The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 2 September 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510902-TC-JAC-01; CL 26: 147-148


Scotsbrig, 2 Septr, 1851—

My dear Brother,

I got all your Letters at Liverpool, when we arrived, safe and terribly fagged, on Saturday evg;1 the Newspaper and Letter to Jane were ready at breakfast next morning,2—only poor Jane had a headache; which, however, gradually went off. I staid silently reading the Leader in the silent house, till Ak Welsh called between one and two, and took me a long walk and sail over on the Cheshire side: after that, till towards midnight, there was no rest:—much superfluous eating and drinking and noisy babbling, instead,—and I had but a bad preparation for my journey next morning!

I took your advice as to the railways; got, by Ormskirk, to Preston3 at half past nine; and then duly into the Carlisle train before 10: being much bustled and flurried, and in very bad order, I was thankful to be quite alone to Preston, and after that to have very few in my company, and to abstain strictly from speaking any word to any of them. I looked out of the open window; surveyed the macrocosm without, and alas the sad microcosm within, in profound isolation and silence. We had air enough; and I should have done very well; only on arriving at Carlisle, I discovered to my horror that—my Portmanteau was not there! I saw it put up at Preston; but they, in their tumblings, had put it down again; and there, of a surety, it was not; and the Caledonian train was just starting! No help for it. I had to speak to the Superintendent, then to write to him from Kirtlebridge;4 and again today I have written a long Letter to him (with which I will walk to The Galls myself), and on the whole am reduced to very short allowance of luggage, having nothing but the carpetbag and writing-case: I suppose I shall get the lost article, but not for a day or two, and must just content myself, with as little flurry as I can. My malison on it!—

Jamie was ready at the Galls; and all were well here; my Mother just came over with Mary, and looking better than I expected. Poor Mary had her boy, and a cart to go in, but rather a moist night for home: however, she seemed very well in health, and probably wd take no hurt. I have slept ill ever since Malvern,—alas, ever since Chelsea;—however, I made out something tolerable in the quiet here last night; washed thoroughly in a big tub towards 7 this morning; and walked to Stockbridge Hill before breakfast,—which salutary process I design to try if I can continue while here. I feel as if I shd grow fast better here. I have not been anything like so well lodged for health and real convenience anywhere in my travels hitherto. Today is very calm, and very gray; dry without drought; an extremely pensive day, fit for the solitary soul “will let alone.”

Your Dumfries Herald and Fraser have just been brought in by little Jenny: thanks. My Mother is busy with Sterling in the other end of the house. Your Bookcase is a superb improvet; I have got the key, and shall not want for reading.— — That Letter had come yesterday; perhaps from your poor Keswick Doctor?5

If you know Miss Jewsbury's address at Manchester, I wish you wd write a word instantly to poor Jane there, and inclose her this present Note of mine: I have not her address; it was marked on a Paper, but that is in the Portmanteau! I must try some shift soon, if the Pu do not come (as I fear). Ay de mi!— Yours ever T. Carlyle

Mother bids me send her best regards, and ask When are you coming home?—