The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 28 September 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500928-TC-JWC-01; CL 25: 236-237


Greta Bank, Keswick / 29 [28] Septr (Saturday) 1850

Well Goody, here I am according to program, after manifold experiences, of which if it please Heaven there shall one day be a copious narration by the hearth at Chelsea or elsewhere. At present, the Post goes so soon, my business is to signify articulately that I am here and well, postponing the rest.

My Mother went away with John to Annan (for Dumfries) on Thursday; very weak and much flurried, the good old Mother: she kept asserting and insisting (tho' with an air of secret doubt), that I was to “come back” and “see her with the new teeth”; but I privately felt, and feel, that I ought to spare myself and her that misery of a new parting: ah me!— Thursday afternoon (they went about 12) I spent in the profoundest silence; sad of heart, but not quite wretched at all, being perfectly let alone: a most deliberate packing took place, in the evening a dark walk to Ecclefechan, glance at the streets, glance at the Churchyard-tree; then home, the wild wind singing lullaby to me, and at length getting me to sleep (in my solitary upstairs floor).

Yesterday morning was pouring wet; but Jamie and I on consulting found that it wd not last all day (nay it practically ceased before my going), so the gig was drawn out; and towards noon (in a solitary carriage, as usual in these parts if you take a first-class) I was rolling towards Carlisle; thence, with half an hour of ugly waiting, in a do to Penrith; and there between 1 and 2 o'clock, a Jenny Lind (Coach so called) took me on the roof of it,—with perfect liberty to smoke cigars, but also with ominous recommencement of rain;—and so off we went, up Ulleswater (beautifullest of the Lakes) and, by breakneck roads, generally up hill and down dale,—the rain diminishing into windy insignificant showers, and generally the ride being definable as a damp rather than a wet one,—till not long after Sunset, we reached the turnpike here; and Spedding's servant made his appearance, and shortly after Spedding's self: and so there was dinner (whh however I was too far gone for eating), and a talking evg whh I would rather again have passed in silence. The excellt bed and bedroom, known before, received me kindly, and I soon fell asleep, but soon awoke again (the windiest night I can remember); then at last fell asleep the second time;—and so here, about Noon within half an hour of Post-time, I sit scribbling to you, not at all much below par, and confidently expecting to be up to it again tomorrow.

We are only Spedding, self and Mrs S. as yet; but expect to be enlarged by James (and Meyers,1 alas) from Coniston (30 or more miles to the Southwest of us, over the head of Ambleside); whither there is pendent a negociation that I and my host here and all of us are to go. There is Mrs Jas Marshall's flowery missive which awaited me here; in reference to last week all that: how this is to be I know not, but suppose we shall have to go. Alfred Tennyson with Mrs is said to be there (not any excessive charm for me, I do fear);2 but it seems they are just about going if not already gone. The Monteagles are “in an Island of the Lake”3 (romantic-house of Henry Marshall's) here; “Miss Lynn4 is here,” many a one is here:—heigho!

Dear Goody, I do hope there will be a word from the[e]5 tomorrow: if sent on friday there will. Item my poor little Bairn, I hope thou art well: at all rates tell me how thou art. Direct hither, at least till you hear again. Alas, I am not quite sure but they will keep this in London over Sunday (no, they don't!)—so you will get it on Monday morning. Adieu, Yours ever

T. Carlyle