July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO JWC ; 9 July 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580709-TC-JWC-01; CL 34: 19-20


The Gill, 9 july, 1858—

Again nothing: Oh my Dear! And the Newspaper is addressed in a shaky hand, and “Annan” is misspelt. What can I infer, in my gloomy thought, but that you are not better, more likely worse, and so in spite of my express request have kept silence lest the real news might drive me crazy altogether! For God's sake write me a word; hardly any reality can be worse than the notions I form of it here. I said, you were to write daily till this fit were over. One word; I wd not weary you with writing; but surely it is right that you shd send me the fact whatever it is!— I lay awake all last night,—some accident or other;—and never had I such a series of hours filled altogether with you! Any conceivable Letter from your own hand this morning wd have been better than such a night's gazette. Do not neglect again in such a case! If nothing come tomorrow, I shall not know what hand to turn me to.

Last night's vigilance, I suppose, had to do with bile,—probably developed by the new Dromedary. I took a famous long ride, again; got well jolted, and took in much ground; my dinner (mutton-chop, oldish) was of my own choice, but none of the best; then in the evening I wandered by byepaths into the “Marquis's Park,”1 an immense expanse of rough graziery with lines of timber, no company but rabbits and a few ruminating oxen, a distance especially whh surprised and flurried me, before I got home to porridge: enough, getting into bed abt midnight (after a bit of reading &c), I felt no disposition towards rest, one of the dogs here had been left out and took to vigilance, railway trains came screeching thro' the silence; I was asleep for some moments, but woke again, was out, was in the bathing-tub;—it was not till about 5 that I got into “comatose oblivion” rather than sleep, whh ended again towards 8. My poor suffering Jeannie was the theme of my thoughts;—nay if I had not had that, I shd have found something else. But in very truth my soul was black with misery about you,—past, present, future yielded no light-point anywhere. Alas, and I had to say to myself, This is something like what she has suffered 700 times within the last two years,—my poor heavy-laden, brave uncomplaining Jeannie! Oh forgive me, forgive me, for the much I have thoughtlessly done and omitted,—far, far at all times, from the poor purpose of my mind! And God help us, thee, poor suffering soul, and also me.

I have been thinking, Ought you not to come at once to Mrs Russell's,2 Thornhill? She is counting on yr visit, as I hear from Aird.3 You have more faith in Dr R.4 (and perhaps with reason, I must say) than in any of his miserable fraternity: from him, and his real study of your case, we might get some advice, real counsel worth attending to, for future movements. It is clear as can be, this air &c wd do you benefit. The train I came in is not difficult: a perfectly good bed, and treatt unsurpassable in friendliness, awaits you here, if you cd pause a little,—and I wd escort you up to Thornhill,5 and instal you. Depend upon it, this is the best plan,—is it not? I shd at least be within reach; as it were, close beside you. We will go to the East Lothian Bathingplace6 or where you like. “In the beginning of August,” I find, John is for London, about some of his “Boys”:7 Scotsbrig will be empty, and we might have a good two weeks together there, if you liked that. And on the whole we shd gather our ideas together, and decide what must be done agt winter,—a run to the South, to Italy, to Switzd, somewhither for better air and life-element; for it will not do to front another London winter on such terms as these.— If the Brighton misery is still torturing you, all this will seem poor comfort: but beyond that, it does lie as a real horizon, I think. And I bid you consider it, and think seriously of doing it or something better.— I had thought of going to bed, so soon as this poor message was written: but now the drowsy idea is off,—perhaps till I read in some of my dull Books a little farther. I ought to have ridden up to Dumfries for “cloth”: but am too lazy;—and in that case, Jean is engaged to come out with an instalment hither in the evening.

I am full of anxieties, uncertainties; and long infinitely for good news from you, as the beginning of all good to me. Whatever the news is, in Heaven's name let me have it, Dearest. And God be with thee—what Beneficent Power we can call God in this wor[l]d, who is exorable to human prayers!— Oh why did not you write, at least? But I will forgive everything if you send good news! Amen—

T. Carlyle

Pardon this Patch of foreign paper, it lay at hand, & I thot &c. Adieu Dearest