NEW LETTERS AND MEMORIALS
OF JANE WELSH CARLYLE
"My brave little Woman had, by deed of law, settled her little estate (Craigenputtock) upon her Mother for life; - rent, some Two hundred Pounds, being clearly indispensable there: Fee-simple of the place she had, at the same time, by Will, bequeathed to me, if I survived her! Beautiful soul: I heard of this Will probably once only, and knew that it existed: but never saw it till June or July, 1866." - These words, written by Carlyle in 1869, are part of his unpublished annotations to the Letters and Memorials of his Wife: and though they were not written specifically to introduce the following Letter, they refer directly to the main subject of it, and may serve the purpose of an Introduction.
It may be added in further elucidation of the Letter that Dr. Welsh (Mrs. Carlyle's Father) had died suddenly in 1819, leaving his Widow altogether unprovided for. At the time of his death, and for some years previous, his Practice had become an unusually extensive one, for a Country Doctor; he had taken a Partner (Dr. Howden) into the business and the firm of Welsh and Howden continued to prosper, earning amongst other things a considerable professional income. Dr. Welsh, however, had spent all his savings in purchasing Craigenputtock, - or rather in purchasing his Brothers' and Sisters' prospective
[Page 2] shares of this Estate. To accomplish this he had been obliged to borrow money; and, although at his death the title-deeds of Craigenputtock stood in his name, he owed a considerable sum to his Brother Robert. On the other hand there was, of course, a little money in the Bank, in addition to out-standing debts due to him and his Partner. The final settlement of Dr. Welsh's Estate, which was arrived at in April, 1823, showed a balance of £145-12-3, due to his heirs after all debts had been paid. On submitting to Mrs. Welsh the final settlement and the accounts pertaining to it, her Family Lawyer, Mr. Alexander Donaldson, writes (on the 13th of April, 1823): "I subjoin an abstract of the whole: and that you may have the comfort of being out of debt, and possessed of some share of means, I enclose an Order on the Bank for the balance". (£145-12-3). - Dr. Welsh having died intestate, the real estate, consisting of Craigenputtock and the house in Haddington, became, on his death, the property of his Daughter. She was thus "an Heiress"; but an heiress with a Mother still in the prime of life, entirely dependent upon her. The "beautiful soul," as Carlyle justly calls her, generously came to her Mother's rescue, and sent to her, enclosed in this little Letter, a legal document which conveyed to her the unconditional ownership of the Haddington property, and made over to her "during all the days of her lifetime, all and whole the Lands of Upper Craigenputtock."
To Her Mother.
Haddington, '19 July, 1825.'
My dearest Mother - Perhaps you will consider the enclosed a needless formality. It ought to have been done
[Page 3] long since, nevertheless; and should have been done but for my dislike of talking to Mr. Donaldson about my private affairs. This foolish feeling, which has prevented me hitherto from carrying my intention into effect, might have prevented me, I believe, still longer, had I not promised to Mr. Carlyle when he was last here, that before we met again he should be delivered from the thought of loving an Heiress, a thought which is actually painful to his proud and generous nature.
The inclosed Paper conveys to you the Life-rent of Craigenputtock, and places the House here and everything belonging to it at your entire disposal to sell or burn or do anything you please with (I mention this to save you the trouble of reading the three long pages in which it is expressed). In the event of my marriage, which may possibly happen some time within the next six years, you might find it more advisable to sell than let it (for of course we will never part); - but that is a far-away consideration.
I write to avoid speaking on the subject; and I will esteem it particularly kind if you will not say a word to me about it.
Yours ever affectionately,
Jane B. Welsh.
Kelhead Kilns ("The purest lime in Scotland") are some twelve miles eastward from Dumfries, on the Upper or "new" road from that Town to Annan and Carlisle and London; cottages of quarry people are scattered about, or stand in bits of rows, here and there, around the great
[Page 4] chasm and pillar of smoke; no other form of village or house there: Hoddam Hill is two miles north by a branch road which makes off at right angles there, and goes straight for Ecclefechan, passing within 400 yards of our door, and still closer by the old grey sandstone Tower on the crown of the Hill, before descending, as it now rapidly does, towards Annan Water (Hoddam Brig) and the beautiful green plain or valley-side, which lies beyond, with its long avenue of big shady Beeches which continues to Ecclefechan about two miles off. My dear little Pilgrim dates from Dumfries, where she now was, with her three Aunts and Grandmother who had shifted thither ("Albany place" there) from Penfillan, since the Grandfather's (John Welsh's) death. Her regular abode, perhaps for the last month or more, was "Templand'', near Thornhill (almost right across the River from Penfillan, at a mile's distance and mutually visible): at this season she was apt to be on visit there with her Mother to Grandfather Walter and "Aunt Jeannie," both of whom, especially Aunt Jeannie (a very pattern of amiability, modest neatness and dexterity), she much liked. The place, a little Farm, with hardy old Farmhouse, thin and high, is beautifully situated on a broad knoll in the valley of the Nith; and had been trimmed, by Aunt Jeannie's frugal ingenuity and assiduity, into quite a beauty of a rustic Dwellinghouse with garden and appurtenances; a right pleasant shelter for the old Papa! Aunt Jeannie's own course had been sad enough, cheerful as her air was; and she died in some three years more. Grizzie (Grace or Grisel, my Mother-in-law), her elder Sister, had removed to Templand for residence, so soon as Comley Bank, Edinburgh, was ready for us and ours; she, on Sister's last illness, took charge of her Father (equally skilful, equally generous, tho' much less patient and amenable); and continued there till her own death.
My poor Tugurium of Hoddam Hill had kindled its
[Image fp4: TEMPLAND, NEAR THORNHILL.]
[Page 5] household fire in May last, or earlier, and been my habitation ever since: one of the simplest establishments a Writing Man, out of health, and not far in of money, or of any other resource, could contrive for himself in this world! But it did hitherto quite prosperously well for me, and was felt as an immense relief from the intolerable fret, noise and confusion that had gone before. Brother Alick, with a cheap little man-servant, worked the farm, on his own footing and responsibility; my dear old Mother, with our maid-servant, and generally with Jean (always with her or Jenny, my two youngest Sisters, - Mainhill, with Father and two eldest ditto, only five miles off, in constant intercourse with us). Brother John, home from Edinburgh in Summer time, was usually our guest, botanizing, reading, good-humouredly roving about, - largely arguing too, and chopping speculative logic, when you would indulge him. The truth is, our Cottage Farmhouse (built for poor "Blackadder the Factor") was a neat enough kind of place, pretending even to something of ornamental (had its aims in that direction been at all attended to, as they had not); it was thoroughly watertight; had the essentials of utility, plenty of light, and at least two rooms of fair height and size most frugally but quite effectively furnished, which served me perfectly as bedroom and sittingroom, or working-room and diningroom; and were considered as my peculiar acquirement and conquest in the adventure. I had ample power of riding; and largely profited by it, in the airy expanses all about, silent, not desert, and known to me long ago. By day and by night, I had the blessed immunity from noise; none knows how welcome to me. Within my four walls was no soul that did not love me. I had steady work too, or was beginning to see it steady; - had bargained with Tait at Edinburgh, in April last, for the poor "German Romance" affair; and was busy, busy, reading for it, searching, modelling, considering, making ready to translate. Still more important processes were going on
[Page 6] in my inner man, tho' as yet but half-consciously; wait till they become conscious! Truly a Tugurium far more unfurnished might have served me on those terms. For the rest it had the finest and vastest prospect all round it I ever saw from any house: from Tyndale Fell to St. Bees Head, all Cumberland as in amphitheatre unmatchable; Galloway mountains, Moffat mountains, Selkirk ditto, Roxburgh ditto; - nowise indifferent ever to me, in spite of the prevailing cant on such matters; which always are subordinate extremely, and never supreme or near it.
Of course we were all on tiptoe expecting such a visit almost as if from the skies; and I, expectant I, was ready with two swift little horses, that Thursday evening at Kelhead. ... She stayed with us above a week, happy, as was very evident, and making happy. Her demeanour among us I could define as unsurpassable; spontaneously perfect. From the first moment, all embarrassment, even my Mother's, as tremulous and anxious as she naturally was (superficially timid in the extreme, tho' only superficially), fled away without return. Everybody felt the all-pervading, simple grace, the perfect truth and perfect trustfulness of that beautiful, cheerful, intelligent and sprightly creature; and everybody was put at his ease. The questionable visit was a clear success on all hands.
She and I went riding about; the weather dry and grey, - nothing ever going wrong with us; - my guidance taken beyond criticism; she ready for any pace, rapid or slow; melodious talk, of course, never wanting. The country, quiet, airy, wholesome, has real beauty of its kind; and in parts (Hoddam Brig, for example) is even mildly picturesque. One evening, in that region, we had got into the "rooky wood" and fine quiet Hill of Woodcockair (mysterious to me in my childhood as the home of the rooks I saw flying overhead); we rode prosperously a
[Page 7] pretty while; then rashly thought of gaining the summit for a grand view northward; - but ere long the ground became altogether stumbly; I hastily dismounted, found it to consist indeed of mere tumbled sandstone crags overgrown with blae-berries; and with great caution, not without terror, led her down, who sat quite fearless, into safe tracks again. Except once, long years ago, I had hardly ever been in mysterious Woodcockair before; and have never since been. The evening flight of its rooks over Ecclefechan, flinging down their hoarse, fitful Even-song on us, or oftener voiceless far overhead, is one of the earliest recollections of my childhood, and still beautiful to me.
We rode one day to Annan, dined with R. Dixon and his Wife (Edward Irving's Sister, kind reasonable people); another day was chess at Hoddam Manse between the fine old Clergyman, Mr. Yorstoun and her (rivals at that game, in Nithsdale, before now); this also was a pleasant little expedition for both of us, tho' in the chess part of it, I played spectator only.
Perhaps our nicest expedition was that to The Grange, a pleasant little islet of a Lairdship, nine or ten miles away, northward among the sleek Sheep Hills; whose Laird and Leddy (Mr. and Mrs. Johnston, the latter a Newbigging from Glasgow) were persons of real politeness and refinement; pretty much my one visiting place in Annandale in those years. We rode up by Castle Milk, on one of those two Saturdays, staid over-night: and rode home next morning, by Dalbate, Dunaby Hope, and Waterbeck; a most still and pretty ride as I still remember. The Ecclefechan small contribution to Hoddam Kirk, slowly wending thitherward together, were the only people we had to disturb, even by a momentary transit. Of course she went to Mainhill, - tho' I don't recollect. Certain she made complete acquaintance with my Father (whom she much esteemed and even admired now and henceforth, a reciprocal feeling, strange enough), and with my two elder
[Page 8] Sisters, Margaret and Mary, - who now officially "kept house" with Father there. On the whole she made clear acquaintance with us all; saw, face to face, us and the rugged peasant element and way of life we had; - and was not afraid of it; but recognised like her noble self, what of intrinsic worth it might have, what of real human dignity. She charmed all hearts, and was herself visibly glad and happy, - right loth to end those halcyon days; eight or perhaps nine, the utmost appointed sum of them.
As I rode with her to Dumfries, she did not attempt to conceal her sorrow; - and indeed our prospect ahead was cloudy enough. I could only say, Espérons, espérons. To her the Haddington, etc., element had grown dreary and unfruitful; no geniality of life possible there; and, I doubt not, many petty frets and contradictions. Espérons, my Dearest, espérons. We left our horses at the Commercial-Inn door; I walked with her, not in gay mood either, to Albany Place, and there on her Grandmother's threshold, had to say Farewell. In my whole life I can recollect no week so like a Sabbath as that had been to me; clear, peaceful, mournfully beautiful, blessed and as if sacred! - T. C.
To Mrs. Carlyle, Hoddam Hill, Ecclefechan.
Dumfries, Saturday, '27 August, 1825.'.
My dear Madam - Your Son, I hope has explained to you, that I am not the very uncertain person whom you have had good reason to take me for; and that my delay in making out my projected visit to you has been occasioned by circumstances, over which I had no control. At length, thank Heaven, there is no longer any obstacle to my wishes; and I purpose being with you on Thursday next, about eight in the evening.
You must not receive me as a stranger, remember;
[Page 9] for I do not come with a stranger's feelings. Mr. Carlyle has made me already acquainted with every member of his Family: and no one he loves can be indifferent to me, who have a Sister's interest in all that concerns him. Moreover you must prepare yourself to like me, if you possibly can, or your Son, I can assure you, will be terribly disappointed. Say to him that he must write me two lines by Monday's post, or I shall not be sure that my Letter has reached you. The address is Miss Baillie Welsh, Albany Place.
Yours with respect,
JANE B. WELSH.
P. S. - The Coach in which I have taken a seat passes Kelhead about a quarter before eight o'clock.
This Letter to my Mother (dear kind Letter!) I must have brought with me from Templand. Legible without commentary, - or with almost none. The Nithsdale visit is about terminating; and dull distant Haddington, with an uncertain future, lies ahead.
"The Fair" is Dumfries Rood-mass Fair, the chief one of the year in that locality. "Mag" is our lamented Margaret, my eldest Sister (four Brothers of us and four Sisters; all yet alive, except this one), who died five years after this, at Dumfries, whither we (in Craigenputtock then) had brought her for better medical aid, to no purpose, or less than none. A comely, quiet, intelligent, affectionate and altogether mildly-lucent creature (tho' of strong heart and will); simplex munditiis the definition of her, in person, mind and life. The dearest, practically wisest little child in her fourth or fifth years that I can remember to have seen. She had become my Father's life-cloak (so to speak), his do-all, and necessary-of-life;
[Page 10] he visibly sank on loss of her, and died within two years. To me it was the most poignant sorrow I had yet felt; and continued long with me, - nay at intervals is not yet quite dead. June, 1830, that dusky dusty evening with its poor noises, while she rode in a chair on my sorrowing Wife's knee, I walking by their side, to the new lodging we had got for her; which only lasted half a week! June 21, Alick and I were called, by express to ride (ever memorable "shortest-night" with its woods and skies); about 3 A.M., we found her dead: - about sunset that evening riding home alone, so broken by emotions and fatigues, I fairly, on getting into the quite solitary woods of Irongray, burst into loud weeping, lifted up my voice and wept, for perhaps ten or twenty minutes, - never the like since. We all of us mourned long; and the memory of our good Margaret is still solemnly beautiful to all of us. The little "Jean," another Sister, will appear personally soon.
"Dr. Waugh." a Cousin of my Mother's (only Son of her Mother's Sister) tho' but a few years older than I, - had been my Schoolfellow at "Annan Academy"; and still came occasionally over to us from Annan, his native place; where he had commenced Medical practice, and in spite of his bits of pedantries, flat-soled affectations, and ridiculosities, was held in kind enough esteem. He proved, however, more and more, a foolish indolent fellow; sluttishly squandered considerable gifts, qualities and resources, lumbering about in that region; and died there utterly poor, lazy and obscure, age perhaps about sixty. The last time I saw him was in February, 1842, silently and without his guessing or dreaming of it, - I sitting muffled on the top of the Mail-coach (hurrying from Liverpool towards Templand, on my Mother-in-law's death), he lazily and gloomily stepping across the street, on some dull errand he had, thro' the dim rimy morning while our horses were being changed. His Father, in whose house I had boarded while at school, was a strange,
[Page 11] awkward but excellent terræ filius and original; much laughed at still more esteemed: a man of many thoughts (heterodox considerably, it was surmised), and of no speech except in rude bursts; but who was (if any man ever was) absolutely without mendacity of word or mind, and would not do injustice (as I often noticed) to a very dog. Prosperous shoemaker by craft; - and far the best that ever cut leather for me. Poor "Old Waugh," be rises bright and luminous on my memory still; - as if I too had seen a bit of a living Hans Sachs! - T. C.
To Mrs. Carlyle, Hoddam Hill, Ecclefechan.
Templand, 9th Oct.,'1825.'
