The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 26 March 1828; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18280326-TC-JWC-01; CL 4:344-345.


Scotsbrig, Wednesday Night (10 o'clock) [26 March 1828]

My Dearest Wife,

I am just returned from Dumfries, where your melancholy letter1 lay waiting for me; and I write literally for no other purpose but to say where I am, and to beg of you to write me again. I could not find any corner of Dumfries that was not full of uproar; and had to retire to the street, not to send you a letter, but to consider whither I should betake myself for the night; a package of proof-sheets, parcel from Edinr, &c &c having also arrived, and requiring immediate attention. The result was that I determined on coming hither, and waiting till I should hear from you again, which I pray that I may do if possible by return of post, to regulate my farther movements. Direct me how you wish that I should proceed; and if I can I will comply.

Poor Auntie! Poor dear gentle soul, and is it come to this with her! Till your letter reached me, I had never left off hoping; nay my hopes were stronger than my fears. Tell her that I weep for her, and pray for her; yes, pray, as I am enabled, to that great Being to whom the issues both of life and death equally belong. O, Jane!— But what is the use of talking? May the Great God be merciful to her, and to us whom He is threatening to bereave of one so dear to us! Alas! alas! Life is but a Shadow and a Show. But the Substance and the Truth lies beyond it; and they that are of upright heart shall not long and hope in vain.

Mrs Yorkstoun of Hoddam2 died yesterday! To one's mind in this season, the world seems hung in sable; and Death is King of Life.

Write to me directly, Dearest; and compose thy poor fond heart; for the weak and strong alike must front the inevitable. Good Night my own Jeanie, and God bless thee! I am ever

Thy Affectionate Husband, /

Thomas Carlyle.

I would not trouble you with a word of business at such a time: yet if you could send me Alison Grieve's address I would write to her. Some lady (from Preston-kirk, I think) has written to you for a character of her; and Jane wisely reckoning it a sign that Alison was in a hiring condition, has inserted the note among the proofs. Another long letter from Mrs Richardson3 (sent down in like manner) I have not yet looked at. Again good night; and do not neglect to write— Yet not on Thursday night if you have no time.