August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JWC ; 5 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570805-TC-JWC-01; CL 33: 8-9


Chelsea, 5 Augt (Wedny) 1857

Dear little soul, I was much disappointed yesterday at 2 o'clock, and kept hoping all the time till 8: but today, first thing in the morning, your good kind Letter came, and all your news;—none of the best, alas: but I am glad at any rate that you make your bits of complaints freely to me;—if not to me, to whom else now alive on the Earth? Oh never distrust me, as the Devil sometimes tempts your poor heart to do! I know you for an honest soul (far too sharp-tempered, but true to the bone); and if I ever am or was unkind to you, God knows it is was1 far, very far, against my purpose! Do not distrust me; tell me everything; and never mind how “weak” you are before me: I know yr strength and yr weakness very well by this time! Poor little Goody.

You will have to leave Auchtertool, I perceive, directly on the back of that insipid offspring's arrival: your Aunts are by nature the next resource. Could not you manage bathing, sea-bathing, with Morningside for lodging? Plenty of trains go to Portobello: I do not like to think of you in lonesome Bathing-quarters, there or in the Haddington region. And you are not for Dumfriesshire at all? Well: who knows? I was going to advise the avoidance of that Haddington Parting, whh will be sad on both sides. But I suppose it must be. Inexorable TIME: how he cuts all away from us, and (happily) ourselves along with it at last.— End of the account is, were this blaze of heat well over, perhaps your own shop, beside poor me, will be the best harbour of all. It is indeed frightfully hot; and I am often glad you are out of it: but probably this fit will be the last of the Year. Sha’n't2 I be glad to see you back again? Yes, for a considerable number of reasons,—when you resolve upon it as the eligible thing to do! Yet don't hurry at all; now that you are in the adventure, do the very utmost of it. “Cortachy Castle” wd have given you, on certain terms, another week of country; but perhaps you are wise to decline such a bother, consisting of little but ceremony after all. Fergusdom, too, I perceive, is not recommendable. Scotsbrig—I could send for John hither; that wd take him completely out of the way, if nothing else would; and you might be abundantly quiet and right there; well let alone,3 as hardly anywhere else. Think of that. John, I am persuaded wd come; and he wd do me no ill, the contrary even, in my perfect solitude here. I will start it at once, if you bid or permit it.— Chelsea and the Author of the strange Thoughts on Things in genl:4—these, with Nero and the live stock all well, remain always in the background!— — I send some Photographs and the Book today: Book falls off, gets much into “divorce” &c before one has done with it.5 Worth reading nevertheless. When you have done with Fraser, send it to John at Scotsbrig or to Sister Jean at Dumfries: 4d stamp at the very utmost. Photogphs worth nothing but to give away. One is intended for Isabella (Jean & Mary having got something like it); will go in a Letter or any way, as it is foldable.

On Sunday it was dreadfully hot, and I wd much rather have continued here at my new Proofs under the Awning!6 Went off abt 4; found Lady Sh,7 in nightgown, in the big upstairs room we remember so well. Melancholy place, but quiet as the grave; agreed to stay all night;—alas, was misfed at my dinner (villainous gooseberry “pudding[”]!8)—started broad awake at 3; went downstairs out, smoked a cigar on a stool: have not seen so lovely, sad and grand a summer-weather scene for 20 years back. Trees stood all as if cast in bronze, not an aspenleaf stirring; sky was silver mirror, getting yellowish to n.e. (over Shooter's Hill),9 and only one big star (star of the morning) visible in the increasing light. This is a very grand place this world too!— In the end I fell asleep again, slept till 8; but insisted on riding off unbreakfasted. Nothing special since: it did me no ill. Enough, Dearest: write straightway T. Carlyle