July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 7 October 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471007-TC-JWC-01; CL 22: 119-121


Scotsbrig, 7 Octr (Thursday Evg) 1847

I rather expected, among other things, a Note from the Speddings today; but none has come. However, I said, “Unless you write”; so I daresay it is all right still, tho' an express affirmative would have been more satisfactory than this assent by silence. If they do not meet me at Wigton tomorrow, you are nearly certain to hear; for I shall have to wait somewhere before readjusting myself, and to write poor Goody a word of my disappointment will be a solace to me: but if they do, and all go on right, and as rapidly as we may expect, you will probably hear nothing,—you may take nothing for the favourablest tidings I have to send.

At post-time today I got a real fright: no Letters at all came, except one, evidently very hurried and very brief, from the Dr: it struck my wise head that you were fallen suddenly quite ill again, and that this must be an express! For it was written, in character and substance, as if with a shovel, with a Baker's mop, or a street besom; and included only half a page:—happily it turned out to be some blotch of a Message about Books on Dante; bad enough when my trunk was all packed, but good and almost welcome in comparison with what I had been apprehending. Tell the galloping Sage that I handed down the old dusty Box he described, and searched thro' all the Books; but with all the intellect I was master of, could discover nothing of the thing he calls “Bargigi 1 large vol. 8 vo,”1—I discovered a dreary dead old folio (small folio) answering the description otherwise, and packed it in by guess: bought from Rolandi, the property once of one “Letham” (I think),2 and without title-page of any kind, or trace of “Bargigi” discoverable anywhere in it. Of the other two I was moderately certain, but only of one quite certain: the deuce take all orders that the human intellect (in a day of packing) cannot understand! At bottom I privately believe that all is right, for the august Translator, nevertheless.

Till noon today it rained a very deluge; rain all the way from yesterday morning, four-and-twenty hours and odd: the brooks have all become rivers, and the Cauldron here is roaring like a little Niagara: after noon, it ceased, and the sun broke out again “quite coamfortable,” as if nothing whatever had happened. For everybody's sake, especially for my Mother's I am very glad; and will hope tomorrow too may be dry.

I have about done all my packing; the “honeycomb” too is in, safe and snug! My Mother would insist on sending you a pair of coarse knit stockings (tho' I said you could never wear them), and two Missionary Narratives, which even I could not here be persuaded to read! Good old Mother. I am to write your name on them at Chelsea, and say “from her old withered Mother.”— — Item there are two Hams here, lying in a barrel among sawdust; said to be very fat and good. Specify concerning them, and concerning the Meal and Butter.

Among my acquisitions at Dumfries, the day before yesterday, was a respectable—horse-cloth, or rug for wrapping feet in: I expect to profit by it in the cold air between this and Chelsea.— Heigho! or “Oh Whow!” as Graham phrases it. I am in a sad crowdie of emotions and confusions outer and inner at this moment; have to shave overnight, dress in haste, and be across a mile beyond Ecclefechan at 20 minutes to 7 tomorrow morning; after which a day of whirling, haggling and hurlyburly, not pleasant to contemplate. God bless thee my poor little Bairn! Yours ever

T. Carlyle