January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 21 August 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560821-TC-JWC-01; CL 31: 185-187


The Gill, Thursday, 21 Augt 1856

This Letter has come this morning; and I send it off to put you in possession of the whole problem, for there is now no farther light to be expected in it. I cannot say I have much appetite for “returning from Edinr” in the way we came; even tho' no axle took fire, it wd be, with Poodle1 &c and for other reasons, a questionable method; ties us up at any rate &c. But do you decide as you find good. And if you can decide for me too; and get me reasonably off altogether from that Highland business,—the fact is certain, tho perhaps incredible, I shall be much obliged thereby! And so we will leave it today.

I have got worse on than usual with my “work”; nothing fairly down on the Paper at all: the whole matter is lying so burbled as man never saw, at that particular point. I think the violent N.E. wind is not in my favour either. It is a perfect tempest howling round the chimnies; and Margt has an intolerable fire (intolerable witht windows up) burning in this little Room. At 2 p.m. (in half an hour), I go out riding: that will be the best for me. No Tailor yet, nor any certain prophecy of him: Mary, at Annan market, will probably hear about him;—at all events, will bring me up some excellent Brown Bread: “genuine” that, and if its natural price, cheaper than the white! I have quite ceased sea-bathing (tide past 4 today); plainly not adviseable,—till a new Moon come, if I be here to see it—

Young Jamie2 from Glasgow is home at Scotsbrig on holiday;—lasts, I think, till about Wedny next. I have been in expectation (not very joyful, so busy and so abstruse am I) of a visit from him here; but he has not come: if his Father and he do not appear about Sunday, I must ride over some evening myself. Oh Goody, Oh poor Goody, Goody! How hard and cold is my talk in contrast to the thot that lies in me,—obstructed not by the East Wind alone! May God bless thee: that, any way, is one prayer that I can pronounce with entire completeness of utterance. But I think it now certain you will leave this world one day without ever knowing what my heart was towards you. For which I could lament much, poor wretch that I am, if it were of any service! Better try to get my work done perhaps? The Night cometh wherein no man can work:3 that too is certain, most certain of all!— Again, may the Maker of us both bless thee, my true loving woman, ever dear to me!—

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Christian Stirling by Robert Scott Tait, 25 May 1855.

Courtesy of Edinburgh University Library.


I yesterday in my ride (fiercely windy and sunny) crossed a shandrydan, twice over; a queer old man, and hardfaced quality woman sat in it: man had a coarse brown wide-awake like my own, long snow-white hair, and was sitting placidly silent,—quality woman and he each totally silent, thinking of nothing at all. I recognised it for John Dirom, Coll Dirom in coarse wide-awake, once “Captn Dirom,” flower of Mount Annan, and the brightest man I had ever seen in this world.4 As a Flower of the Field!5— Adieu, Dearest. Kind regards to Elizth and the Aunts.— Yours ever

T. Carlyle