The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 26 August 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500826-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 175-177


Maryland St Liverpool, Monday 26 Augt, 1850—

Here I am, dear Jeannie; safe after several adventures; and have had your second Letter too, and also luncheon (about 3 p.m.),—and my first step is to write you a word whh may be in time for the post, and put you to peace.

I got your first Letter also, duly, at Cowbridge on Saturday morning: good Redwoods Tub-gig and I turned slightly out of the way in quest of it on our route to station; and there sure enough it lay, thanks to Goody and the Powers: one of the first blessings, and among the greatest of that otherwise not extremely fortunate day. I read it, with a cigar, as we went on.

Redwood's horror of human kind, whh had lamed my knee the other night, did me a second mischief on this occasion: he had timed me by a july railway guide, and, not speaking to any fellow creature, was not aware that August was a difft affair in that railway. “Train gone half an hour ago, Sir; goes at half past 11 now Sir: next train at 4!”— Consider that: 11 miles from home; 4 hours to wait, and nothing earthly of resource but a half-finished station house in a Welsh desert where one could not even walk,—the morning being showery, and much mud out! I did my best, dismissing R's servant with a cheerful message, and opening my trunk for a Book and some tobacco: I hope one day to get a little admiration from you for my behaviour in that sad predicament. Four o'clock came; and Chepstow and at last even Glo'ster came;—and there poor George Johnstone, who had been seeking me all day, was still awake, and right blithe to see me: but, alas, he does not live there at all, he only gypsifies there, and lives like the ancients; I never was in such an establisht for creature comfort before! Lukewarm tea without milk, do coffee witht do, &c &c: I had lost all notion of eating before I got thither; and absolutely there was nothing here that I could manage to swallow: so that I fasted (or as good as that) from the time of quitting Boverton, and all Sunday (tho' I had slept a few hours too), had the miserablest headache, heartache, all manner of aches, and bad outlooks altogether. Johnstone's kindness to me was conspicuous, and wd have made amends for all things on ordinary occasions: nevertheless I decided that by the first possibility I must get away into civilization again; took place accordingly for Birmingham about 8 at night; got some living there (boiled egg and a bit of toast with glass of negus); slept in spite of the noisiest uproar I ever heard in Nature during the sleeping time of mankind; rose in time this morning, was punctual every way as a clock, and so at length am here, safe and sound, and not at all much out of sorts;—and mean to go on this night at 12 (by appoint) in the Annan Steamer; and so end the affair (I hope) before noon tomorrow.

I have seen nobody yet except Maggy,1 who has punctually done the honours: there is a room, and laziness wd much incline me to stop; but in fine I have appointed,—perhaps tomorrow too I shall not be so well; wherefore it is to be settled the other way,—for the best, we will believe.

Good news have come (the last this morning) about Helen; she is said to be quite brisk, “as well as ever again”: such are the virtues of fresh air. Alick & his Wife are at Auchtertool; so that Uncle has come home, and stands to work in some degree: he is expected before long but has not yet made appearance. “Dinner at six”: I have some York River2 tobacco to buy; and am otherwise a free man till midnight come.

Your second letter strikes me as cheerier than the first; and gives me great “encouragement.” Don't bother about your choice; having chosen you are sure to repent, but are bound also to admit that such repentance is moonshine. I have no doubt you will find the crittur do,—or will make her do.

God bless you, Dearest; why shd I babble farther in these confused circumstances? I will write again from Scotsbrig,—two days hence, it must be,—and you will hear everything about me that is needful or needless, with better leisure than at present.

Here is a ring at the door! I fancied it might be——Hoho! It is he;3 and he reports himself well to you; and looks very well, and is kind, and good, and intelligent to talk with as ever.— I almost wish I had not decided to go tonight; but it must be,—and perhaps it is better.

Adieu Dearest / Yours ever

T. Carlyle

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