The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 25 September 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500925-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 231-233


Scotsbrig, Wedy 25th Septr, 1850

Dearest, I must write a word by way of finish to the incoherent scrawl hurried off yesterday: it will be a consolation to my soul to pour out the whole flood of “complaints” into the soul of Goody:—perhaps they will not prove so dreadfully overwhelming, after all, when I see them once on paper! I have an hour or two of absolute silence and leisure (in this Eastern Room, John being off to Ecclefechan, and the rest all busy or at the Rood Fair of Dumfries):1 such an interval is itself a great blessing. I have had some considerable sleep, too, last night; and little troubles of life. Surely they are all very little,—at least those I have to complain of are!

By Spedding's letter, whh got to me (I know not how, for the “Dumfries Post-Office” had never any trade with me) this morning, you will see that there is absolute necessity for a resolution as to Cumberland; which, alas, involves more or less all manner of resolutions! Pity the soul (and body) that is too weak for making any “resolution” whatever, if it could help it!— Well, I have written to Spedding that I will go to him on Friday: so let your answer to this Note go thitherward, “Greta Bank, Keswick, Cumberland”: that is one point fixed, whatsoever may follow out of that. I have told him farther that if he will take me to Coniston and Marshalldom,2 he may. For in fact I wd rather leave you time where you are, and have some recoil about fronting Chelsea for a very long while without the protection of Goody!— There remains the question as to coming back to Scotsbrig, or pushing right on homeward from Coniston. A question involved in a certain complicacy.

My clothes &c are all here (at least all that I shall get of them), a maximum of clean linen; all things done, in fact, and for myself no real business more. But there is this other consideration: my poor old Mother, who is visibly weaker than last year, and has lost all her upper teeth, has been much urged by me (for John rather hung back) to go into Dumfries, and try for a new set, whh she is anxious enough to do if it proved feasible. Well, John and she are to go, most probably tomorrow, and try. Shall I steal a march from her; and leaving the matter loose or altogether secret, take myself away, and escape the torment of such a morning as leave-taking &c always gives me here? I should like to see my poor old Mother after her return;—alas, alas, the possibility is always present to me that I may never see her again!— This is still to be considered about; in this you cannot help me, nor can anybody. So we will leave that.

Address your Note to me, I say, at Speddings: Perhaps tomorrow or Friday I may already get one from you? No, I now perceive I cannot,—unless you chance to write tonight, whh I fear is hardly to be expected. Well, they will send it after me. Write at any rate whenever you get this: and tell me all and sundry; you have ample time surely, and all your accounts of how you are, and how they ack, and how you ack3 and feel and get along, will be abundantly interesting to me. I have heard of that Lady Wm Russell (of the Russell kindred, but I know not how), and of her two German-English sons who were said to be better specimens than usual.4 “They will do well enough for all we want with them,” I fancy! And Miss Farrar, is she come “with the means of travelling”? And who else is there? In short, how do they ack; how do you ack;—and have you formed any notion of your time of stay yet? If you have not, do not the least form any on my account. But tell me everything that is in your head

The “five pairs of drawers” are off the Taylor's hands: a capital article intrinsically; and if they be wrong (on trial), I promise not to trouble poor Goody in the job. But I do perceive, O Goody, there will never a right result be got for the Flannelgarments I internally require in this world, during my sojourn there,—till Goody herself takes the thing in hand; resolutely measures me to her own satisfaction; cuts a paper pattern of everything; calls in a model distressed needlewoman to work under hereye, to her cutting;—and so defies, for me, the devil and the world! That good time must come; a good time coming, lass!—

Batluck following me to the Orient, I somehow hurt my watch (as you heard), and it proves to be a broken mainspring: so my poor watch must lie dead till I get to Chelsea; a sore bereavement. I felt really sorry when my poor Watch hung dead at the bedhead, that morning: a kind of child (all I had for a child) gone dead!— On the other hand, I have got an admirable brush for clothes: really the like hardly ever seen!— God bless thee, Goody dear. Give my respects to the Grange Herrschaft [master and mistress], my bon voyage to Lord A.; and be well always.

T. Carlyle