My dear Mrs. Carlyle - Mr. Carlyle has heard from me so often since we parted, that writing to anyone else of the family seemed superfluous. But I am not by any means unmindful of my promise to you; and purpose sending you a long Letter at no distant day. In the mean time my friend will tell you all about me; how shockingly I look, and how discontented I run, and various other particulars which you may care to know; and moreover he will give you a piece of muslin for a gown (provided he does not leave it on the road), which I send in the hope that while it lasts, it will sometimes bring me to your remembrance. I wish you may not think the pattern overgay; but I noticed you looked best in a light colour. Nevertheless should you dislike the thing, on no account wear it, but give it to Mag, who is young enough for all the hues of the rainbow.
It was exceedingly vexatious that we did not meet on the Fair-day, in Dumfries. Had I been my own mistress, I would have made a point of seeking you out; but on
[Page 12] that occasion, as on too many others, I was subject to a bondage which you who lie out of the cold ceremony of towns are happily ignorant of. Let us hope that it will not be always thus!
Now that the harvest is concluded, you must not fail in your promise to let Jean have leisure for her Latin lessons. You know "she is good for nothing else"; and this, I am confident, will be of use to her. Were it but permitted me to take charge of her education myself! Such an arrangement, in my present circumstances, is out of the question, but perhaps it may be managed at some future time. I do not despair.
God bless you all; I am going far from you; and who knows when we shall meet again? But wherever I go, I shall never cease to remember dear Annandale, and the friends I have left behind with so much regret. In the words of the Song (as Dr. Waugh would say), "Nor change o' place nor change o' folk can gar my fancy gee." And with this assurance, I remain,
Yours truly and affectionately,
JANE B. WELSH.
In the beginning of 1826, or perhaps before that year quite began, I went to Edinburgh, to start the printing of German Romance; and staid some weeks, watching and directing till that business was fairly under way. Printers were the Ballantynes; - their incomparable Foreman, M'Corkindale, a gigantic man, with anxious patient eyes, voice ditto but strangely stammery (blurted out on you as if one syllable, what, on study, you found to be a sentence, admirably brief, good-natured and intelligent); man
[Page 13] "capable of sitting thirty hours there," I was told, "without sleep and without erratum", is still memorable to me. Of course I was at Haddington again; the Translating, I conclude, was suspended till my return home; - exact dates now lost. Letters themselves turned up unexpectedly, last Summer; honour to the dear Repositress, my ever careful and pious Mother, - preparing for her Son some beautiful and solemn hours as yet far off!
The "James Johnstone" spoken of here was a townsfellow, and then a College acquaintance, of mine; six or seven years my elder, but very fond of discoursing with me, and much my companion while in Annandale within reach. A poor and not a very gifted man, but a faithful, diligent and accurate; of quietly pious, candid, pure character, - and very much attached to me. In return I liked him honestly well; learnt something from him (the always diligently exact in Book-matters); perhaps ultimately taught him something; and had great satisfaction in his company (in the years 1814-'16, and occasionally afterwards). Poor James could not succeed in the world: perhaps it was about 1820 when (after much sorry Schoolmastering, having renounced Divinity pursuits), he went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, on a Tutorage, well-paid and hopeful enough; got almost frozen there, got fever-and-ague there, etc., etc.; and returned in a year or so, with health permanently injured, and outlook more forlorn than ever, Dark times for poor James, - I mostly distant in Edinburgh, and not corresponding much. At length he heard of Haddington Parish School; applied to me; I sent him with his Testimonials, etc., to Her. - She, generous Heroine, adopted his cause as if it had been mine and her own; convinced Gilbert Burns (a main card in such things), convinced, etc.,etc.; and, ere long, sees him admitted, as fairly the fittest man! - He started, prospered, took an Annandale Wife; "fortunate at last"! - but, alas, his poor agues, etc., still hung about him, and in five or six years he died. I think I saw him only twice after the present date; once at Haddington,
[Page 14] in his own house with Wife and little Daughter; once at Comley Bank on a "Saturday-till-Monday," rather dreary both times; - and I had, and again have, to say, Adieu, my poor good James!
"Shawbrae" (Anglice, "Wood-Hill," tho' there is not now a stick near it) was a "Duke's Farm" fallen vacant; which my Brother Alick now pressingly wanted, - but (happily) did not get. She knew the Queensberry Factor (a popular Major Crichton, very omnipotent in such cases), knew intimately well his clever Wife; and it was thought a word in that quarter might be useful. - T. C.
To Mrs. Carlyle, Hoddam Hill.
Haddington, Wednesday, 'Spring, 1826.'.
My dear Mrs. Carlyle - Thomas mentioned your wish to hear from me, more than two weeks since, and the intimation, I assure you, would have placed me at my writing-desk forthwith; but that it happened I had a cap for you just then on hand, which I somehow settled in my own mind must go along with the letter. - Now, I am by no means, the speediest needlewoman in the world, as you had ample opportunity of noticing while I sojourned at the Hill; and besides I have been unfitted for working at anything lately, but by starts, owing to an almost continual severe pain in my head: so that, all things considered, it is sufficiently intelligible how, with the best intentions, I should not have put the finishing stitch to this labour of love, till within the present hour. And what is it, after all my pains? Alas, that I have to fall on so paltry a shift to manifest my affectionate remembrance of you! Alas, that it has not pleased Fate to make me a
[Image fp14: MRS. CARLYLE'S BIRTHPLACE, HADDINGTON.]
[Page 15] powerful Queen, or even a powerful subject! Alas, finally, that the whole Universe is not ordered just according to my good pleasure! - It is better, you are thinking, as it is. Well! at bottom perhaps I think so too. But yet the wide discrepancy between my wishes and my powers will, at times, send a sharp pang through my heart, and tempt me to doubt, if indeed whatever is, be best.
Will you believe it, Mr. Carlyle has been within sixteen miles of me for three weeks, and we have not once seen each other's face! Now, is not this a pretty story? Can any one fancy a severer trial of patience? Positively, I am expecting to have my name transmitted to posterity along with the Patriarch Job's; for the woman who could undergo this thing, and yet not die of rage, could also survive, with a meek spirit, the carrying away of oxen and asses, the burning up of sheep, and even the smothering of sons and daughters. However, it seems probable he will speedily return for a longer period; and in the meantime, perhaps Fate may get into a more gracious humour: if she does not, I see nothing for it but to take the upper hand with her, - if we can. - Enter James Johnstone! -
Well! here is one thing settled to my heart's content; the Parish School is actually ours. Honest James was told the good news of his election, sitting by my side; and it would be difficult to say whether he or I was the happier. For, besides the pleasure which, I knew, this termination of the business would give to "Somebody," I have very good cause to be rejoiced at it upon my own account. Mr. Johnstone will be worth his weight of gold to me, in
[Page 16] my present situation; I am so ill off for some one to talk to about - Greek and Latin!
Were the Shawbrae but come to as happy an issue I should take heart and think that "the wheel of my Destiny" had made a turn. But "where an equal poise of hope and fear does arbitrate the event, my nature is," that I incline to fear rather than hope. The Major will surely not keep us much longer in suspense. I must now write a few lines to Jean in return for her postscript. Remember me in the kindest manner to all the rest. Make much of Thomas now that you have got him back again. And never cease to think of me with affection. It will be long before I forget you or the time I passed beside you.
P. S. - I will send a proper front for "my" caps when I go to Edinburgh; but there is no such thing to be got in this Royal Borough. A certain Barber in the place is the happy possessor of three red ones; a black one, I suppose, would have been too much. The muslin cap, you will perceive, has met with an accident behind, which I hope you will put up with on account of the excellence of my darning.
At Templand, Tuesday, 17th October, 1826, we were wedded (in the quietest fashion devisable; Parish Minister, and except my Brother John, no other stranger present); and, directly after breakfast, drove off, on similar terms, for Comley Bank, Edinburgh; and arrived there that night. The following is a postscript to a Letter of mine - T. C.
To Mrs. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
21, Comley Bank, 9 Dec., 1826.
My dear Mother - I must not let this Letter go without adding my "be of good cheer." You would rejoice to see how much better my Husband is than when we came hither. And we are really very happy; and when he falls upon some work, we shall be still happier. Indeed I should be very stupid or very thankless, if I did not congratulate myself every hour of the day on the lot which it has pleased Providence to assign me. My Husband is so kind! so, in all respects, after my own heart! I was sick one day, and he nursed me as well as my own Mother could have done, and he never says a hard word to me - unless I richly deserve it. We see great numbers of people here, but are always most content alone. My Husband reads then, and I read or work, or just sit and look at him, which I really find as profitable an employment as any other. God bless you and my little Jean, whom I hope to see at no very distant date.
Ever affectionately yours,
JANE B. WELSH.
The "Book" mentioned here with such enthusiasm (beautiful soul!) is that wretched "Didactic Novel"; which, in spite of all my obstinacy, declared itself desperate soon after this; and was shoved aside for other tasks, -
[Page 18] at last bodily into the fire. "The Doctor," i. e. Brother John, appears to have been on visit to us at this time. Carrier's "name," nickname properly, was "Waffler". [loiterer]: he stuttered intensely, drank much whisky and had sunk in the world (pitied, laughed-at, almost loved), down to "Bobby". (B - b - bobby!) and the road-car Bobby drew. - T. C.
To Mrs, Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
21, Comley Bank, 17 Feb., 1827.
My dear Mother - My Husband is busy below stairs with his Book, and I, it seems, am this time to be the writer: - with greater willingness than ability, indeed; for I have been very stupid these some days with cold. But you must not be left in the idea that we are so neglectful as we have seemed: a little packet was actually written to go by the Carrier on Wednesday (my modesty will not allow me to call him by his popular name); when the rain fell and the wind blew so that no living creature durst venture to his quarters. The Doctor proceeded as early as was good for his health the following morning, in case fortune in the shape of bad weather or whisky had interposed delay; by that time however, Carrier, boxes and Bobby, were all far on the road. So you see there was nothing for it but to write by post, which I lose no time in doing.
And now let me thank you for the nice eggs and butter
[Image fp18: NO. 21, COMLEY BANK, EDINBURGH.]
[Page 19] which arrived in the best preservation, - and so opportunely! just when I was lamenting over the emptied cans, as one who had no hope. Really it is most kind in you to be so mindful and helpful of our Town-wants; and most gratifying to us to see ourselves so cared for. ...
The new Book is going on at a regular rate; and I would fain persuade myself that his health and spirits are at the same regular rate improving: more contented he certainly is, since he applied himself to this task; for he was not born to be anything but miserable in idleness. Oh that he were indeed well, well beside me, and occupied as he ought! How plain and clear would Life then lie before us! I verily believe there would not be such a happy pair of people on the face of the whole Earth! Yet we must not wish this too earnestly. How many precious things do we not already possess which others have not - have hardly an idea of! Let us enjoy these then, and bless God that we are permitted to enjoy them, rather than importune His goodness with vain longings for more.
Indeed we lead a most quiet and even happy life here: within doors all is warm, is swept and garnished; and without the country is no longer winter-like, but beginning to be gay and green. Many pleasant people come to see us; and such of our visitors as are not pleasant people, have at least the good effect of enhancing to us the pleasure of being alone. Alone we never weary: if I have not Jean's enviable gift of talking, I am at least among the best listeners in the Kingdom. And my Husband has always something interesting and instructive to say. Then we have Books to read; all sorts of them from Scott's
[Page 20] Bible down to Novells: and I have sewing needles and purse-needles, and all conceivable implements for lady's work. There is a Piano too, for "soothing the savage breast." ...
So Jean is not coming to us yet. Well, I am sorry for it, but I hope the time is coming. In the meantime she must be a good girl, and read as much as she has time for, and above all things cultivate this talent of speech; for I am purposing to learn from her when she comes. It is my Husband's worst fault to me that I will not, or rather cannot speak; often when he has talked for an hour without answer, he will beg for some sign of life on my part; and the only sign I can give is a little kiss. Well! that is better than nothing, don't you think? -
(Mrs. Carlyle ends here, and Carlyle takes the pen in hand). "So far," he says, "had the Goodwife proceeded, when visitors arrived, and the sheet was left unfinished," etc. ...
To Miss Jean Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
Comley Bank, 13 Nov., 1827.
My dear Jean - I find Mr. Thomas has left me nothing to say, except merely to add my supplication to his, That you will come without more ado. There is nothing in the world to hinder you and you have already been kept too long in expectation. My only fear is that the hopes you have been all this while pleasing yourself with, will hardly be realized; ... any way you are sure of one thing
[Page 21] - the heartiest welcome. - My kind regards to your Father and Mother and all the rest. Tell them we will take the best care of you; so they need not fear to let you go.
JANE WELSH CARLYLE.
I remember almost nothing of that Scotsbrig journey, - except my arrival or approach through Middlebie, on a clear windy night, riding solus, on my old mischievous swift Larry; - and the strange pathetic nearly painful feeling which the smell of the peat-fires sent into me there! Journey was undertaken doubtless for Craigenputtock's sake: Alick and Sister Mary were already resident and busy there since about October last. My two nights at Craigenputtock with them (middle of March or so) I vividly enough recollect: Proof-sheets of Goethe's Helena in my pocket; and Dumfries "architects" to confer with. Scene grim enough, outlook too rather ditto; but resolution fixed enough. Poor little Sister Jean, now with us begins:
To Mrs. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
21, Comley Bank, 19th Feb., 1828.
"My dear Mother - I was unwilling to fill up this room which I knew might have been used to more purpose; but I am to write good or bad. And I may here thank you very heartily for the nice little gown that you sent me: and I may also say that fortune seems to fa-" (little Jean ceases here, and Mrs. Carlyle begins) vour, I suppose; but the rest will follow in another place; here I must write a few lines. For in a minute Ellen will be come in with materials for a Dumpling to regale my Aunt Grace at dinner, and I shall have little enough time to
[Page 22] manufacture it, being to attend a chemical Lecture in the College at 2 o'clock. I were very ungrateful, however, if I did not thank you by the earliest opportunity for the shower of "Christian coomfoarts" you have sent down on us, particularly on unworthy me. The drawers I have had on, and find still more comfortable than my flannel ones; the stockings too are far warmer than Cruickshank's, particularly the black ones which look as if they were made for eternity.
And Mag, I am sure, will be glad to hear that no egg was broken; only one or two of the uppermost layer were cracked, and these we fried and ate upon the spot. In short, the box as a whole gave high and general satisfaction; and is likely to keep us all in mind of Scotsbrig for some twelve months to come; for I see not how all these puddings and hams, etc., are to be consumed in a shorter period. I for one, so long as the ham lasts, shall every morning at breakfast remember you with thanksgiving; and perhaps some time after it is done!
In case Jean does not tell you herself, I may assure you she is doing exceedingly well. She enjoys good health, seems content with her earthly lot, and by her good behaviour gives the greatest contentment to both her Brother and me. So keep your good heart at rest about her; for I dare promise you will have no occasion to repent letting her come.
You enquire after my dear little Aunt; I grieve to say she is no better. Indeed last week she was in the most perilous condition with spasms in her lungs. At present however, thank God, she is out of danger. Surely the warm weather will bring her round again; in nothing else have I any hope.
Carlyle is to be down to you in a few weeks; but recollect you are not to keep him above a day or two. - I must off to my Dumpling; I am already too late.
God bless you all.
JANE WELSH CARLYLE.
By the 26th of May, 1828, the Carlyles had entered into occupation of Craigenputtock, an estate of 800 acres, the patrimony of Mrs. Carlyle (tho', as we have seen, she had made over the life-rent of it to her Mother). The removal from a rented house in Edinburgh to their own property was a very natural and wise move on the part of the young couple: for they were both poor, and Carlyle, like other young literary men, found much difficulty in "getting under way." Mrs. Carlyle, however, was not dragged thither against her will, as Mr. Froude insists; for Carlyle writes, a little while before the removal, "both Jane and I are very fond of the project" (Carlyle's Early Letters, i. 34). They went there in search of a home and in search of health; and they were not disappointed. Many long years afterwards, looking back on their life there, Carlyle says, "perhaps these were our happiest days" (Reminiscences, i. 83). Mr. Froude, indeed, has depicted Mrs. Carlyle's life at Craigenputtock as one of the loneliest and dreariest possible; but Mrs. Carlyle's Letters, written there and then, do not confirm his view of the matter; they confute and falsify it almost as specifically as tho' they had been written for the purpose. Mr. Froude has confessed that he knew practically nothing of her life there; for he says (mistakenly) that few of her Letters were preserved; and he adds that, in consequence, "we are left pretty much to guess her condition; and of guesses the fewer that are ventured the better". (Life, ii, 147). But, nevertheless, he has ventured on a good many "guesses," and how bad these guesses were Mrs. Carlyle's Early Letters, published in 1889, makes clearly manifest. Let us compare a few of Mr. Froude's "guesses" with Mrs. Carlyle's facts.
