The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 18 August 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520818-TC-JWC-01; CL 27: 233-234


Scotsbrig, 18 Augt, 1852—

Last night at home-coming, lay your nice thick Letter (and a very thin one from John) to comfort me along with tea. Tea was welcome, and so I can well say was Goody's letter. If you had been wholly fortunate on Saturday evening at the Post-Office I should have got your news on Monday before going,—not on Sunday, the Agnew Influences,1 unknown whence, have interfered here, the Sunday Postman (to let him hear the Gospel ordinances I presume) passes at six a.m. and neither brings letters nor takes on Sunday! Is not this an exemplary people in the matter of Gospel ordinances if in nothing else?

Jean came down with me yesterday; and is here, lodged in Jack's room till his return which will be tomorrow or next-day: we had a bright beautiful August day after the showers of the morning; Cumberland lay clear as in a map, and poor old Annandale looked like a valley of mere Elysium from the top of Repentance Height,2—a valley such as it is far enough from proving to be when one enters it: ah me! However, let us be thankful for the mercies sent; free air, clear water, and a bright sky now and then: these, with poor friends that are true to the last, are surely to be recognised as blessings by the human soul. My poor old Mother, who also had missed sleep &c, was very cheerful as we drove along: Jean sat on the floor of the gig (on my carpetbag, laid out at any rate for my Mother's feet); and in the sunny afternoon we did very well. I had bought a tartan dressing-gown (very small red-hued tartan, in hope of Goody's approval); at which Garthwaite is already working: item six pairs, and also 3 more of a knit sort, of thin “Shetland-grey” socks; 9 pairs in all (was not that gallant?) on which Jean is now employed, “running heels,[”] having done the first job she took. This first job was “a Bag for the Shaving things,” made of new moreen; being shocked at the old aspect of my present one, due to the genius of Goody many years ago. She has made two, one for her husband, perfect counterparts to that model;—as for mine, tho' I must say nothing, I privately resolve that the old one (for reasons) shall continue to do duty for some time, and not any new one! She is tolerably happy this poor Jean, and full of spiritual life: Jamie too is really a serious, prosperous and noteworthy burgher;—and has for one thing a “bath-room” of his own furnishing (about the size of our upstairs closet, what the cistern leaves of that), which might go into the Museum! I had shower-baths there (and as much tub-work after as you liked), a perfect niagara of water, and flowing till you stopped it, such as never fell to my lot before Aird I saw twice; very lame, but not so unhappy as before, indeed not unhappy at all, an entirely solid-hearted pious-minded good rustic man. He said at parting, “Tell Mrs Carlyle, I am getting old, am lame too, and have no chance to see her unless she comes here; but if she will come, say I will steal her a dog if she bid me!”— The night before, I had, on constraint, gone to Macdiarmiddom for an hour: very drunk, poor Mac, and very wearisome, tho' good; young writer bodies flirting with his two girls, a bright enough room, and the element of whisky there.

You don't tell me enough about the House and your own cares and adventures; and as to Nero there is not a scrape of a pen from him, the villain.

Of course I neither make head nor tail of Chorley's adventure; but perceive only that an evil (Irish) spirit haunts him; and has been walking in your rounds too?— Your picture of Weber is correct; to my little experience of him, perfect. Let him stand there with his back to the wall! God bless thee Goody dear;—write. T. C.