jenny and the Bairns away again for a while. A time to come, and a time to go! These old bare moors, with their solitude deep as death, I must quit them again, plunge into the pool again—“O immortal one”—ach Gott! But little Postie Johnstone and his Son8 came driving hither, today, in an old Gig with an old white horse, to do momentary hero-worship too; and did it well: it was they that brought your Letter; and they staid with me only 4 minutes. Poor bodies!— Adieu Dearest; take two big glasses of the best wine there is, or can be got; and let us see thee well again when I come. I have not tried the cigar-kindlers; I thought they had been pastils sent by the tremendous blockhead!9 Ever yours

T. Carlyle

My respects to the “noble Lady,”10 if you see her while in Town. I think her riding will not be very quick, for all that Fleming and the Humbug11 can do!