One "guess" (which, however, he sets forth as a fact) was that Mrs. Carlyle was obliged to milk the cows "with her own hands." Mrs. Carlyle herself writes: "Another question
[Image fp24: CRAIGENPUTTOCK.]
[Page 25] that is asked me, so often as I am abroad, is how many cows I keep; which question, to my eternal shame as a housewife, I have never yet been enabled to answer, having never ascertained up to this moment whether there are seven cows or eleven. The fact is, I take no delight in cows, and have happily no concern with them." (Mrs. Carlyle's Early Letters, p. 137).
Mr, Froude states, and insists on it over and over again, that Craigenputtock was "the dreariest spot in all the British dominions." Mrs. Carlyle writes: "Indeed, Craigenputtock is no such frightful place as the people call it. ... The solitude is not so irksome as one might think. If we are cut off from good society, we are also delivered from bad; ... I read and work, and talk with my husband and never weary. (Ibid, 129.) And again: "Returned to our desert [from a visit to Edinburgh], it affrighted me only the first day. The next day it became tolerable, and the next again positively pleasant. On the whole, the mere outward figure of one's place of abode seems to be a matter of moonshine in the long run." (Ibid, 149).
Mr. Froude says her health was permanently broken by the privations she had to endure, the hard menial labour and drudgery she had to perform at Craigenputtock. Mrs. Carlyle writes: "You would know what I am doing in these moors? Well, I am feeding poultry (at long intervals, and merely for form's sake), and I am galloping over the country on a bay horse, and baking bread, and improving my mind, and eating and sleeping, and making and mending, and, in short, wringing whatever good I can from the ungrateful soil of the world. On the whole, I was never more contented in my life; one enjoys such freedom and quietude here. Nor have we purchased this at the expense of other accommodations; for we have a good house to live in, with all the necessaries of life, and even some touch of the superfluities." (Ibid, 156).
Then, as to her health, she says, writing from Craigenputtock,
[Page 26] in Nov., 1833, near the end of her sojourn there: "To say the truth, my whole life has been a sort of puddling as to health. Too much of schooling hadst thou, poor Ophelia!" Too much of schooling, mark, not too much of menial labour! The fact is, her health had never been good; but it was better while she was at Craigenputtock than anywhere else. She makes few if any complaints of her health while staying there; but on every occasion when she leaves it her health breaks down, and recovers on her return. Witness her trip to Templand, described in Letter 9 of the present Collection; her stay in London in the Winter of 1831-32, when her health "worsened," as Carlyle says (see post, p. 34); her journey to Moffat in Autumn, 1833, where she grew worse, and said on her return; "I am hardly yet so well as before I went thither" (Mrs. Carlyle's Early Letters, 247); and lastly, her visit to Edinburgh in the Winter of 1833-4. On this occasion she grew seriously ill, and wrote to Dr. Carlyle: "In truth, I am always so sick now and so heartless that I cannot apply myself to any mental effort without a push from necessity" (Life, ii., 334); and it seems that, although she had in Edinburgh the best of medical treatment, she grew no better; for Carlyle writes: "Jane has walked very strictly by old Dr. Hamilton's law, without any apparent advantage" (Life, ii., 344). But after breathing the fine bracing air of Craigenputtock again for a little, she is able to say, "Since my homecoming I have improved to a wonder, and the days have passed I scarce know how, in the pleasant listlessness (Mr. Froude prints 'hopelessness') that long-continued pain sometimes leaves behind" (Life, ii., 352).
Mr. Froude reluctantly confesses that there were two horses in the stable; and that Carlyle and his Wife "occasionally rode or walked together. ... But the occasions grew rarer and rarer" (Life, ii., 45). Mrs. Carlyle writes, so late as June, 1832, "Every fair morning we ride on horseback for an hour before breakfast" (post, p. 43).
Mr. Froude says, "Carlyle was essentially solitary ...
[Page 27] he preferred to be alone with his thoughts." Mrs. Carlyle writes, "My husband is as good company as reasonable mortal could desire" (post, p. 43).
Mr. Froude says, "Nay, it might happen that she had to black the grates to the proper polish.". Mrs. Carlyle was very proud of her bright-steel grates, and though she had never been taught even the rudiments of housekeeping, it could scarcely "happen", that she would be foolish enough to daub bright-steel grates with dirty black-lead!
The above are only a few specimens of Mr. Froude's "guesses" and delusions in regard to Mrs. Carlyle's life at Craigenputtock. These, tho' they could be added to indefinitely, must suffice. One cannot, in any reasonable space, point out all his perversities. For truly, one may say, "of making many" corrections in Froude "there is no end." One makes two or three, or it may be two or three hundred, and then feels inclined to give up in despair; for the number of errors still remaining seems to reach so far away into infinity that the task of overtaking them all would throw the Labours of Hercules quite into the shade.
Mrs. Carlyle has gone down to Templand to consult with her Mother about ordering curtains and other furnishings for her new home at Craigenputtock. She is taken ill by the way, is detained longer than she expected and writes this Letter to allay her Husband's anxieties.
To T. Carlyle, Craigenputtock.
Templand, 20 August, 1828.
Kindest and dearest of Husbands - Are you thinking
[Page 28] you are never to see my sweet face any more? Indeed this long self-banishment may well surprise you; but when you hear how I have been forced to stay voluntarily you will excuse it.
The Bundels do not like fresh air; and I get sick in a carriage without it: accordingly, by the time we reached Wallace Hall that night, what with their close mode of travelling, and Miss Anderson's green tea, I found myself ready to faint. I hoped a sound sleep would put me all to rights; but no sleep was to be had; and the morning found me entirely demolished. In a case of this sort, to walk to Templand seemed an impossibility, and the Bundel carriage was gone to Dumfries to fetch old ladies. Mr. Anderson, (the Minister) was very pressing that I would join my Mother, and Agnes at his house at Dinner; and so I staid, simply because I was unable to go away. My Mother was almost frightened into fits when she found me sitting "like a picture," in the room where she was put to take off her shawl. Well, I had yawned over the forenoon; I almost groaned over the afternoon; - and at length was landed at Templand little more than alive. For once my Mother succeeded in persuading me that I was very bilious, and must submit to be treated accordingly. And so I have been spending half the days in bed, taking physic, even castor, brandy also to a considerable extent, and various other items, "which," I am told, "are to do me good." In a few days I shall be returned to you, a well-physicked Goody. On Sunday perhaps you could send William, for me, with the horse. By which
[Page 29] time I expect to have tried the water at Moffat Wells!
Meantime the business I came about is not neglected. Agnes wrote away to Glasgow the other night, so that the curtains, etc, might be sent by the Carrier on Friday. I have ordered them not of chintz, but moreen, which is against your taste, and hardly according to my own; but the latter article proved on enquiry to be far the thriftier as well as the most comfortable; and therefore the best adapted for our purpose. Carpets are not chaip at Glasgow, none being manufactured there. But I am to get one at Sanquhar as low-priced as my Grandmother's and of better quality. There are said to be excellent shoes at Sanquhar. It is a pity I have not your measure. In the meantime however I have got from my Mother a pair of waterproof half-boots for you, which, tho' not quite new, I am sure will be a great temporal blessing, provided they fit.
What progress you will have been making with Burns in my absence! I wish I were back to see it; and to give you a kiss for every minute I have been absent. But you will not miss me so terribly as I did you. Dearest, I do love you! Is it not a proof of this that I am wearying to be back to Craigenputtock even as it stands, and while everyone here is trying to make my stay agreeable to me! Indeed, I have not been so made of since very long ago. It is a pity my Mother is not always in this humour.
Is there any Letter from Jeffrey, I wonder? I am sure he is to come upon us before we are ready for him.
Excuse this insipid scrawl. I have been sick as death all day with that abominable oleum diaboli. God bless you, Darling. You will send the horses for me on Sunday, und nichts mehr davon!
Ever, ever your true Wife,
JANE WELSH CARLYLE.
To Miss Jean Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
Craigenputtock, Monday, 'Winter, 1828'.
My dear Jean - ... I hope Carlyle told your Mother how much I was gratified by her kind present. I can assure you I am very vain of the beautiful little shawl; so vain that I rode to Templand with it above my habit.
Jenny would tell you of the gallant expedition which Mary and I executed in Carlyle's absence? But nobody can have told you how we were bitten with the cold; or what temptation we resisted to halt for whisky at a public house by the way. I shall not travel in a Winter day again without a small phialful in my pocket.
My kind love to you all, and a kiss to your Father. I shall certainly see your Mother before long. She will come up hither, if there is grace left in her; at all events I will be down.
I hear you are very diligent and very good. I, on the
[Page 31] other hand, am very idle and very bad. I have done no one useful thing for a week, except making thee two daidlies.
JANE W. CARLYLE.
Whether Miss Stodart (old Mr. Bradfute's Niece, subsequently "Revd. Mrs. Aitken of Minto") came to dinner I have no recollection. But I do well remember, one beautiful Summer evening soon after that date, as I lounged out of doors, smoking my evening pipe, silent in the great silence, the woods and hilltops all gilt with the flaming splendour of a summer sun just about to set, - there came a rustle and a sound of hoofs in the little bending avenue on my left (sun was behind the house and me); and the minute after, Brother John and Sister Margaret, direct from Scotsbrig, fresh and handsome on their little horses, ambled up; one of the gladest sights and surprises to me. John had found a Letter from Goethe for me at the Post-office, Dumfries; this, having sent them indoors, I read in my old posture and place; pure white the fine big sheet itself, still purer the noble meaning, all in it as if mutely pointing to eternity, - Letter fit to be read in such a place and time. Our dear "Mag" staid some couple of weeks or more (made me a nice buff-coloured cotton waistcoat, I remember); she was quietly cheerful, and complained of nothing; but my Darling with her quick eyes had noticed too well (as she then whispered to me) that the "recovery" was only superficial, and that worse might lie ahead. It was the last visit Margaret ever made. - T. C.
To Miss Jean Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
Craigenputtock, 'July, 1829.'
My dear Jean - You will herewith receive a pair of
[Page 32] neat little bootikins; which, tho' somewhat decayed may still be of use to you; if they are too small for yourself perhaps they will fit Jenny, who I am grieved to hear, has been ailing lately. However, I hope she, as well as Mag, is continuing to recover. Thank the latter for her Note. You must also thank your Mother in the kindest manner for all the creature comforts she sent along with it. The bacon ham I purpose cutting up on my birthday, when my Mother and perhaps Miss Stodart is to dine here. All my drawers are perfumed with your woodruff, which brings me in mind of you every time I open them.
I drew the pattern on your collar; and Mary finished it. And when I was at Templand last week, I presented it to my Mother, with as pretty a speech as you could have wished. I assure you she seemed greatly delighted with your remembrance of her, and charged me to tell you so, and much more which you may take for granted, as I have not time at present to detail it all; for I am going to Dumfries to-morrow and have a great many small matters to arrange.
I send a little parcel for your mother which I hope she will accept in her "choicest mood." Tell her, with my kind regards and a kiss, that it was my wedding veil, which will give it more value in her eyes than one of more worth. When are you coming? It is your turn next. Jenny will tell you all about us. God bless you. Ever affectionately yours,
JANE WELSH CARLYLE.
Poor Horse Harry! This was a Horse-epidemic, that hot June day and weeks onward; proved fatal to one of Alick's horses and at last to wild gallant Larry too. Harry was next seized: I had perceived the "Veterinary Licentiate" to be an ignorant puppy, who called windpipe "Larnyx;" him we dismissed; inquired of the Surgeon at Minnyive, how he would treat a man in inflammation of the lungs? "Bleed him, blister on breast, no food but slops"; and, treating poor Harry ourselves in that way, luckily pulled him through. By a perfect hairs-breadth, it seemed to be, for three days long. Every night of these three, She was down, in dressing-gown and slippers, stept across with the flat candlestick, alone under the sky; and one night (probably this of 4 A. M.) the poor creature (in reply to her stalk or two of green ryegrass) touched her cheek with its lips. - T. C.
To Miss Jean Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
Craigenputtock, June, 1831.
My dear Jean - I have kept the promise I made you, it must be confessed, but indifferently; yet more I hope through destiny than my own demerit.
That I do not altogether give myself up to ill-faith, you have a proof in the fact that I am here writing with half-open eyes at four in the morning. Poor Harry has been in the jaws of death: as your Mother would tell me, I made him too much an idol; his sides are all red flesh now, however, so that I am not likely to be very proud of him in a hurry again.
I send my cow's calf to Jenny and her heirs forever;
[Page 34] and hope she will train her up to emulate her Mother's virtues, who is one of the best cows in creation. There are also some other odds and ends; a tea, sugar and milk establishment for you; and the other things are for Mary. Pity they are not more worth. I was meaning to send you, by the same opportunity, Bubblius and one of his turkeys, but she is hatching, so must wait till she has given me chickens. Carlyle is sound asleep. God bless you. Can you not come up with them?
Ever affectionately yours,
JANE WELSH CARLYLE.
She arrived here (in London) about the 1st of October; Brother John and I were in waiting at The Angel, Islington; right well do I remember the day, - and our drive to Tavistock-Square neighbourhood, where our lodging was. She was very happy; much enjoyed London, and the novelties of such "Society" as came about us, all Winter; and, in spite of weak health (which worsened latterly) made no complaint at any time, but took hopefully, and with beautiful sincerity, ingenuity and insight, whatever the novel scene offered us of good, - often singularly bettering it (especially in reference to me) by her true and clever mode of treatment. A little Chapter might be written of our Winter here that year? Too sad; and, except herself only, too insignificant. Among the scrambling miscellany of notables and quasi-notables that hovered about us, Leigh Hunt (volunteer, and towards the end) was probably the best; poor Charles Lamb (more than once, at Enfield, towards the middle of our stay) the worst. He was sinking into drink, poor creature; his fraction of "humour," etc., I
[Page 35] recognised, and recognise, but never could accept for a great thing, - genuine, but an essentially small and Cockney thing; - and now with gin, etc., superadded, one had to say, "Genius?" This is not genius, but diluted insanity: please remove this! Leigh Hunt came in sequel (prettily courteous on his part) to the Article Characteristics; his serious, dignified and even noble physiognomy and bearing, took us with surprise, and much pleased us. Poor Hunt! nowhere or never an ignoble man! - T. C.
To Mrs. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
4, Ampton Street, Gray's Inn Road,
London, 6 October, 1831.
My dear Mother - The Newspaper would give you assurance that I was arrived in London, and in a condition to write your name; but further particulars concerning myself and the barrel, you are still anxiously waiting for; and now that I find myself at liberty to write, it were inhuman to keep you longer in suspense.
To begin with the beginning: After leaving you all with a sad enough heart, and committing myself to the mercy of the waves, my case was none of the pleasantest. Alick [Carlyle] recommended me to go down to the cabin till the vessel got under way; - and I saw no more of the sea till I stept on shore at Liverpool. It was very stormy, and I was mortally sick the whole twenty-four hours. Happily there was no cabin-passenger besides myself. So I had "ample room and verge enough" to make what demonstrations I pleased. My Cousin Alick [Welsh] was
[Page 36] waiting for me on the Dock, with a hackney coach which in a few minutes landed me with my trunks, etc., at my Uncle's. One of his men took the barrel in a cart to the office from which it was to be forwarded by the canal.
