January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 28 July 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560728-TC-JWC-01; CL 31: 135-137


Gill, Cummertrees, Annan / 28 july, 1856—

My dear little Goody,—Let me send you, in haste, the announcement at least that I am got to my final quarters, and that nothing has gone wrong with me. It will [be]1 a comfort to you in your Fife solitude to know so much. If I had properly obedient paper and pen, I could write much more; but that is not the case,—my team (of iron and straw, sorrow on them and on sinful men!) is mutinous more or less, so I forbear to drive farther than is indispensable.

I got an excellt ride thro' Springkell2 woods on Saturday afternoon (a grey blowing not unwholesome day); and that I think was pretty much all the work I did,—longdrawn continual talk, with Jamie chiefly, of which I had rather more than I wished, tho' it was easily avoidable too at any time.— Scotsbrig I continued to find the perfection of human lodgings; also I was charged to express expectations confident &c &c on your behalf; and a little line of writing to Isabella wd be very valuable at any time. In short if you at all come within wind of the place, it will be necessary to go; and I think it will be very agreeable to you over and above, and worth coming to,—on various considerations.— — Jamie's horse rides really very respectably; my old saddle and bridle, too, were discovered (ah me, ah me!), needing only some pannelling, owing to the moths; horse and saddle are to come to me tomorrow,—such was Jamie's offer unsolicited, the thrice excellt Jamie, always a bit of sound stuff since the first finding-out of him.

He set me down here yesterday, thro' a grey windy country with populations (very sparse) visible about the Parish Kirks,—between “in” and “out” we meant to be, for orthodoxy's sake;3—about 1 p.m.; staid till 6, over chicken-broth and tea, and then whirled home again. My welcome was kindness itself, and all kinds of arrangements were affectingly good or tolerable; so that I make no manner of doubt I shall do very well, and even be comfortable were I once hefted. Yesternight in my stroll out, thro' intricate footpaths (bad shoe tearing my heel all the while, as I discovered afterwards) in the cloudy blustery evening thro' a world all as if dead, I could have felt abundantly sad; but strove not to do so, nor did more than was perhaps useful.— After old-style porridge, I fell asleep; made in spite of breaks and confusions (for indeed I was not well) a great deal of sleep out;—found excellent coffee after my bathe and walk (the lass Margt4 being really up to several things);—was carried down by Jamie5 after breakfast, (had not the heart to refuse him) to see my future bathing ground; which will be ready tomorrow morning at 10, my first plunge if all go right: an excellt place,—only about 3 miles off, by the nearest practicable route; that is an unexpected and not pleasant feature of it! For the rest, there seems to be very great quiet thro' the night and morning; and all day I perceive I shall be well let alone. When I compared all things here with the Lodgings at Eastbourne,6 I could not but admit that the contrast was supreme on my behalf. In brief I calculate with certainty on doing myself good by a 3 weeks here.7

No Letters; hurried note or two from John, that he is off to Vevay,8 that he wants to be &c &c. Also waiting here yesterday, a Note from Leighton Bookbinder, that there are two other Volumes of Voltaire found wrong (with which I have taken order, the Book being still cheap); and a Note from Parker Bookseller, that he does not find profitable to take up the M'Kenzie mutiny case9 (with all my heart!)—these and 3 Newspapers today, by the faithful Piper are hitherto all the interruptions from my importunate fellow creatures. The fewer of that sort the better: that is clearly my vote!

Dear Goody I am scribbling to no use or purpose; wasting away the time that remains for walking between this and dinner. I will terminate once and away.— I expect a full counter-detail of everything on your side (except oneself one has nothing to write about, nor is anything so interesting it may be hoped); after which response, even without event in it, will follow duly.

I hope you have got your bathing-gown, and will be in the sea before me. Take care of bad air in that little parlour at night: nothing else I much apprehend for you in so kindly and environment. My kind regards to Walter and the two young damsels.10 All good be with thee ever, Goody dear—

T. Carlyle

James Aitken sent out (without orders, and I know not on what cheap terms) a most respectable Gig last wednesday (while our axle was on fire); and here the vehicle now is, and even Austin (much m— Jamie)11 has a horse of much nimbleness in it, if I should like.— Well off in various ways