January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 26 July 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560726-TC-JWC-01; CL 31: 133-134


Scotsbrig Saturday 26 july / 1856—

Alas, my poor little dear, there are no clogs for you: I had buoyed myself up almost into a certainty that I should find the Article at Mackie's; but the answer was No, “sure to be noticed, Sir, if they had been left!”1 So we must bid goodb'ye to the Sedlitz Powders2 too;—and take our losses handsomely. — — I got my Purse changed; rather, I confess, from moral considerations ultimately, for I do not think the new fellow is an improvement, tho' he cost me 6d more; but I could not bear to be beaten by such a thing. This, and the futile Mackie, was all I did in Edinr. There was no refresht room at the station, or I would have tried to eat something during the half hour I had: I smoked a cigar instead, and went on towards Scotsbrig for my next repast after the substantial breakfast Fife had given me.3

The day and evening were altogether of the brightest kind of weather: I was not crowded, or annoyed with bad air or otherwise, in my vehicle; and from Elvanfoot4 I had it altogether to myself, and freedom to smoke; on the whole it was a mournful, but clear decent, and not unpleasant ride. At half past nine, Jamie and his gig received me with the old honest welcome; Isabella had excellent tea and refection ready in an incredibly short time: a new long pipe even was discovered for me;—and all went well as it could have done in a mood so sad as mine naturally was. Alas, the very place where I lay down to sleep,—the last scene I had seen in that same room—5 But there was no wisdom in yielding to such thoughts. It is on death that all life has been appointed to stand for its brief season, and none of us can escape the Law. There is a certain solemn consolation which reconciles me to almost everything, in the thought that I am myself now fairly old, and that all the confusions of life, whether of this colour or that are soon about to sink into nothing (flat nothing) and only the soul of one's work (if one did any that had a soul) can be expected to survive.

I woke a couple or more of hours in the night; but in return fell sound asleep from 7 to past 10! After which, with bathing, with excellt coffee &c, I am really in a very fair way. I do not think there is, for the essentials of human comfort, a better lodging in the world than this wd be for me or for you. Here it is for you at all times and to any length you like. Remember that always in your schemings and plannings.— Out of mere vis inertiae [force of inertia] I continue here till tomorrow, when (smuggling the trunk, or not) Jamie will take me to the Gill. I will write in about 3 days. All good be with my dear Goody, and regards to the kind cousins every one.

T. Carlyle