They were all very glad to see me at Maryland Street; and feeling entirely exhausted with my seasickness, I stupidly let myself be persuaded not to proceed till the Wednesday. And by Wednesday I was in worse fettle for travelling than when I arrived for I had almost no sleep the whole time of my stay, owing to a lady in the same room snoring like ten steam-engines. My seat was taken in a coach that came straight through; so that I had no shifting of luggage to embarrass me. My travelling companions were two Irish ladies, who neither picked my pocket of my purse nor watch; - and twenty-four hours after I started, I had the satisfaction of jumping into Carlyle's arms, who with John, was waiting for me at a certain Angel-Inn. You may imagine the sight of their faces, among so many hundreds of strange ones, was a joyful sight! They were both looking well, - John thinnish but clear and healthy-looking. They had a nice little dinner of chops and rice pudding in readiness. Edward Irving came up in the evening, and all was well.
But I was not to escape so easily. The next day and the next my head was so ill I had to lie in bed. On Sunday I got out a little and saw the Montagus. On Monday we were hunting after new lodgings, George Irving's being intolerably noisy, and still infested with bugs, which few
[Page 37] houses here are without. We succeeded in realising a much better up-putting, for the same money, in the house of a Mrs. Miles and Mrs. Page, - English people, - where I now write. The barrel had arrived the end of the week, and been unpacked; so that our flitting was no such light matter, and occupied all Tuesday. Yesterday I had a headache again, and to-day is the first that I can call my own.
I hope that we shall be very comfortable here: the people are of a prepossessing appearance, and the house is the only clean one that I have seen since I left Scotland. We have a Drawingroom about the size of our own at Craigenputtock, - more elegantly fitted up, - with a small but comfortable bedroom, opening from it with large folding doors. It is in an airy and remarkably quiet street.
I have no notion of London housekeeping yet; but am lying back till, with "weender and amazement," I have reviewed the ground. One fact I may mention as a sample: potatoes are a penny a pound, so that we pay three halfpence for barely as many as we need for a meal. The milk, too, is ridiculously dear, and such stuff after Nooly's! Thank Heaven we have good butter without running to the shops, - and Carlyle has fastened a lid with a padlock on the can: - but what place unites all the advantages of both town and country!
I have seen few people yet; not even Jeffrey, who is very ill, confined to bed. I was to have gone to him yesterday, but could not for my head. Carlyle and I are
[Page 38] thinking to walk over to-night, when his ladies are at the House of Lords, which will suit me best.
John set off on Tuesday morning, to join his Countess at Dover - a newspaper has since intimated his safe arrival so far. He was in good spirits of the enterprise, and we hope it will be the beginning of much good for him.
Carlyle is reading to-day with a view to writing an Article - to keep mall in shaft. They are not going to print the Book after all. Murray has lost heart lest it do not take with the public and so, like a stupid ass, as he is, has sent back the manuscript. The deevil may care, it shall be printed in spite of Murray some time; and in the meanwhile it is not losing any of its worth by lying.
JANE W. CARLYLE.
[Ends abruptly, to save another line for me, and my lengthy postscript. - T. C.]
Written "With my own hand," and "Noble Lady" (Mrs. Basil Montagu) are phrases of Edward Irving's, supposed to be too high-flown for their respective occasions. The "Little Dear" is Jeffrey, now Lord Advocate, living in Jermyn Street, worried almost to death. Maid "Nancy"
[Page 39] is Thornhill Nancy, who used to spoil my razors, privately dealing with a beard she had; otherwise not much comparable to the "bellissima Barbata," as Jeffrey used to call this Mrs. Austin, translatress of German, etc., femme alors célèbre! - T. C.
To Mrs. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
Ampton Street, London, Nov., 1831.
My dear Mother - I have still leisure to write you a few lines "with my own hand," to thank you for your kind messages and kind thoughts, which are infinitely precious in this land of strangers. Many people here show a disposition to be kind to me as this world goes; but that sort of dinner-giving, speech-making kindness is but frothy unsatisfactory food for the heart, compared with the kindness one experiences in the bosom of one's own family: and I have now been so long and so intimately connected with you and yours that I cannot but look upon you all as my own Mother and Brothers and Sisters.
I should find myself very pleasantly situated here, if I enjoyed my usual health, and could avail myself of the various invitations that are held out to us.
Carlyle has tolerable health and spirits, and abundant prospect of employment. There is much to see and wonder at, even in a solitary walk along the streets; and enough of people come about us to talk, or rather to listen, among whom there are several whom I really like.
The little Dear is well again, and as gay as a lark; and trudges over to us twice a week, without women or equipage.
[Page 40] Always losing himself by the way and needing Carlyle to take him home.
I have at last seen Mrs. Austin, and, so far as one could judge by a forenoon call, I think her the best woman I have yet found here. In appearance she is extremely like our Nancy, but drawn out to a considerable length, and her countenance refined and spiritualized. Her talk is all about books, and, tho' I should not imagine her a much cleverer person than myself, her command of what talent she has, will, I find, give her quite the upper-hand in any intercourse we may have.
Of the "Noble Lady" least said is soonest mended. God keep you all. My love to all of you down to the prattler over the way.
Ever your affectionate,
JANE W. CARLYLE.
To Miss Eliza Miles, 4 Ampton St., London.
Craigenputtock, 16 June, 1832.
My Dear Eliza - I could wager you now think the Scotch a less amiable Nation than you had supposed, least of all to be commended on the score of good faith. Is it not so? Has not my whole Nation suffered in your opinion thro' my solitary fault? In February I made a voluntary engagement to write to you, which now in June remains to be fulfilled! Still I am fulfilling it, which proves it is not altogether "out of sight, out of mind" with me; and could I give you an idea of the tumult I have been in, since we parted, you would find me excusable if not blameless. I never forgot my gentle Ariel in Ampton St., - it were positive sin to forget her, so helpful she was, so beautiful, so kind and good! Besides this is the place of all others for thinking of absent friends, where one has so seldom any present to think of. It is the stillest, solitariest place that it ever entered upon your imagination to conceive; where one has the strangest shadowy existence,
[Page 42] nothing actual in it but the food we eat, the bed one sleeps on, and (praised be Heaven!) the fine air one breathes; the rest is all a dream of the absent and distant, of things past and to come.
I was fatigued enough by the journey home; still more by the trysting that awaited me here; a dismantled house, no effectual servants, weak health, and, worse than the seven plagues of Egypt, a necessity of Painters. All these things were against me. But happily there is a continual tide in human affairs; and if a little while ago I was near being swept away, in the hubbub, so now I find myself in a dead calm. All is again in order about us, and I fold my hands and ask, "What is to be done next?" "The duty nearest hand, and the next will shew itself in course." So my Goethe teaches. No one who lays this precept to heart can ever be at a stand. Impress it on your "twenty children" (that I think was the number you had fixed upon), impress it on the whole twenty from the cradle upwards, and you will spare your sons the vexation of many a wild-goose chase, and render your daughters forever impracticable to ennui. Shame that such a malady should exist in a Christian land; should not only exist, but be almost general throughout the whole female population that is placed above the necessity of working for daily bread. If I have an antipathy for any class of people, it is for fine ladies. I almost match my Husband's detestation of partridge-shooting gentlemen. Woe to the fine lady who should find herself set down at Craigenputtock for the first time in her life, left alone with her own thoughts, no "fancy bazaar" in the same kingdom
[Page 43] with her, no place of amusement within a day's journey; the very church, her last imaginable resource, seven miles off. I can fancy with what horror she would look on the ridge of mountains that seemed to enclose her from all earthly bliss! with what despair in her accents she would enquire if there was not even a "charity sale" within reach. Alas, no! no outlet whatever for "ladies' work," not even a Book for a fine lady's understanding! It is plain she would have nothing for it but to die as speedily as possible, and to relieve the world of the expenses of her maintenance. For my part I am very content. I have everything here my heart desires, that I could have anywhere else, except society, and even that deprivation is not to be considered wholly an evil: if people we like and take pleasure in do not come about us here as in London, it is thankfully to be remembered that here "the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest." If the knocker make no sound for weeks together, it is so much the better for my nerves. My Husband is as good company as reasonable mortal could desire. Every fair morning we ride on horse-back for an hour before breakfast (my precious horse knew me again and neighed loud and long when he found himself in his old place). Then we eat such a surprising breakfast of home-baked bread, and eggs, etc., etc., as might incite anyone that had breakfasted so long in London to write a pastoral. Then Carlyle takes to his writing, while I, like Eve, "studious of household good," inspect my house, my garden, my live stock, gather flowers for my drawing-room, and lapfuls of eggs; and finally betake myself also to writing,
[Page 44] or reading, or making or mending, or whatever work seems fittest. After dinner, and only then, I lie on the sofa and (to my shame be it spoken) sometimes sleep, but oftenest dream waking. In the evening I walk on the moor (how different from Holborn and the Strand!) and read anything that does not exact much attention. Such is my life, - agreeable as yet from its novelty, if for nothing else. Now, would you not like to share it? I am sure you mould be happy beside us for a while, and healthy; for I would keep all drugs from your lips, and pour warm milk into you. Could you not find an escort, and come and try? At all rates, write and tell me how you are, what doing and what intending. I shall always be interested in all that concerns you.
My health is slowly mending.
Sister Jean is now married; Brother Alick, in Catlinns (Gaitlinns?) Farm near Lockerby, has been on visit to us and returned to Dumfries. - T. C.
To Mrs. Aitken, Lochmaben Gate, Dumfries.
Craigenputtock, November, 1833.
My dear Jean - I commissioned Alick to transmit my thanks to you in the handsomest manner; but, "it may be strongly doubted" if he acquitted himself of the commission at all to my satisfaction. So I now send them "under my own hand" with the same warmth in which they were at first conceived, and which is not likely to
[Page 45] know any diminution so long as a morsel of the dainty remains.
How are you getting on? Bravely I hope; but the question would be better asked of your Husband than of you. There is never much to be feared for any one that is born with sense and truth in him, whatever else he may have or want. And so I always augur well of the judicious Crow in whatever circumstances she may find herself. If the devil should get into her by a time, he will find her good sense and truthfulness such bad neighbours that he will be fain to decamp before he have done any serious mischief. ...
I have made up my mind, after four years of deliberation, to be at the expense of framing the Lord Advocate in imitation rosewood. So I send him to your Husband to get done. Nota bene, the gilt moulding must be under the glass, as it is in your frames, and is not in any of the others. A symptom of preference which strikes me as sufficiently barefaced.
I expect Grace Cavan to-day; it will be a pity if she do not know that you are in Dumfries. Nancy is still staying on - doesn't look as if she were much disposed to flit. It is a great temporal blessing for me that no interregnum has taken place; for my increase of years and infirmities has nearly altogether incapacitated me from working. You ought to write to me frequently, and also come and see me frequently when you are within such
[Page 46] manageable distance. Our compliments to your Husband, who I hope may be able to get the upper hand with you; for I can tell him it will depend on himself whether he "make a spoon of you or spoil a horn."
Your affectionate Sister,
JANE CARLYLE THE ELDER.
Preparations for the great Expedition, or Shift to London, were now about completed. Had been left (in my imaginary hurry, "necessity to get a house before May 26") wholly in her eagerly willing hands; how willing I knew well, but not how wonderfully swift, skilful and sure, in this entirely new province! In about two weeks as appears, she has prosperously lifted anchor, with the Liverpool Steamer (at Annan Foot); and in one week more, she will be with me! - T. C.
To T. Carlyle, 4 Ampton St., London.
Templand, Monday, '27 May, 1834.'
It is all right, Dearest, the Letter is come! I had taken the precaution for having it forwarded hither by post, and, but for the regulation about church hours, might have had time to answer it last night. ...
Now you wish the furniture and Goody off immediately. Dearest, "it shall be done!" There is no earthly objection to my sailing on Friday first (but on the contrary every motive to hasten to you at the soonest possible), except one, and that one is not of consequence enough to stand in the way of your wishes and my own. It was only in case of there being no outrake for me, if I joined
[Page 47] you so soon, that I spoke in my last of waiting till the Friday following.
I wrote to Alick last night (according to previous appointment) between the receiving of yours and the departure of the post, and told him I would meet him at Dumfries on Wednesday (the day after tomorrow), where he was to be at any rate. My Mother talks of going to Dumfries along with me. She was for going all the way, - to Annan that is; but I strongly objected. One has enough to do at present without scenes. I fear there will not be time to get another Letter from you before Friday, but at all rates I shall expect to find one in Maryland Street (they do me so much good); and I will write from Maryland St. when you are to expect me in London.
About two hours after my last was on its road, it came into my mind like liquid fire, and ran over my whole face, neck and arms, that I had omitted to seal it! Had it been under cover to Jeffrey, I think I should have died of vexation, for I am doubtful whether he would not have read it from beginning to end. But Charles Buller is "an English Gentleman," and would take no advantage of my stupidity. The thing that annoyed me most was the unsatisfactory idea of my whole general disposition for the management of "the great thing to do," which such a blunder would cause to you, and the insecurity you would feel in consequence. But console-toi! I think it was my first blunder, and shall strive that it may also be the last; and it happened quite naturally as I shall explain to you hereafter.
... My Mother is writing (to Maryland Street) to-day, and will warn them of my arrival (in Liverpool); and Arbuckle I will write to myself.
And now, my Darling, with respect to those two houses, I declare to thee they look both so attractive on paper, that I cannot tell which I ought to prefer, and should like to see them with my bodily eyes before you decide. I have a great liking to that massive old concern with the broad staircase, and abundant accommodation for crockery! And dressingrooms to one's bedrooms is charming! I should not quarrel with the quantity, even tho' (like my china assiettes) it might be asked "what we have to put in it." But is it not too near the River? I should fear it would be a very foggy situation in Winter, and always damp and unwholesome. And the wainscoting up to the ceilings, - is it painted? If in the original state, hardly any number of candles (never to speak of "only two") will suffice to light it. And another idea presents itself along with that wainscot - if bugs have been in the house! Must they not have found there, as well as the inmates, "room without end?" The other again does not attract me so much, but to make up for that, suggests no objection; so keep them both open, if you can, till I come: and if you are constrained to decide, that you may not let both or either slip through your hands, do it with perfect assurance that Goody will approve your choice. The neighbourhood I would not let be a material point in your
[Page 49] deliberations. You have a pair of effectual legs to take you wherever you please; and for me, my chief enjoyment, I imagine, will always be in the society of my own heart's Darling, and within my own four walls, as heretofore.
My Mother sends her kindest regards. She is in the most gracious, bountiful mood; - giving me gowns, etc; - has even bought a superior silk-handkerchief for Alick! and a gown for little Sister Jenny whom she never saw! What a mercy for you, Dearest, that I have not her turn for managing the finance department! We should, in that case, soon sit rent-free in the King's Bench. And now I must conclude - a mean return for your long precious Letter; but I have a headache to-day, and must not drive it beyond bounds. God Almighty bless you, my Love. Before many days I shall see your face again.
YOUR OWN JANE.
To Dr. Carlyle, Rome.
Chelsea, 12th January, 1835.
... Mrs. Austin sends me occasional "threepennies" overflowing with "dearests," and all that, and asks me to her soirees now and then, and even plashes down here in wheeled vehicles at rare intervals. But what is all this to one who really longs for a little sincere friendship? There is a Mrs. Taylor whom I could really love, if it were safe and she were willing; but she is a dangerous looking woman and engrossed with a dangerous passion, and no useful relation can spring up between us. - In
[Page 50] short, dear Brother, I am hardly better off here for society than at Craigenputtock; not so well off as when you were there walking with me and reading Ariosto.
J. W. C.
A visit of her own to Nithsdale, to Mother and kindred; journeyed by herself (I sitting here, in fiercely steady wrestle with French Revolution); her first journey from London, - attended with much physical hardship, excitation and petty misery to the too delicate creature; as generally to both of us, they all were. Thick skin cares for nothing; thin does for very much!
