January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 20 September 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560920-TC-JWC-01; CL 31: 232-233


Kinloch Luichart, Dingwall / 22 [20] Septr, 1856—

Alas, my dear Jeannie, what is this! I cannot get a word from you since the day we parted in Kirkcaldy: I have written, I have sent Newspapers, this is the third Letter, and not a sound from you in return; I do not know how you are, not even in the least where you are.—I try not to alarm myself; but I confess the thing begins to look questionable: if I could be well assured you were right, rid of your cold, and going on fairly, all the rest would be easier for me. Any way there is no remedy; and I must just wait. Till Monday (24th) there is not even possibility of a Letter; unless you are writing from some place of the distance of about Scotsbrig today, I cannot hear of you sooner than Wednesday. Is that fair play?

We have had a week or more of the dismallest tempestuous rainy weather you ever saw. Raging wind, and no road sheltered; every ten minutes a roaring torrent of windy rain: one has to calculate where walking with an umbrella will be possible (if anywhere); and doing one's best, it is a puddling and a wetting all day. Very cold too; and no fire, or none but an imaginary one, can be permitted in the drawing room. Her Ladyship, in worse humour than usual, is capable of being driven to extremities by your setting up a peat from its flat posture; so I have learned altogether to abstain! Nothing earthly to be done, nothing good to be read, to be said or thought,—this is not a luxurious kind of life for a poor wayfaring individual. My commonest resource is this: To walk out from 6 to 10 miles, ducking under bushes from the showers; return utterly tired; put on dressing gown, Cape, plaid &c, and lie down on one's bed, under all the woollen stuffs one can gather; with hat laid on cheek to keep out the light, I usually get to a sluggardly kind of warm half-sleep in this kind of way, and last till dinner-time not so ill off. The rooms are quiet and good;—today I am shifted, making way last night for Lord Lansdowne, who is off again this morning, Carriage & four, towards Dunrobin:1 so that I shall soon get back.— The Greys are gone, Poodle, today Miss Baring goes; nothing but vulgar Kinnear and myself remain now in the shape of guests.

All go on Monday come a week; my two weeks will be out on Wednesday next; but the Skye Mail and all conveyances are full full to overflowing (so many Tourists running home out of the bad weather); it is clearly easier that I wait till then and go with Rous and Co— From Inverness on Tuesday there is a Coach to Dunkeld;2 on Wednesday (as computed), I am in Edinr;—after that, they go off next day to London; but with me nothing is yet decided, or will be till I hear from you,—if you ever write to me again, you hard, inconsiderate, angry or unlucky, or I know not what to call you! I shall be heartily glad to conclude this Hyperborean part of my Tour; which has made a September for me as unlike my August as is well possible! Today the showers have as good as ceased; the wind gone northerly and all very cold,—except one could walk and wear clothes.

I got Emerson's Book English Traits, whh gave me one comfortable day's reading: very good indeed: I have not found another Book here that I could stand.— The old Marquis3 was a brilliancy perceptible while he staid; very old, very weakly; but the perfect gentn of his kind,—holding on to the very last.

I wrote (seriously) for two one-pound Notes; but do not want them now; that is to say, can do very well without them. Nor Tom Gillespie either, unless you have written to him.—God keep you, Dearest, wherever you are; you should have written, and save me these anxieties.

Yours ever affectionate

T. Carlyle