January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES ; 12 September 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590912-TC-RMM-01; CL 35: 198-199


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan N. B. 12 Septr, 1859—

Dear Milnes,

I have, as perhaps you in some measure know, been rusticating, and vegetating (latter partly in the aquatic manner) for these last two months and more, on the pleasant coast of Fife; and now we are all slowly settling homeward,—I by the western route, and my native Border Country, the Wife by Edinr & the Eastern, on like grounds;—ought all to be at Chelsea within a fortnight hence, with the small fruit of our Summer's earning, whatever that may be.

You may well suppose I never forgot yr kind Note, recd just before leaving home; and am now thinking more decisively of it than ever, now when the time is come for some hope of acting on it, or for honestly renouncing such hope till a new opportunity.

It is certain if there were a human roof under whh I could wish to be a guest in my present mood and circumstances, that roof wd be Rd Milnes's:1—but, alas, that helps little! I am not even certain whether a meeting with you on the route southward were now possible: and if it were, I feel in such a broken bankrupt conditn of mind (till once the Prussian horrors are got thro', if they ever be), it is clearly better to postpone that pleasant operation (as I have done, & do, all others like it) till after said contingency of achievement, and keep it as a bonne bouche [something to look forward to] waiting me on the farther side, if ever I get thither! It is needless for you to pity me (except in silence), tho’ I much deserve it; needless for me to say anything farther, especially to write it with such a pen,—comparable to the Laird of Macnab's:2 “Wrang spelling? Wha can spell wi’ sic a a pen!”3——and so I bid my true & excellently human R. adieu again: manet altâ mente4 [stored deep in his soul], he may be well sure, if he likes.

His always

T. Carlyle