"Robert Hanning" is my youngest Sister Jenny's Husband; lately wedded, and settled with her in some small kind of trade in Manchester. A good enough little brisk-stirring, kind of fellow (was boy Farm-servant at Scotsbrig, several years in Jenny's childhood, and rather a favourite there); ... is now, this long while, settled into modesty, and doing well in Canada with his Jenny and the children and grandchildren they have. - Their lodging in Manchester, where I once tried sleeping, - first floor above their shop, in a street with many Mills adjacent, - was very bad and noisy; tho' the welcome, cordial and supreme, especially in the first instance, would make some amends.
"Goody" used to be my sportname for her. "Burnswark" (Birrenswark) is a "tabular Hill" in Annandale remarkable for its perfect Roman Camp, and still more for its almost exact shape (frustrum of a rectangular pyramid) and for the great extent of view it has all round, Lancashire, Cumberland, Yorkshire, to Selkirkshire, Roxboroughshire, etc.
"Oatmeal to John Mill" - was for his Father's use. Father was now on his deathbed, and had taken a longing for the food of his childhood. This, I conclude, would be a supplementary or second sending; no third, alas, was needed. - T. C.
To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.
Templand, Saturday, '19 July, 1836.'
Heaven be praised, here I am at last, dear Husband; a most tired but not utterly demolished Goody. On the whole I have been mercifully dealt with; my journey has been assuaged for me in many ways which I had no reason to expect; and, considering my want of sleep, and all the rest of it, I am in a wonderful state of efficiency already.
The man you saw in the Coach with me was my only fellow passenger to Derby; so that, during the night I had a whole side to stretch myself on; and from Derby to Manchester I might even recline diagonally, having the whole Coach to myself. Besides the "ample room and verge enough," I had. also to congratulate myself on uninterrupted silence; for even while the man was there, no speech went on; he rolled up his great-coat to make a cushion for my back, presented me with three lemons, and for the rest took no notice of me whatever.
On arriving at Manchester, I felt considerable apprehension; for it had long been revealed to my recollection that, according to my late practice, I had come off without Hanning's address! So that if no one awaited me at the Coach I should be set down in the Street with my trunk, in one of the foolishest dilemmas imaginable. But Robert's happy face, popped in at the coach window, even before we stopped, rescued me from the well-merited punishment of my inadvertency; - he actually dropt a tear of joy! at sight of me, and looked as tho' he were half-minded to kiss me brüderlich: but that I rather waived.
[Page 52] We mounted into a hackney; and in a few minutes were opened-to by wee Jenny; who welcomed me most cordially in her still way. Both indeed expressed a satisfaction that was highly consolatory to a wandering pilgrim; and so also was the excellent chicken broth which was served up to me in no-time.
Jenny makes a most sedate, orderly, satisfactory-looking Hausfrau; and her little Husband, barring a little innocent vanity, and trustful forwardness, is a most comfortable landlord. But let no weary traveller ever dream of staying there with any view to sleep! The house is a nice enough little house, and the bedroom looks rather inviting even; but the bed is hard as a deal board, with a considerable elevation in the shape of Burnswark in the middle: there is, moreover a species of bug in it which raises lumps "the size of a hazel-nut"; - and to crown all, you are next door to a "jerry shop," where drunk people issue into the street all night long, trying who to rage loudest. Nothing would have tempted me to stay two nights, had I been able to proceed; but my head was horrible on the Monday.
On Tuesday afternoon I reached Liverpool after a flight (for it can be called nothing else) of thirty-four miles within an hour and a quarter. I was dreadfully frightened before the train started; in the nervous weak state I was in, it seemed to me certain that I should faint, and the impossibility of getting the horrid thing stopt! But I felt no difference between the motion of the steam carriage and that in which I had come from London; it
[Page 53] did not seem to be going any faster. As I had sent no intimation to Maryland Street, I was left to my own shifts on landing; the greatest difficulty was in getting my trunk from among the hundred others where it was tumbled. "You must take your turn, Ma'am, you must take your turn" was all the satisfaction I could get in pressing toward the heap; at last I said, "stand out of the road, will you? there is the trunk before my eyes; and I will lift it away myself without troubling anyone!" Whereupon the clerk cried out in a rage, "for Godsake give that Lady her trunk and let us be rid of her." The omnibus man clutched it out of my hands, and promised to put me down within ten yards of Maryland Street. He was better than his word, for he drove me to the very door.
Nothing could exceed the astonishment occasioned by my apparition in the room where they were sitting at their dessert. There was wondering and laughing without end but no tea, nor prospect of any, - till, at last, in extreme thirst and despair, I fell to work on a plateful of strawberries and cream! Instead of killing me, the mess agreed with me so well that, I had strawberries and cream six times during the day and half I staid. - They were in a great confusion with painters, etc., etc., but as kind as ever; and as inconsiderate about sleep. I thought the bugs of Manchester had left nothing for the Liverpool ones to do; but I was mistaken; I had twenty new bites on my neck and arms the first night. O Darling, thank Heaven that we are without bugs; - and see that John's window be kept open, when he returns; and order Ann
[Page 54] to take down his clothes and shake them in the Garden; for he will go by Manchester!
On Thursday night at ten o'clock I was to sail: but the sea was a little rough, and my Uncle had heard something of the boiler being unsafe; and so nothing would pacify him but that I should go by the mail. As the most convincing argument that could be used, he went and took a seat for me, and paid it himself; besides this, he laid out eight guineas on the largest, warmest, most beautiful shawl that ever was seen, to regale me with, on my birthday, the day I left Liverpool! It was a most welltimed present; for the weather is become intensely cold, and I left London in a most destitute condition with respect to wrappings. ...
I wrote to John and my Mother from Liverpool; warning the former to meet me at Dumfries, and expecting the latter to come without being asked; as she did. When the Mail stopt at the King's Arms, Dumfries, I saw my trunk into the house, and then ran over to the Commercial to tell Mrs. Wilson that if my Mother should come I was gone out to Jean's. For I was in at half past eight, and the Steamboat was not expected till eleven. While I was waiting in the lobby for Mrs. Wilson, my Mother came down the stairs! Such an embracing and such a crying! The very Boots was affected with it, and spoke in a plaintive voice all morning after.
Mother looks well; - and is making a perfect fool of me with kindness. I was scarce home when she presented me with a purse she had worked me, - filled with sovereigns! for my birthday present!! So that I shall not be poorer
[Page 55] for my journey. John came before we left Dumfries, with Alick; and astonished me considerably by announcing his intention of "leaving the middle of next week," - without seeing more of me. ...
I did well enough on getting home, till I dined; and then I got deadly cold, - and my Mother wrapped me in wrappings innumerable; I then fell asleep; then I awoke with my head and body all in a cramp - not Caliban but a cramp; - and then I did not know what I said or did; for it was the third night I had not slept a wink. And then they gave me tea and bathed my feet and put me to bed. I had a wonderful night, but slept off and on to a considerable extent, and as you see, am able to write after a fashion.
You may expect John the end of next week. I am going to be ill off with sour bread and boiled tea; and there are no peats to bake with. I forgot to send the meal to John Mill; I hope you have done it. Write instantly to me how you get on, to the minutest item. I mourned to hear of sleepless nights. My next Letter, it is to be hoped, will be better worth postage. As yet I am not subsided into good sense or "proper feelings." Kind compliments to Ann. I sent her Letter by John to Annan, and will take the Dolls for her Sisters myself: her people are all well. I passed thro' Annan in the Mail, but took it for Longtown until I was fairly out of it and recognised the house in which Mary had lived.
God forever bless you. For God's sake do not work too hard. Go to bed in time, and take your meals regularly; - and think of me as kindly as you can.
"JANE W. CARLYLE" (no room for signature).
[Letter is full to overflowing: I remember all the points in it; and see myself reading it; but could not have dated within several years. - T. C.]
"Dearest ... not speak," was one of Mrs. Basil Montagu's too stately preludes of a Letter to her in past years, while the "Noble Lady" was personally still a stranger. - T. C.
To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.
Templand, Saturday, '2 August, 1836.'
"Dearest of Friends - I write the thanks which I cannot speak." It may be true in most cases, as you have often admonished me, that "he who gives quickly gives twice"; in the matter of Letters I am very certain that he who gives tardily gives three or four times. Your Letter had been anxiously waited for: and all that anxious waiting told to its advantage; tho', by the way, there is not much wisdom in telling you so; since I would rather that the next came to hand enhanced by no such fraudulent merit.
It will not be long, however, that there will be any need of Letters passing between us, either swiftly or slowly. Nothing could make living here at all expedient for me, except the conviction that I was thereby gaining physical good; and such hope fades further and further into the distance every day. I shall get better in London, or not
[Page 57] get better, as may please the Upper Powers. In any case, "there is no use in rebelling against Providence," and I shall try all I can not to rebel: but here! mio Caro, the rain it raineth every day; there is no victualling to be had till ten in the morning, - at least not without an almost superhuman effort, - and I awake quite regularly at four! There is no quiet to be had, except in your bedroom, with the door locked; for the children (Maggie, Mary, and Johnnie) are in perpetual movement, seeking whom they may devour; - there is no bread to be had (that is not next to poison), for love or money or tears or supplications, or even "bursts of Parliamentary eloquence." You know my Mother's way: she will give you everything on earth, except the thing you want; will do anything for you, except what you ask her to do. As for new milk, you may have it in any quantity; but then only immediately before your breakfast, or immediately after your tea; and the proposed sip of brandy in it, without which I incline to believe it unwholesome, that is offered, is pressed upon you to your pudding, your water, plain, diluted, cold, and hot; but, to your milk (since the thing was mentioned), it is impossible to have it, without a sacrifice of one's modesty, too cruel for so trifling a gain!
All these things are against me! As I indeed anticipated they would be. And my greatest consolation is, that you are not also "in the midst of them!" You could not have lived here two weeks on the present principle (in spite of all your passionate longing for the country); and I
[Page 58] see not how the present principle could have been altered without our all having been born again. It is wonderful that one should vex and frighten oneself so much, in anticipation of serious evils, when it is all the little things of life, which, in reality, make up our happiness or misery. - One more fact, let me mention: having come off without any sufficient shoes, and the roads here being more like kennels than roads, I bought a pair, not made in Northampton, a shilling dearer than the best in London, easy as possible to slide the feet into; and already they have lamed me, both heels and toes, to such an extent as I shall not soon recover from. Consider all this, Dearest of Friends, and imagine much more than I could tell you, of the same sort; and infer from it, if you be wise, that the thought you are apt to dwell on too exclusively: that "God made the country, and man the town," is to be taken with large reservations; - is indeed to be "strongly doubted." You may depend upon it, Sir, Man and even the Devil have had a very considerable hand in making the country also.
The most providential-looking thing that has happened to me since I came here, was the other day, about an hour after the receipt of your Letter, that a boy came to the kitchen-door, offering for sale two scrubs! Judge if I did not purchase them on the spot! Scrubs so manifestly destined for me, and no other. They cost twopence; and I hope soon to see them in brisk action at Chelsea; in the
[Page 59] meanwhile it will be something to keep Ann in heart. Give her my compliments, and say, I am glad to hear she is doing well, and that I will not fail to rummage out "Wee Jen" when I go to Annan; and will speak French to her, if need be. Did John tell you that I saw Jane's Mother in Lancaster? We had but five minutes, and poor Jane herself was at the far end of the town; but the Mother, a most intelligent, amiable-looking woman, came running, and seemed greatly delighted to see me and gave me the most comfortable accounts of Jane; and assured me that she continued to think of me with "the greatest love and respect that one human being could bear to another." Such being the case, I shall surely write to her, when I return to London, and can get a frank. It is highly consolatory to be loved and respected by a person whom you have scolded for six months, without intermission; as it proves there must be an inexpressible something in you which triumphs over all contingencies. If Jane Ireland loves and respects me, there is no reason in the world why you should not do the same; you have never had quite so bad a time with me as she had, poor girl!
Mrs. Chrichton has been absent at Aberdeen; but is returned, I believe. And I think of going to make out a few days with her. Most probably I shall go down to
[Page 60] Annandale the end of next week. I shall be able to do here till then, without explosion; for I am going to swallow a dose of senna to-morrow morning; and one has fine times with my Mother, after an act of docility like that. Let me know when John is to set out. I do not know how I shall return, - by coach, air, or sea. If any cheap and safe conveyance offered, I should certainly try the air this time; for the other two ways I have proved to be equally detestable - and killing. The sea offers the attraction of a glimpse at Edinburgh, if indeed that can be called an attraction, now that so little is left for me there to take pleasure in; and that the bad magic of my dyspepsia "makes that little less." I shall see after your commissions to the best of my power.
Poor John Sterling is gone, I suppose. He wrote me a long letter, with evident effort, speaking of his future in a tone of sad gaiety, or gay sadness, I know not which to call it; but it was grating to my feelings. I do not think we shall ever see him again; and we shall certainly never see a better man.
Poor Mill! he really seems to have "loved and lived"; his very intellect seems to be failing him in its strongest point: - his implicit admiration and subjection to you. What a mercy I did not go with them! You make me ready "to shriek at the very idea of it." You need not be envying me the gooseberries, - there are plenty; but the "mountain thrushes" pick them all; sic omnia! I have seen William Menteith and his beautiful Wife, much fitter
[Page 61] for him than I, - young as himself, and silly as himself, and happy-hearted as himself.
I saw and read Wilhelm Meister! God bless you. Thanks for all the kind, encouraging things you say to me. I wonder you never weary. John Sterling said you were in good spirits. I am exceedingly happy to hear it. You do not say that you miss me; but I hope it is out of self-denial, not indifference.
"J. W. C."
Is gone on a tour with the elder Mr. and Mrs. Sterling, while I am in Scotland rusticating and vegetating. - T. C.
To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig,
Clifton, 29th Angust, 1837.
Dearest Love - I have been too long waiting for certainties; hithering and thithering being a condition under which I find it almost impossible to write, or indeed to do anything except fret myself to fiddlestrings. What I generally do in such cases is to shape out a decision with all dispatch for myself, and leave the others to welter on in their own fashion. Accordingly, when I found on our arrival at Clifton that it was all in the wind whether we should stay there one week or two or three, and whether we should return straight to London or by Brighton, or by the Isle of Wight, or first making a "run over to Dublin," I immediately announced my intention of descending by Parachute, and was only prevented from carrying it out by humane consideration for the parties in the Balloon, where
[Page 62] there was evidently going to be an alarming explosion in case of my departure; Mrs. Sterling having set her heart for a visit of some length to the Bartons, and his Whirlwindship finding the whole Barton generation "creatures without stimulus," whom he was desirous to cut and run from, by "feeling it his duty to see poor Mrs. Carlyle 'ome." His secret purpose was evidently to take himself and me back in the carriage, and leave Mrs. S. to follow as she could; and this I felt would have been a very ungracious proceeding towards that good soul, who treats me with such kindness and consideration. I now perceive the use my company is of to them both, better than I did when we set out: I furnish, as it were, the sugar and ginger, which makes the alkali of the one and the tartaric acid of the other effervesce into a somewhat more agreeable draught; for, "the effervescing of these people!" To say the least "it is very absurd!" But I shall keep all my stock of biographic notices to enliven our winter evenings. Meanwhile you are to know that we left Malvern for Clifton a week ago, all of us with very dry eyes.
Mr. Sterling, on finding that certain lords who smiled deceitful at the Carlton Club, were absolutely inaccessible at the Foley Arms, suddenly discovered that your beautiful scenery was a great humbug, as you had only "to strip the soil a foot deep and it would be a vile black mass." Mrs. Sterling, in her querulous, qualifying, about it and about it way, doubted whether it was wholesome to overlook such a flat, "not but what it was very well to have seen for once, or if there was any necessity for living there, of course one would not object," etc., etc.: - and, for me poverina, from
[Page 63] the first moment I set my eyes on the place, I foresaw that it would prove a failure; that it would neither make me a convert to Nature, nor find me in a new nervous system. Every day of our stay there I arose with a headache, and my nights were unspeakable; every day I felt more emphatically that Nature was an intolerable bore. Do not misconstrue me, - genuine, unsophisticated Nature, I grant you, is all very amiable and harmless; but beautiful Nature, which man has exploited, as a Reviewer does a work of genius, making it a peg to hang his own conceits upon, to enact his Triumph der Empfindsamkeit in, - beautiful Nature, which you look out upon from pea-green arbours, which you dawdle about in on the backs of donkeys, and where you are haunted with an everlasting smell of roast meat - all that I do declare to be the greatest of bores, and I would rather spend my days amidst acknowledged brick houses and paved streets, than in any such fools' paradise.
