July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO JWC ; 23 July 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580723-TC-JWC-01; CL 34: 68-70


The Gill, 23 july, 1858—

Alas, Dear, there is not the least vestige of your lost Letter here; it had not fallen into Christian hands; probably had got run over by wheels, and reduced to pulp in the street-mud,—that is the best course we can scheme out for it! But perhaps too it may come tomorrow; some charitable mortal may have picked it up with good intentions, and held it too long in his pocket for yesterday's mail. That however is now very unlikely.— I am lost in conjecture as to what you can have been doing; what you were in quest of at Chapman's especially? One thing only it is lucky I know: that you have Bay House in view in a week; therefore that nothing essentially is wrong with you, and that you have the outlook towards “Country,” whh I confidently hope will do the poor little soul some good.— Don't bother about the loss of the Letter, or about replacing it too minutely: give me some outline, on loose terms rather than confine yourself at home writing more precise details. I have no news to send you at any time; I ought not to be strict in bargaining with you on that head.

The Day is blustering and blowing with chaotic mixture of sunblinks, rainshowers, and tumbling masses of clouds, over a solitary sea and land. I shall get a good ride, if I manage; there is nothing else to be striven for. I began Tourgff last night,—not till after the day had been wasted, and the good souls here had all gone to sleep and left me. The first story1 is not bad: I could read the rest, as a task of idleness, without difficulty; but there is no real solitude allowed till Jean go; and God knows the talk I have (tho' good of its sort, too) is by no means charming to me!— Poor Jean is assiduity itself, yesterday, and again this day, giving the last finish of perfection to a Belt whh is to make Larkin's machine the article for my wear.2 She had unfortunately called in a saddler to help, at Dumfries;3 and the problem has become abstruse,—to me inexpressibly wearisome; sad and mournful even when I witness poor Jean's industrious helpfulness, and my own unhelpable nature. Pardon me, pardon me, ye good souls! Oh, it is not that I am cruel or unthankful; but I am weary, weary; and it is difficult to get the galling harness from me, and the heavy burdens off the back of an old wayworn animal at this advanced stage!—

My practical thots (if I had any) turn still on Germany: but I cannot dare not yet form any resolutions;—if I had Maps (whh I have not, Larkin's being yet waited for) I should get into poring over those at least, during the clear hours of the day. I ought also to write to people about flinging me ashore out of a yacht. It is much easier to sit and do nothing, or “think and smoke tobacco”! As if I were an “only child,” and even more, I have at this time “no wish to sew.”4

From Larkin there arrived yesterday a Parcel (not opened yet, but containing a Cole of Charing Cross, “intended for bathing”): it seems to have been round by Edinr by Glasgow, but lay waiting safe at Annan yesterday (Railway-Office, I suppose, or Post-Office?) nothing more to pay for it: “paid thro’” by Larkin seemingly for “6” (whh I suppose is pence, not shillings). Such channel of conveyance is well worth our knowing, yours in the interim; pray ask him punctually, & say meanwhile that the thing is safe in my hands. If the Sun will break out tomorrow, I believe the tide wd ansr for a trial of this apparatus; I decidedly suppose, bathing wd be of advantage to me, among all my other advantages here.— — I sleep well; Oh if you but slept half as well; in fact, speaking in ’spital5 language, I am doing well,—in any other language, not “doing” at all; but lying dormant the victim of Human Indolence; for the time being, a disgrace to creation rather. Oh may God watch over thee, my poor little woman;—may a little sleep visit thee at least! Adieu again T. Carlyle