January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 23 September 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560923-TC-JWC-01; CL 31: 234-236


Kinloch Luichart, 23 Septr / 1856—

Well, thank Heaven I hear of you at last! The man, yesterday too, at first denied, “No Letters for you, Sir”; and I had three minutes of sceptical suspense, till he did produce the article. You have no idea how glad I am to hear of you on any terms. You, for your share, take it very lightly indeed; and by way of excuse for yourself set to criticcing1 my three Notes, and the wide spaces left between the lines! One line, with half a mile on each side of it, would to me have been a godsend. Indeed all that second part of your Letter is far less pleasant to me than the first; it is wholly grounded in misknowledge or in deep ignorance of the circumstances; and deserves for answer—no farther details, credible or incredible, about these Highland matters till we meet. There is for you! But you are a good body too for all your petulances; and I am right glad to know you safe where you are.

What you say about the regal vehicle to London from Edinr is mostly right; and I have settled that it must be the way you want. On Wednesday week, namely, I come on to Scotsbrig, you stay still: it is about the same distance from Edinr by the Carlisle route; and the preliminary 80 miles fall rather to me than to you. So let it be settled. Lady A., whose kind intentions and endeavours cannot be questioned, seems particularly anxious we should both profit by their Edinr conveyance; and her maid has brot me the enclosed Note this morning tho' I stated expressly last night that it was settled otherwise; nay just now Lord A. opens the door to ask the question again before writing, to which as before my answer is No with thanks. What pleasure or profit they could get from it, is not apparent. But, any way, we have to stand by the above decision; which I think, and see that you think, the best for various reasons.— I get to Inverness on Monday next, then (dry so far); Tuesday an 100 ugly miles beginning 6 a.m. on the outside of a coach to Dunkeld, where the Lordships (coach and four) join Rous and me: Wednesday to Edinr by rail, and I take the Caledonian, same train as yours was, and am at Scotsbrig that night at the hour you know,—if all prosper. If you are there, well and best; if not, I could come to pick you up at the Gill next day (Thursday) from Thornhill or Dumfries:—and I think we should aim to be home at Chelsea on Saturday night. This is the whole program.

I find it a pity you took Isabella's notion, & went to Annan instead of Cummertrees. It would really have been easier for all parties; and poor Mary wd have been charmed by the visit; which she had well deserved, poor soul, by her fidelity to you and by a kindness without limit to your helpmate in late weeks. However, you perhaps have done that visit since, or will do it. A word to Scotsbrig will bring the Gig any whither at any time; and there are two trains from Thornhill both early enough. Nor will you forget Dumfries.2

I have to write to Ellice; refusing a Glen Quoich visit,—gunroom Kinnear (a goodnatured smoking soul, not witht sense tho' a snob) accepts. John saw Nero well and merry at London. Grateful regards to Dr. R. and Mrs.— God bless you ever; and bring us to meet on Wedy, if it may be!

T. Carlyle

P.S. Saturday is your last day for a Letter hither. Sum £5 safe and welcome; it will do no ill at least.—

P.S. 23

The rain continues; wild howling storms, shower after shower: twice half a day of extreme brightness; indeed the Hills, if one wanted “Pictorial effects” (whh I do not) are beautiful in the worst rains.—Today we have (and had last night) an Inverness Lawyer,—kind of cross between Spedding and Arbuckle;4—poor Ld A. has got a lawsuit about boundaries,5 to help matters!

I have nearly sprained my ancles (not quite), and will avoid the hillsides henceforth, and stick by the flat road. Tolerably well in health, tho' my Annandale cold still hangs by me.