So entirely unheimlich I felt myself, that the day I got your Letter I cried over it for two or three hours. In other more favourable circumstances, I should have recognised the tone of sadness that ran all through it, as the simple effect of a tiresome journey, and a dose of physic at the end; but, read at Malvern, with headache and ennui for interpreters! - Alas! what could I do but fling myself on my bed and cry myself sick? I said to myself you were no better than when you left me, and all this absence was gone for nothing. I wanted to kiss you into something like cheerfulness, and the length of a kingdom was between us, - and if it had not - the probabilities are that, with the
[Page 64] best intentions, I should have quarrelled with you rather. Poor men and poor women! what a time they have in this world, by destiny and their own deserving. But as Mr. Bradfute used to say, "tell us something we do not know."
Well, then, it is an absolute fact that his Whirlwindship and I rode to the top of Malvern Hill, each on a live donkey! Just figure it! with a Welsh lad whipping us up from behind; for they were the slowest of donkeys, though named in defiance of all probability, Fly and Lively. "The Devil confound your donkeys!" exclaimed my vivacious companion (who might really, I think, "but for the honour of the thing," and perhaps some small diminution of the danger of bursting his lungs, have as well walked!) "they are so stupidly stubborn that you might as well beat on a stick." "And isn't it a good thing they be stubborn, Sir?" said the lad, "as being, you see, that they have no sense; if they wasn't stubborn they might be for taking down the steep, and we wants no accidents, Sir." "Now," said I, "for the first time in my life I perceive why Conservatives are so stupidly stubborn; stubbornness, it seems, is a succedaneum for sense." - A flash of indignation - then in a soft tone, "Do you know, Mrs. Carlyle, you would be a vast deal more amiable, if you were not so damnably clever!" This is a fair specimen of our talk at Malvern from dewy morn to balmy eve. My procedure at Worcester (where we passed two days, and whence I sent a Newspaper) was unexpected and disappointing in the extreme. I walked into the house of the illustrious Archdeacon along a lengthy passage, down two steps into an antique-looking drawing-room or suite of drawing-rooms; without giving proof of
[Page 65] being anything out of the common. I cast my nota-bene eyes over the man: - a large portly figure, belonging to the rotund school, the very beau ideal of an old Abbot, with countenance full of twinkling intelligence: and gregarious good humour, having a high metallic tone of voice, and a whisking suddenness of movement, accompanied by a peculiar fling of the coat-skirts, which reminded me forcibly of the Archivarius Lindhorst. I also flung a cursory glance on a table, where a massive lunch was spread out, such as realised one's sublimest conceptions of a Convent refectory; and then without more said or done, I pitched myself into a fluffy, snow-white bed, which was shown me as mine; where I lay twenty-four hours, not out of sheer contradiction, but because I really could no longer hold myself erect. In vain the prim Archdeconian Perpetua came at stated intervals to know if I wanted anything? receiving always for answer, "To be let alone"; and in vain the Whirlwind himself came at intervals not stated, to ask in a tone of deep, tho' loud pathos (for it was from outside the door) "if I believed that he was exceedingly sorry," receiving also one unvarying answer, "Yes, yes!" My headache refused to listen to the voice of either charmer till it had run its course. It was indeed a strange preternatural night, the first I passed in that Prebendary Establishment, right under the stroke (it seemed to me) of the great cathedral clock, which strikes even the quarters, haunted by the Images of the large Archdeaconess and large pigeon-pie I had seen below, and surrounded by queer old cabinets and gigantic china bowls; - all which taken together had to my over-excited imagination a cast of magic! Especially
[Page 66] in the dead of night, with a rushlight dimly lighting the chamber; and betwixt sleeping and waking. I repeatedly sprang up in a panic, with my head quite mystified between this Worcester Archdeacon and the German Archivarius, and could by no possibility decide whether Archdeacon Singleton was not also the father of a green serpent and could make his face into a bronze knocker! Worthy man, when he welcomed me anew next day with the broadest smiles, he little suspected what strange thoughts I had had of him.
But I have quite miscalculated my distance, and have left no room for my travels' history since. The loss will not be material. Suffice it to say, we came from Malvern to Chepstow all in one day, besides "doing" Eastnor Castle, Goodrich Castle, Tintern Abbey, and Chepstow Castle; and the next, on to Clifton; thoroughly tired body and soul. We are in lodgings here: I have a quiet room, and sleep better. Every day we dine with the Bartons, the kindest people to dine with one could wish; but as he says, there is a lack of stimulus. The Brother that is returned from India is the most wonderful compound appearance of Cavaignac and - Mr. Bradfute: ecco la combinazione! And now here is surprising news for you: - John Sterling is to be back in London, with his Wife and her little ones, about the 12th. He himself having turned towards Madeira, in consequence of cholera abroad, and the family to remain at Knightsbridge; which I do not
[Page 67] think his Father half likes. Poor John is really a little flighty, "after all."
I fondly hope to quit Clifton the end of this present week; and to go home by the base of the isosceles triangle, which the Isle of Wight makes with Clifton and London, instead of along the two sides. I long for home, and to be putting in order for your coming. I shall send you a Newspaper immediately on my landing; and then you will write to say when. O, my Darling, we will surely be better, both of us, there again: effervescing even: - don't you think so? I made no "mark" - wrote nothing on any Newspaper, - it must have been some editorial mark of Mr. Sterling, which I had not noticed. I have sent you Papers from every large Town where I have been.
I have kept no room for kind messages. Say for me all that you know I would wish to say. I saw the Crawfords at Monmouth. Mr. C. is most emphatic for another Course of Lectures: - the characters, he thought a most glorious project. I have no doubt but you will find an audience prepared to be enchanted with you, whenever you want one. - The Book seems to be much more popular than I ever expected. Archdeacon Singleton finds nothing Radical in it! J. W. C. (No room for more.)
'Chelsea, 1 May, 1838.'
My dear Jean - When a man - at least when this man has "physic in him," it appears to me that he should
[Page 68] make a distinct announcement of the fact in the very first sentence of his Letter, instead of mentioning it by the bye, at the end; as the reader then takes in all he may say or sings with allowance. Thus had he begun with, "My dear Jean, I this morning swallowed 'quite promiscuously' a dose of castor oil, mixed up with my own hand too (my Wife being in bed at the time), and sit down to write under its 'dark brown shad,'" you would have formed to yourself, as you proceeded, a much cheerier, as well as truer, picture of "the wark." I can assure you his nerves were a vast deal stiffer than last year. I took one glimpse at him (just one) when he came on the stage, - and to be sure he was as white as a pockethandkerchief, but he made no gasping and spluttering, as I found him doing last year at the fourth Lecture. By and by, when the rate he was getting on at told me I might look with safety, he had recovered all that "bonny red in his cheeks" which Miss Corson of Craigenputtock so highly admired; and having a very fine light from above shining down on him he really looked a surprisingly beautiful man. His Lecture was to my taste better than any he delivered last year in my hearing (tho' he himself thinks, forsooth, there was not enough of fire in it); and he delivered it very gracefully; that is to say, without any air of thinking about his delivery, which is the best grace of any. I, in a measure, "took up my bed and walked" to hear him, - for I was hardly up after several days with tugging on with influenza like a fly among treacle, when the arrival of a gentleman with a close-carriage to take me, was a temptation not to be resisted - and I just waited to send off
[Image fp68: MRS. J. B. WELSH.]
[Page 69] Him with my blessing, and then flung on my cloak and drove after him, - arriving at the door from opposite sides in the very same instant with himself; - but I turned away my face and passed on without taking any notice, as the pheasants when they want to hide think it is enough to stick their heads into a hole. Beware, however, dear Jean, how you encourage that little morsel of yours to follow the trade of being a Genius - it is a considerable risk - one way and another - and for my part, if I had the power of administering it, I should advise it much as our good Doctor used to do with his Senna, - "you had better give it him - or perhaps you had better not."
My Mother complains that you take no notice of her, and the only news she gets of any of you is by way of London. For shame! You who can write so well ought not to be so slack.
Ever your affectionate Sister,
JANE W. CARLYLE.
Remember me very kindly to James whose sympathetic looks on my wayfaring at Dumfries, I shall long be grateful for.
Sterling was at Blackheath two successive summers; went to Hastings for a while in the autumn of the latter (1838). "Portrait" must be Laurence's Crayon Sketch, still here? No, it is the Oil-Picture (baddish) now at Scotsbrig. - T. C.
To the Revd. John Sterling, Blackheath.
Chelsea, Wednesday, '11th July, 1838.'
Geflügelter! - My getting to Blackheath seems to be a "camel-passing-through-the-eye-of-a-needle" sort of problem, which it is as good as useless to set the heart of me on at present. Thursday I cannot go; for, having excused myself from the Communion of Saints at Woolwich, on the plea of ill-health, I must, in common decency, abstain, for that day at least, from any open demonstration of locomotive force. Friday my Husband sits for his picture (a miracle of art likely to be, but in the meantime a thing of dread enough to curdle all the milk in Middlesex); and I, poverina, make tea for the Artist before he begins, and encourage him with my exquisite clitter-clatter while he works. Saturday (Carlyle told me on his return yesterday) we are engaged to dine with Darwin, and walk in the evening in St. James's Park (to cultivate a taste for innocent pleasures, I presume). So there is the whole week disposed of; and for me to be making appointments beyond the week I am in, were, what they call in Scotland, "a tempting of Providence." Come you here. It is better so. I can listen to you with composure of soul, and talk to you very prettily on my own sofa; but nowhere else am I good for anything, except to remind people of their latter end.
When they are gone from Knightsbridge, both your Wife and you will have some time on your hands, which I lay claim to, as the next in merit and locality. Carlyle sends regards. It "is a possibility that he may see you
[Page 71] on Thursday; but not to be positively calculated on." Kind love to "Mrs. John" and the little unfledged.
I remember the poor "easy-chair," which has vanished from the house long since; - there are many things of the same type still here; never was such a creature for noticing cheap waifs as she passed along, and transmuting them by an alchemy all her own! Poverty on such terms may truly be considered (especially in these mean days) a kind of wealth. - To "raise" is Annandale for "achieve the finance of" (by effort muster the price of, - I have also heard them call it "string," "strung," evidently the German strugend). To "harl" is to drag slowly, and with imperfect success; a "harl" of anything expresses defect both in value and form. A country fellow enumerating the miserable ailments that beset his poor Mother, added lastly, "and ony harl o' health she has is ay about mealtime." (Fact this, I have heard; scene Dr. Thom's Surgery, Ecclefechan.) - T. C.
To Mrs. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
Chelsea, '28 November, 1838.'
My dear Mother - On reading over this Letter, I can bethink me of only one earthly thing that he has omitted to mention; which is, that we have, within the last few days, raised (as dear Mary used to say) a capital easy-chair, in which one or even two may sit very snug in winter-nights; and, with such a cinder fire, as he has got to-night, may be slowly roasted alive: as in a Dutch-oven, for it is exactly the shape of one. A great addition
[Page 72] to our coomfoart! As is also the woollen spencer he bought me with your money, which I am rejoicing in at this present writing. I have also, you will be glad to hear, "a cap on my head," tho' not of "thick muslin"; and you must be resigned to the idea of my flinging it off again so soon as the frost abates. But the wonderfullest of all my acquisitions is a thing made of black silk with a quarter of a mile of brass wire in it, which I clasp on the under part of my face when I go out; and which is precisely like the muzzle on a mad dog; but has the property of making all the air that goes down one's throat as warm as summer air. They call it a respirator. Carlyle keeps saying he is very bilious, etc., but he looks very passably, is not so desperately "ill to deal wi'" as you and I have known him, and has always a good "harl o' health at meal-time." I am sorry to hear of poor Isabella's delicate state; knowing so well from experience, what it is to be laid on the shelf with the feeling that everything must be going wrong without me. Give her my kind regards, and to all the rest remember me also affectionately.
Tell Alick I ate every morsel of the honey myself.
Ever affectionately yours,
To Mrs. Welsh, at 3 Maryland St., Liverpool.
Chelsea, Sunday, 7 April, 1839.
Dearest Mother - It is a week past on Thursday
[Page 73] since you went away, and really that one week looks longer than all the time you were here. Parting is one of the few hardships in this world which one does not "use to"; indeed the last time seems always the worst. It was quite heart-breaking leaving you in that tremendous apparatus, given up as it were to an irresistible destiny; to be shot away from one like an arrow into space! I cried all the way home; and then sat down so dowie by the fire, indisposed to speak to any son or daughter of Adam. But Helen was determined I should not despond for lack of a little of her Job's comfort; so she broke the silence by an announcement that we were "out of baith dips and moulds." "There," said I, giving her money, and returned to look into the fire. But she lingered as she went, and at the door she made a stand and gave a great sigh, and then broke forth, "I declare it's no like the same hoose, sae dull and dismal-like, it's just as if a corp had gaen oot! She was so attached!" What could one do in such a case but either jump up and fell her, or burst into new weeping? Having little spirit remaining, I chose the latter alternative. Then as if on purpose to keep alive my regrets, ever so many things have turned up, since you went, that I should have liked you to have been present at. The very next evening came the French Catholic Rio, that Carlyle had described to us as such a striking man. He pleased me much, tho' resembling the description in no one particular except the duskiness of his complexion. I had fancied him a stern, bigoted enthusiast, whereas he is a sort of French John Sterling;
[Page 74] if possible even more voluble and transparent; and his Catholicism sits on him just about as lightly as John's Church-of-Englandism sits on him. I happened to ask him if he knew Cavaignac: "Ah, who does not know Cavaignac by name? But I, you know, am a victim of his party, as he is a victim of Louis Philippe. Does Cavaignac come here?" "Yes, we have known him long." "Good gracious! How strange it would be for us to meet in the same room! How I should like it!" "Well," I said, "he is to dine here on Monday." "I will come; good gracious, it will be so strange": and he seemed amazingly charmed with his prospect. Not so Carlyle, who began, before he was well out at the door, "Mercy Jane, are you distracted?" "What can you do with these two men?" etc., etc. I assured him it would go off without bloodshed, and began to think of my dinner. In addition to the boiled leg of mutton already projected for the sake of the capers, I decided on a beefsteak pie; and, that care off my mind, I trusted in Providence that the men would not come to an explosion.
The dinner, however, could hardly be called a "successful one." Rio appeared on the scene at half-past three, as if he could not have enough of it. Latrade came as the clock struck four. But Cavaignac - Alas! Two of his friends were on terms about blowing each other's brains out, and Cavaignac was gone to bring them to reason; and not till they were brought to reason would he arrive to eat his dinner. Now, whether the men would be brought to reason before the dinner
[Page 75] was quite spoiled, was a delicate question that Latrade himself could not answer. So, one half hour being gone, and still no appearance of him, I was on the point of suggesting that we should wait no longer, when a carriage drove up and deposited Mrs. Macready and Macready's Sister. Was ever beefsteak pie in such a cruel predicament! There was no help, however, but to do the amiable, which was not ill to do even in these trying circumstances, the visitors were such attractive sort of people. Mrs. Macready asked me how I liked Harriet's Book. I answered "how do you like it?" She made wide eyes at me and drew her little mouth together into a button. We both burst out a-laughing, and that is the way to get fast friends. An hour and half after the dinner had been all ready we proceeded to eat it, - Rio, Latrade and we, And when it was just going off the table cold, Cavaignac came, his hands full of papers and his head full of the Devil knows what; but not one reasonable word would he speak the whole night. Rio said nothing to his dispraise, but I am sure he thought in his own mind "Good Gracious! I had better never be in the same room with him again!"
