July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO JWC ; 16 July 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580716-TC-JWC-01; CL 34: 47-48


The Gill, 16 july, 1858—

Two bad nights in succession, my poor dear Jeannie: it is no better than I thought; I got no news because there was none good! And I must put up with this till Tuesday:—well, well, we cannot help it. “A true speak” indeed, that solemn one of the Aunt Grace. But we will hope neverthess;1 above all things, we will try.

Richmond seems to be quite out,—would it had spared you that “coarse tea by way of dinner,” at least. Bay House too seems as good as out. Indeed I see nothing possible in the way of Country, unless you are strong enough now for the adventure of the railway hitherward. You say nothing about your cough, your cold under any form, in these two last bulletins: I hope what of it, but that is not much; I cannot think it has yet left you at the point where you were before that sad Brighton Enterprise. But the truth is, if you are able to get to Scotland at all, here would and could be right “country” for you; and I now see no clear chance of any elsewhere. It is certain, if you were simply in my place here, you might have every advantage that is included under what people call country, and probably in fuller measure, and with fewer drawbacks, than in any place else in the world, Bay House, Undercliff Tennysons',2 Richmond, or whatever other! This is a clear fact, and you must think seriously whether it does not demand immediately being acted upon. I can, and right joyfully will, surrender you my place here (I cd pig in,3 I doubt not, at Scotsbrig, certainly at Dumfries, 4 trains a day, time scarcely half an hour); and you would be a real prize to the people; and nobody on earth wd be kinder and more tender than Mary and the rest of them from youngest to oldest,—nice, clean, well-conditioned, modest sensible creatures all the Children4 seem to me, and you might make more acquaintance with them then, and I really fancy grow to like their modest assiduities about you. The two little rooms are clean and neat; the Bed as good as any bed and room, in the most essential respects. There wd be nothing to hinder you to put up here for as many days or weeks as you found it,—at lowest till I had discovered some Lodging for us both: I hear of Cottages about New-Abbey5 quarter (a very pleasant shore, as you know), a Cottage of M'Diarmid's6 &c &c. In short it all turns on yourself, poor Goody dear: whether you have strength to venture, strength to do it if you shd venture. For we must not have too much courage: “courage to go whether you can or not,”—alas, we have had too much of that. In a word, I am practically pretty certain that if you just stood in my shoes, you wd immediately begin to get some sleep and improvement. And to give up my present “shoes” to you, never fancy that it wd be a “sacrifice,”—the reverse rather, having had three weeks of this perfect “silence” (and gloom enough of mind along with it):—so that to change for my poor Goody (all things considered) wd be a triumphant and joyful issue, if we cd come to it! I beg you dear think seriously of this; & do what is wise in it. Nothing more like a Sister (whh you never had) or a still Dearer than any Sister (which we never will have more in this world) could be found than poor Mary;—there is a namesake of yours among the children, too, whom Jean is greatly praising, a nice young lass:7 she wd wait on you; and be your maid, on the most devoted terms, if you permitted it. Better air, purer water, a more simple, silent, wholesome honest place, is not to be found.— Enough, enough. I have spoken to nobody about this; but I really see no other resource. And so must leave it with you till Tuesday.— Send the Peesweep Newspaper8 tomorrow (if you are not going to read any of it); and put two strokes on it, in token of a better night if you honestly can! No: I had better revoke this last clause, this last sentence altogether. The meaning was: If you send anything on Saturday, it gets hither on Monday morning by course of nature. And so Adieu, my poor little unsleeping partner—ach Himmel [oh Heaven], may that soon alter! Yours evermore T. Carlyle