August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JWC ; 24 June 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580624-TC-JWC-01; CL 33: 249-250


The Gill, Cummertrees / Annan N.B. 24 june 1858

Well, my dear little Jeannie, here I am; safe, and with less suffering than I anticipated: nothing went awry of all the arrangements; not the smallest ill accident befel. My chief suffering was from dust; foul air I overcame by addressing, at the very first pulling up of the opposite window, a forcible bit of familiar eloquence to the gentleman active: “How he wd like to have his neighbour's dirty shirt offered him to wear? Whh was a clean transaction in comparison” &c &c. So that they at least let me keep down my own window, and even kept down theirs (poor souls) in whole or in part almost the whole night. We were five, mostly fat: but these arrangements secured air, tho' with a painful admixture of dust and engine smoke. Except myself the poor souls (Glasgow bodies mostly) fell sound asleep in an hour or two; and word of speech to me ward there was none,—tho' perfect good nature mixed with apprehension, as I judged.— About midnight I changed my waistcoat for a warmer; & took out the supper provided me by my poor considerate little Goody. It was an excellent device: I ate the most of what was; & took out the second and last draught of drink at Lancaster1 shortly before sunrise. Some winks of sleep I had too, tho' the stoppages always awoke me again. In fine, Carlisle, thro' a beautiful bright and breezy morning (rather cool even) a little before six: cigar there, hardly finished, when we started again; and at 7, the face of Austin with a Gig, met me at Cummertrees; and within half an hour more I was busy washing here, & about to fall upon breakfast in my old quarters.

I have had coffee of prime quality; been out strolling to smoke a pipe, & returned with my feet wet (having plunked into a hidden bit of quagmire, stupidly enough): this is yet all that I have done;—and I propose next to put on my dressing-gown & fairly lie down in quest of a sleep. This will probably be gone before I awake again: but indeed what news can there well be in the interim from a man in his sleep?— — I find there is not likely to be the least shadow of a horse for riding here; so I believe I shall really have to send for my own. But we may pause till we have slept upon that.— Oh my dear one friendkin (what other have I left really?),—I was truly wae to leave thee yesternight. You did not go away either: I saw you, and held up my finger almost at the very last. Don't bother yourself writing me a long letter: a very short one, if it only tell me you begin to profit by being left alone, will be abundantly welcome. Adieu, Dearest;—I even think of Nero the wretch. Ever yours T. Carlyle