But there has been another Frenchman here that I would have given a gold guinea that you had seen: To-day gone a week the sound of a whirlwind rushed thro' the street, and there stopt with a prancing of steeds and footman thunder at this door, an equipage, all resplendent with skye-blue and silver, discoverable thro' the blinds, like a piece of the Coronation Procession,
[Page 76] from whence emanated Count d'Orsay! ushered in by the small Chorley. Chorley looked "so much alarmed that he was quite alarming"; his face was all the colours of the rainbow, the under-jaw of him went zig-zag; indeed, from head to foot he was all over one universal quaver, partly, I suppose, from the soul-bewildering honour of having been borne hither in that chariot of the sun; partly from apprehension of the effect which his man of Genius and his man of Fashion were about to produce on one another. Happily it was not one of my nervous days, so that I could contemplate the whole thing from my prie-Dieu without being infected by his agitation, and a sight it was to make one think the millenium actually at hand, when the lion and the lamb, and all incompatible things should consort together. Carlyle in his grey plaid suit, and his tub-chair, looking blandly at the Prince of Dandies; and the Prince of Dandies on an opposite chair, all resplendent as a diamond-beetle, looking blandly at him. D'Orsay is a really handsome man, after one has heard him speak and found that he has both wit and sense; but at first sight his beauty is of that rather disgusting sort which seems to be like genius, "of no sex." And this impression is greatly helped by the fantastical finery of his dress: sky-blue satin cravat, yards of gold chain, white French gloves, light drab great-coat lined with velvet of the same colour, invisible inexpressibles, skin-coloured and fitting like a glove, etc., etc. All this, as John says, is "very absurd"; but his manners are manly and unaffected and
[Page 77] he convinces one, shortly, that in the face of all probability he is a devilish clever fellow. Looking at Shelley's bust, he said, "I dislike it very much; there is a sort of faces who seem to wish to swallow their chins and this is one of them." He went to Macready after the first performance of Richelieu, and Macready asked him, "What would you suggest?" "A little more fulness in your petticoat!" answered d'Orsay. Could contempt for the piece have been more politely expressed? He was no sooner gone than Helen burst into the room to condole with me that Mrs. Welsh had not seen him - such a "most beautiful man and most beautiful carriage! The Queen's was no show i' the worl' compared wi' that! Everything was so grand and so preceese! But it will be something for next time."
I have heard from Elizabeth (not Countess Pepoli yet). She says of him merely: "one of the pleasantest things that has happened to me since I came" (the place it seems is horribly dull) "has been a most cheerful Letter from Pepoli on leaving the Quadrant. He says he does not mean to see you till he has completed his arrangements." ...
O Mother! only think! poor Mr. Ryerson is dead! Died ten days ago, after three days' illness. ... It makes our Soiree quite a sad sort of remembrance to me.
The Coolidges called yesterday to take leave and beg an autograph. I am giving away the whole of the manuscript of the French Revolution, in pages. She (Mrs. Coolidge) asked most politely after you, and was sure I
[Page 78] must "miss you sadly." Creek has been but once since you went away: Carlyle was in the midst of Deerbrook when he came in, and gave such a smack with his teeth as could hardly escape notice, and has produced this amelioration of our lot. Rio has taken up his mantle, has been three times last week and comes again to-night; but he returns into Monmouthshire to-morrow and is making the best of his time.
... I hope my Uncle continues improving. My kindest regards to him and the rest. - Carlyle sends his kind love. He has been saying up to last night, "One misses her much." God bless you.
To Mrs. Welsh, Templand, Thornhill.
Chelsea, Friday, 17 May, 1839.
Dearest Mother - ... Your last Letter is particularly unsatisfactory, scattery "to a degree!" as indeed all your Letters from Liverpool have been; but now that you have "a bit haddin' o' your ain" again, I really do pray you to be at leisure, for, "depend upon it the slower thou gangs the sooner thou'lt get to thy journey's end." I
[Page 79] should have liked to know your mode of travelling; and whether my Uncle was "not so well" in the eyes or in his general health and a variety of other things which are left to "my own conjectur." This is the fourth Letter you will please to remember (including the long one to my Uncle) which I have written in Lecture-time, a time of hurry and flurry enough to drive a nervous human being like myself into daily hysterics, - if it were not that my will is stronger than my nerves. And this seems to me to deserve an ample and leisurely return.
To-morrow is last Lecture-day, thank Heaven. Unless he can get hardened in this trade, he certainly ought to discontinue it; for no gain or eclat that it can yield, is compensation enough for the martyrdom it is to himself, and thro' him to me. - To appearance he has got thro' the thing this year much more smoothly and quite as brilliantly as last year; but in defect of the usual measure of agitation beforehand, he has taken to the new and curious crotchet of being ready to hang himself after, in the idea that he has made "a horrible pluister [mess] of it." No demonstrations of the highest satisfaction on the part of his audience can convince him to the contrary; and he remains, under applause that would turn the head of most Lecturers, haunted by the pale ghost of last day's Lecture "shaking its gory locks at him" till next day's arrive to take its place and torment him in its turn. - "Very absurd."
We are suffering sadly from cold; by and by it will be hot enough. And then what is to follow is not yet very clearly apparent. Sometimes Carlyle talks of going to
[Page 80] make a lecturing campaign in America this very Autumn; sometimes of taking a house on the seashore; but we are likely, I think, to end in a campaign against Templand, - which I should not wonder if in your opinion were the most judicious and natural-looking thing we could do. God bless you, my own dear Mother: but you must get yourself right paper, ink and pens, and write world-looking Letters.
After Lectures and considerable reading for Cromwell, talking about scheme of London Library, struggling and operating towards what proved "Chartism," and more of the like, - we set out together for Scotland, by Liverpool, about July 2nd or 3rd; - for Scotsbrig both of us in the first place, then she to Templand as her headquarters, I, after leaving her there, to return to Scotsbrig as my ditto. All which took effect; - my remembrance of it now very indistinct. I do well recollect this pretty Letter, however, and other green spots in the waste. The "Gibson" of this visit to Ayr is the same "silverheaded Packman" noted above. In those years he had quite renounced trading, and led an easy, rather nomadic life, wandering about in charge of a Liverpool young gentleman of great wealth and of decidedly weak mind, - inoffensive (practically) altogether to poor Gibson, and less afflictive even to the fancy than he could have been to any as faithful guardian. This was Gibson's last employment in the world, and it continued still a good many years. To the last he was loyalty's self to all that held of Walter Welsh or Family, - devotedly ready as in the old "Black Wull" days. Good old soul. - T. C.
To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan.
Ayr, Sunday, 18 August, 1839.
Dearest - It is 56 miles to Ayr, the way we came; and we were as long about it as would have taken me from Liverpool to London, to say nothing of the superior jumbling. Add to this, that the fatigues of the day had to be borne on one bad sandwich, and without any particle of that contentment which gives a charm to even the dinner of herbs, and you will think it no shame that I arrived here in a state of "vera desperation." Poor old Gibson, however, served as a sort of spiritual featherbed, on which the wearied creosote might at length fling itself down, and taste a brief repose. He had tea and fried whitings, all prepared for us at the lodgings, - had sent in coal and candle, tea, sugar, and extras, and shown himself as usual the "kindest of men." Even I could pardon his prosing, for the sake of his good-humour, - a thing which I have been so little used to of late; and up to this hour, my patience with him is still holding out.
He had got us excellent lodgings: a diningroom about the size and shape of Mrs. Colquhoun's at Stockbridge, but more plenished-looking; and two very excellent bedrooms; mine, which is an attic, has curious dark nooks in it, where in a revolutionary period, one might secrete two, or perhaps three Aristocrats; its window looks away over a beautiful prospect of housetops; and I feel in it quite
[Page 82] a Mrs. Teufelsdröckh. The Landlady is a Writer's widow, and looks quite satisfactory. The greatest drawbacks to the comfort of the location are its vicinity to the Town-clock, which chimes every quarter, and rings for a long time at six in the morning, with a sort of passionate solemnity, which I should think would drive sleep far from every eye in Ayr. This is one of the great nuisances, and the "brattling and brainging" of the servant maids is another; there never was anything in the world the least like it! Late and early, - dump, dump, crash, clash; - and towards breakfast-time, a universal quoit-playing with all the crockery! Of course, I get little sleep; but I was sleeping so wretchedly ill at Templand, where there was perfect quietness, that I am less irritated by the noise than I would otherwise have been.
For the place itself, I can fancy it might be very pleasant to live in, under conceivable circumstances. The next time we come to Scotland, I think we must try "a bit haddin' o' oor ain" here, - at a proper distance from the Town-clock. The Town and surrounding Country have a look of cheerful sufficiency which is quite refreshing after the gigmanic stagnation of Dumfriesshire. There are the prettiest little villas all about, where one can fancy people living, without being tempted to commit suicide. The Country people look lively, and intelligent; and the Town people actually rather cultivated. And then there are capital good shops, and markets, and even a Circulating Library. And for people that like sea-bathing,
[Page 83] better cannot be found; so good that (only think!) I bathed the day before yesterday. It was an awful enterprise, truly. I thought the wind would have cut me in pieces while I was undressing; ... but at last I bobbed down the head of me twice and when I ran out, thereupon, though my wet flannel gown was clinging all round me, I felt quite warm. My Mother poured a gulp of brandy down my throat; and I ran home (only some three or four minutes' walk), with little regard to appearances. I felt better for it all afternoon, and meant to repeat the thing next day; but I had such a nervous horrid night, and next day felt so like taking a great cold that I durst not.
However the sun has shone out now, for the first time, and if it be as bright a day to-morrow, I have a mind to try another time. No sea can be clearer, or smoother at bottom, and the shore is as solitary as if nobody bathed at all.
Yesterday we dined with Mr. Gibson at his Farm, a nice house built for the Father of Lord Alloway. He hired a Philanthum to carry us; and showed us Burns's Monument, Birthplace, etc., etc., and Thom's Tam o' Shanter and Souter Johnnie, for which a pretty establishment has been built beside the Monument; and, having crammed us with victuals, brought us back at night. "The kindness of that man!" It was very pleasant to see all these Burns memorabilia. ...
Poor Gibson has pleasure-drives enough laid out for us to occupy the next month, and consume his whole stock of spare cash. But I suppose we shall be returning about the
[Page 84] end of the week. If my Mother wants to stay a few days longer I shall not object, for I am not afraid of my life here. I know a very intelligent shoemaker, and several other people of that sort; and the time does not stifle me, as it did at Templand. There is, even in this very house, a fat scullion, whom it is cheering to talk to; she looks so struck by what one says to her, and sometimes falls into a great clash of laughter that puts me in mind that there is such a thing as mirth in the world. I cannot write here, the house feels always so open; but I am not through my Nickleby yet, and I am netting at times. My Mother continues the worst-natured of women; but I let her be doing, and "keep never minding." Once a day, generally after breakfast, she tries a fall with me. And in three words I give her to understand that I will not be snubbed; privately resolving to be sore up in the world indeed, before I subject myself to such unreasonable usage again.
I will send a Newspaper on arriving at Templand. And you will then come, I trust, and take me away. Answer this immediately; address Post-office. Kind regards to all.
A winter-cold; sad accompaniment of many winters henceforth. Fierce-torturing nervous headache (continuous sometimes for three days and nights) etc., etc.: never did I see such suffering from ill-health borne so patiently as by this most sensitive and delicate of creatures all her life long. To this hour, the thought of all that often puts me to shame! - Her "maid" is poor Kirkcaldy Helen, one of the notabilities, and also blessings here; who staid with us (thanks chiefly, almost wholly, to the admirable management) for nearly twelve years on a stretch. A curious specimen, poor Helen, - and often most amusing, as interpreted and reported to me! - T. C.
To Mrs. Aitken, Dumfries.
'Chelsea,' Friday, 22 Nov., 1839.
My dear Jean - In such a beautiful confusion is this head of mine that I cannot recollect the least in the world whether or not I wrote to you that the Parcel had been sent to the address you gave me, - by the Delivery Company, Carriage paid. In case of its not turning up within reasonable
[Page 86] time, you should be told this twice rather than not at all, that you may inquire after it. It was sent some ten days or fortnight ago.
For the rest, I have been thirteen days confined to the house, with a cold, which is not quite gone yet. But I am tired of nursing it entirely; and must go out for a little while to-day to get the cobwebs blown out of my brains. ...
My maid is very kind, luckily, when I am laid up. She has no suggestiveness or voluntary help in her; but she does my bidding quietly and accurately, and when I am very bad, she bends over me in my bed, as if I were a little sick child, and rubs her cheek on mine! Once I found it wet with tears. One might think one's maid's tears could do little for a tearing headache; but they do comfort a little. What is more to the purpose, however, she makes mutton broth that is the chief consolation of Mr. C.'s life; he prefers it even to the Cock-broth of old "Putta."
Did Mr. C. tell you that one of the last outgoings I made I got my pocket picked, - the first time since I came to London, - my purse containing a sovereign and some silver? I felt very like a fool on making the discovery when I was going to pay my omnibus.
Write to me, Dear, when you have a leisure day; and believe me ever your affectionate
To John Forster, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Chelsea, Friday morning, 'August, 1840.'
If you had come last Wednesday! Verily it would
[Page 87] have been the wonderfullest realized ideal that you ever assisted at in this world! Not a morsel of victual was cooked in the house that day: my Husband had to seek his dinner at a Tavern; and I - Oh, think of it! - I had to glide stealthily to the nearest cook-shop, and buy myself, all blushing, a few ounces of cold beef! And if you would know the meaning of all which questionable phenomena, it was, in plain prose, that my maid, my only Help, was throughout that whole day, and part of next, lying dead drunk on the kitchen floor, amid a chaos of upset chairs, broken crockery, and heaven knows what besides, "fragmenta rerum non bene junctarum." In fact the sunk-story of this respectable, æsthetic house was by one of those sudden yawnings of "the universal volcanic gulf underneath our feet," converted into a lively epitome of St. Giles's, or, to speak more accurately, of a place one may not name.
Now the poor little Disgraziáta is on her legs again - for a time - I embrace the favourable moment to ship her off to Scotland, where she will at least get drunk on genuine whisky instead of blue ruin.
So, next Wednesday, God willing, you will find us all sober and most glad to see you.
Carlyle is gratified (as he could not but be) with your "kindest regards" intercalated so mindfully into your wishes for my success in emancipating myself. Ah, poor Marie Capelle! I mean to propose to dear Mrs. Macready that we married women shall by round robin, or otherwise, make some public demonstration of our sympathy towards
[Page 88] her and our approbation of her strenuous and well-meant, tho' ill-fated exertions in the Condition-of-married-women Question. Meanwhile I have her Picture hung on my wall, beside Goethe, John Knox and other great souls, who have recognised the grandeur of their "mission." "Why do women marry?" God knows, unless it be that like the great Wallenstein they do not find scope enough for their genius and qualities in an easy life.
"Night must it be ere Friedland's star shall burn!"
Don't you think that considering the distracted state of my ménage I write remarkably long Notes?
Truly yours, dear Mr. Forster,
To Mrs. Jameson, London.
Chelsea, Tuesday morning, 'November, 1840.'
Dearest Mrs. Jameson - I have seen Fraser; have held a most animated debate with him for upwards of an hour; and ended where I began, - or rather a little further back than where I began. I stated to him in the modest language of innocence and truth, that I would have £150 for my Book or would have back the MS. He on the other hand demonstrated to me by his Bookseller Arithmetic,
[Page 89] that no edition of the Book, whether large or small, whether sold at 7s.6d. or at 10s.6d., could under any conceivable human circumstances, yield one farthing more than just £150 as the whole amount of profit; so that if this sum were paid to the Author, "what," he asked with a look of blank pathos, "remained for the Publisher?" "Plainly nothing," I told him, "which I regarded as a clear intimation of Providence that no such character as a Publisher should exist!" But still he thinks that he has a right to exist, and will exist, I am afraid; but it shall not be by eating up the best part of this £150.
Confused and almost driven to despair by his numerical figures, - knowing all the while there was "a do at the bottom of them," tho' I, poor Ignorama, could not point it out, I took my stand on your authority, your more comprehensible arithmetic, and turned a deaf ear to the voice of the tempter. - At last, seeing that I would swear by my Egeria, let him talk as he would, he offered me to wait upon you, and "make you also sensible, etc.," - a proposal which I sanctioned with perhaps a too selfish readiness.
Accordingly he proposes to call upon you on Thursday at twelve o'clock. Will this visit bore you? If so, say it without hesitation and I will crush it in the bud.
As I know that the MS. would yield upwards of £150 if cut up into Review Articles, he absolutely is not to have it for less. We can try some other consequence of the Fall of Adam in the shape of Publisher; and if they all prove alike desperate of getting anything out of it, and averse to publishing it for virtue's own reward, why
[Page 90] then it can lie there, eating no bread, until some blessed "three days" in Booksellerdom have brought out a new order of things; or it can get published among his posthumous Works. ... Pardon me giving you all this trouble; it is the result of your own rash kindness. - Fraser wished me to assist at the interview, but I do not see what I can say to him more than I have already said.
Kind regards to my Lover; for I take it for granted when a man admires my Notes, the joint production of such a head and such a pen, he must certainly be in love with me. Your affec.,
A stray Letter from Mrs. Welsh to my Mother; which, so kindly, good and characteristic is it, I cannot but preserve as elucidative of her and the scene then alive with us all. My Mother had been on visit to Templand; once there she was, and beautifully treated (nay we heard of some pious aspiration to have her there for altogether, and to live in Bessie-Bell and Mary-Gray fashion); but whether there ever was an actual second visit, I don't now know. Right kind, generous, affectionate, in many points, right noble, was the Mother of my Jeannie, - and much loved by her, tho' not quite easy to live with in detail! I date by mere guess. - T. C.
Mrs. Welsh to Mrs. Carlyle, Scotsbrig.
Templand, Monday night, 'Spring, 1841.'
My dear Mrs. Carlyle - Though dear Jeannie said I was to send her no jam, - still, upon reflection, I don't see but her Mother's sweets may be as acceptable in London as at
[Page 91] Craigenputtock. Therefore I herewith send a box of them to your care; which Mr. Alex. will have the goodness to address, and ship with the other articles. I have never ceased blaming myself for not asking you to let me know how you got home and stood your journey; for your visit was so speedily accomplished, that it is more like a dream than a reality your having been here; but now that you know the height and length of Templand, I hope you will ere long return and remain with me till you are hefted.
I had a kind note from Mrs. Aitken yesterday, wherein she tells me wee Jenny has left her and gone to her Sister Mary, who has also given you another care; in regard to which I was glad to hear both Mother and Child were doing well; but sorry that Jenny had not made out her visit to Templand before she took her departure. But when she is of less consequence I hope to see you both. You would soon feel yourselves quite at home; at least it would be my wish that you did so. I was right happy to hear from Jean also that our bairns mean to visit us in Summer. May God so will it! Jean sent a beautiful shawl which I think much of, and much more of her attention; yet I could have wished she had not been so - foolish, shall I call it? - in spending her money so idly; but I feel not the less gratified by it.
I have not heard from London since the day you were here; but am looking daily for a long Letter. I had a Letter from my Brother last week; his leg is now quite well. ... I hope your Son and his young Wife are in the full enjoyment
[Page 92] of health amd happiness. Remember me to him, and also to Mr. Alexander, and to whom say the sooner he drives you back [hither], the more welcome both. When you see Mary give her my kind compliments and joy of her wee thing.
We have had dreadful stormy weather of late; and this night is, I think, the most fearful of all. .. [Letter torn.]
I hope to hear from you soon, and with every good wish for yourself and family, believe me, dear Mrs. Carlyle,
To John Forster, London.
Templand, Thornhill, Sept., 1841.
My dear Mr. Forster - Mrs. Macready writes to me today words which make me shudder. Voilà! "Mr. Forster consults Dr. ---- and is getting thin and industrious!" The "industrious" I do not object to. "The Devil," I have heard, "is always at the elbow of an idle man"; and far be it from me, your friend, and the well-wisher of humanity, to prefer that you should have so uncanny a neighbour. But against Dr. ---- and the thinness I feel myself called upon to protest seriously, loudly, with all the emphasis that is in me, which, let me tell you, is considerable! Is this all that my little gods have done for you? Worthy deities that they are, fit only to be broken and cast under the grate! I will bring you a new little god from Scotland, who will look better to your interests, if you will but in the
[Page 93] meantime abjure Dr. ---- and keep the flesh on your bones! Do, dear Mr. Forster, consider my words: Dr. ---- is an emissary of Beelzebub! Homoeopathy an invention of the Father of Lies! I have tried it, and found it wanting. I would swallow their whole doles' medicine-chest for sixpence, and be sure of finding myself neither better nor worse for it. But then, they cut off one's coffee, and wine, and tea; one's cigars, too, if I am not mistaken; they strip existence of all its best realities, till at last, just when one is "almost trained to live on air," like the Annandale man's horse, one dies!
Now, will you give up this nonsense which can come to nothing but harm? It not only grieves but irritates me to think of a man with your eyes to see and heart to understand, letting himself be mystified with spoonfuls of cold water! No one knows better than myself that there is a sort of reaction against medical science as one sees it in the present day, which predisposes one to take up with any sort of bold quackery in preference; but your life and health are precious; and so for Godsake leave Dr. ---- to administer his infinitesimal doses to fine ladies and the like, whom the world can better spare!
We shall be home presently. We have quitted Newby; and hope never to look upon its like again. ... My Husband, however, with an infatuation which there is no accounting for, is off again to his barbarous Annandale. He talked of making an excursion into Cumberland and visiting the Speddings who live there. I who have not the strength of a robin-redbreast left in me, would nowise undertake
[Page 94] to accompany him. ... If you like to send me one line to say how you are, it will find me here for a week yet, at all events; Templand, Thornhill, Dumfries.
Thanks for your Letter, and for that reminiscence of the "unfortunate woman as she is, and sometimes has been, on the part of Mrs. Yates." Alas, I give her up now! God bless you! My Mother desires to be kindly remembered to you.
Ever affectionately yours,
This Letter turns on some splutter of misunderstanding on John Sterling's part about a MS. sent me; MS. or first of several MSS. Must have been the Election, - see Life of Sterling, p. 250. - T. C.
To the Revd. John Sterling, Falmouth.
Chelsea, 'January, 1842'
Mr. Phosphorus! - I cannot help thinking that you are raising here a tempest in a teapot, which I, by principle, as well as temperament, "a lover of quiet things," must pronounce to be a rather superfluous labour. Suppose now, that, before exploding this shower of crackers on my devoted head, you had taken a moment's breath to inquire into the merits of the case, who knows but you might have saved your crackers for some future emergency, and I might have saved my head? My head, however, is fortunately a tolerably hard one, and, armed with the helmet
[Page 95] of innocence, as at present, it can defy such fire-showers to do it any deadly hurt. For my own sake, as you have already done your worst, it is hardly worth while to vindicate myself; but for the sake of the species, it may be as well perhaps to make you aware that the present contretemps has been produced rather by an unlucky conjunction of your stars, than by individual female indiscretion.
One day that I dined at Knightsbridge, some fortnight back, your Father said to me: "Where is Cavaignac?" "In Leeds," I answered. "What is he doing there?" says he. "What is your business?" says I. Presently thereupon, he told me you had written a Poem. "On what subject?" I very naturally inquired. "I do not choose to tell you," says he with a tone of retaliation. "Perhaps you do not know," says I. "I do know," says he, "but I am not at liberty to mention it." There you have scene first. Scene the second occurred on the day your Letter came to us. It was on the table when your Father and Mother came to call. There seemed less imprudence in saying my Husband had received a Letter from you that day, than in making a mystery of so simple a fact. "Does he tell you about his Poem?" said your Mother. "Yes." "Has he told you the subject?" says she again. "Yes; but that we were not to speak of it."
Now I refer it from Mr. John Sterling in a passion, to Mr. John Sterling in his sober reason, what else could I, or ought I to have said, supposing, as I had every reason to do, that your Mother was in the secret? Your Father had known it for a fortnight, and if it were conceivable that he should have kept it from her so long, was it conceivable
[Page 96] that you should have placed more confidence in your Father's discretion, than in your Mother's, - your Father being precisely the indiscreetest human being that ever was born! I saw in an instant that something had gone wrong. Your Mother looked exceedingly vexed, and said: "He has not chosen that I should know; but pray don't tell me." Then, of course, I wished that I had had the forethought to hide the corpus delicti, or that I had braved the odium of observing impenetrable silence about it; but, "a word spoken, eight horses cannot hold it back." And so I tried to laugh her out of her annoyance, the best I could. Apparently, I have not succeeded, since Letters have been written to Clifton, on the subject, and from Clifton.
What a much ado about nothing, - for me, who can scarce give myself the trouble to do a little about something.
God bless you, and give you a little more deliberateness.
The "Mrs. Russell" to whom this Letter is addressed was the Wife of Dr. Russell of Thornhill, Dumfriesshire (who, on retiring from Practice, became a Banker in the same Village), and Daughter of the Reverend Edward Dobbie, also of Thornhill. The friendship between Mrs. Carlyle and Mrs. Russell began at an early date; they saw much of each other when the Carlyles were living at Craigenputtock; and Mrs. Russell's great kindness and devotion to Mrs. Welsh, especially during the last illness of the latter, were never forgotten by Mrs. Carlyle. From
[Page 97] that time Mrs. Russell became her most intimate and dearly loved friend; and the friendship thus early begun never abated, but increased as the years went by, and continued without shadow of break till Mrs. Carlyle's death in 1866. Mrs. Carlyle spoke and wrote with unusual freedom and unreserve of her friends, and few of them escape without some touch of her pungent sarcasm; but in none of her Letters, so far as I have seen, is there a single unkindly reference to Mrs. Russell.
Mrs. Welsh had died on the 25th of February of this year. "Margaret Hiddlestone" had been her last servant, and her fidelity and kindness to her Mistress were ever afterwards remembered by Mrs. Carlyle. "Old Mary" Mills had been for long a dependent, to some extent at least, on Mrs. Welsh. These two, Margaret and Mary, were considered by Mrs. Carlyle as legacies left her by her Mother, and she never forgot to send them some little remembrance on the anniversary of her own birth (14th of July) or on that of her Mother's death. In 1865, as will be seen from later Letters, Mrs. Carlyle engaged Jessie Hiddlestone, Daughter of this Margaret, as her housemaid, and brought her up to London when returning from her last visit to Thornhill.
To Mrs. Russell, Holm Hill, Thornhill.
Chelsea, 12th July, 1842.
My dear Mrs. Russell - Will you be so good as give the little parcel to Margaret Hiddlestone with my kind remembrances. I do not know her actual address. I send also to your care a little thing for old Mary. She used to like dearly a bit of finery, and I flatter myself this handkerchief will quite please her taste. I have put up an extra half-crown along with it, which you may tell her is to make her Thursday's dinner a little better than
[Page 98] usual. She would have had a good dinner at Templand on that day, had Templand been what it was; for Thursday you must know is my birthday, and whether I was far or near, my Mother never failed to make a sort of celebration of it. Alas, alas, this 14th of July, for the first time in my whole life, I shall miss the Mother's-gift and blessing which always reached me, however distant she might be, and however circumstanced. It will pass over unnoticed like any other day of the year, - only for myself, it will be a sorrowful day enough; but all my days are sorrowful now, so I need not look forward with any particular apprehension to this one. I feel that that stroke, so heavy and unexpected, has taken away a great piece of my life; that I shall never get the better of it. I may not die this long while yet, but henceforth I can only live in the idea of death. And perhaps it is better for me so, than that I should return into the state of blind security in which I was living before this affliction came upon me. She was every way so much better than I am, that without some such expiation of sorrow, I should hardly dare to look forward to being united to her where she is gone.
My Husband has been unusually well since his return. He is very patient mith me, and does all he can to fill her place; but who can do that? One can have but one Mother. My Cousin Jeannie, too, who is still here, is very kind indeed. All my friends are kinder to me far than I deserve; but somehow their kindness seems to make me only the sadder: I think always, Oh, if I had but her to tell it to again, then it would do me good!
Now, there, I have written nothing but sad things to
[Page 99] you, dear Mrs. Russell; and when I sat down I meant to write cheerfully. But you will see, in my putting so little restraint on my thoughts, that I feel towards you the trustfulness of a sincere affection, and so will not weary of these lamentations.
We are always glad to see Dr. Russell's handwriting on the Newspaper. Remember us to him kindly, and to your Father. Write to me when you can. ...
To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.
Chelsea, Monday, 'April, 1843.'
Dearest Mrs. Russell - I am wearying to have some news of you. Absolutely, willing or unwilling, busy or lazy, you must sit down and write me a Letter! How are you and what are you all doing there in Thornhill? Where is Margaret and what sort of industry is she following? And old Mary, is she still able to creep about, and have you any money for her remaining? My Husband says you were to give her two shillings a week, which you considered would suffice for her with what she had. May be so, but two shillings a week would not keep a London poor woman in "beer!" A woman whom I found lately lying on a little mouldy straw with not a single blanket over her - only an old cloak - and sharing that and the straw with three children, owned to having ten shillings a week allowed her, besides some bread and cheese from the Parish, while her eldest child received both food and clothing at a charity-school;
[Page 100] and the youngest being only five years old could not consume very much. Tho' I never tried living and keeping two children on ten shillings a week, I could not but think I would have made a better job of it than she seemed to be making; and I took pains to ascertain how the money went: four and sixpence went to the grocer for tea and sugar! "And then," said she, "as long as I live I must have my pint of beer (brown stout) in the day; I cannot want my pint of beer for anything!" And so she lay all through the Winter, in the state I have mentioned, with a bad cold too, which turned to consumption, and the other day she died! And I am afraid this is no exceptional case of unthrift. A woman to whom I gave some money to get her children's flannel petticoats out of pawn went home and within a quarter of an hour's time had fried herself a panful of mutton chops off it! Mutton chops being at the time ninepence a pound. And ever so many instances of the same improvident spirit have come under my observation. But tho' old Mary get more good of two shillings than a London woman of ten, still even in Scotland, and under your good care, it is a very slender amount of capital to front the world with! And if she fall sick and become quite helpless, I trust to you getting her whatever is necessary and applying to me for money whenever she wants it. Not that I doubt but you would be ready to help her yourself. My Mother often told me how good and charitable you and your Husband were. But this old woman is my concern, not yours. I cannot supply to her the
[Page 101] place of the friend she has lost; but it is both my duty and my pleasure to do it as far as lies in my power.
Did you hear of the sad fright which we had with my Uncle in Liverpool? He was taken ill one night, just as She was last year and in the same week of the same month. The daily accounts I received of him were always that he was a little better and a little better; for a long while I could not open their Letters without terror. I remembered always how her betterness had terminated and made little doubt but his would prove alike fallacious. Now however, months having passed without any new attack, I begin to trust that he may be spared a few years longer to his poor children, who are too young to find themselves orphans in the world. His doctors tell him that he must live sparingly; must guard himself from all sorts of excitement; leave off card-playing, etc., etc.; and he does their bidding for the present, while the danger he has run is still fresh in his mind. But God knows whether his patience and docility may not wear out, and then! - Poor children, they have quite got up their hearts again, are dancing away at Balls and all the rest of it as if there were no drawn sword suspended by a hair over their heads. For me who see both the dancing and the drawn sword, it is an anxious spectacle!
I shall probably go to Liverpool for a week or two in the course of the Summer. There was a talk at one time of Summer-quarters to be taken somewhere in Cheshire; but my Brother-in-law John, who has a particular
[Page 102] knack, like the pigs, of "running thro'" things, came to live in the house till some new employment turned up for him, kept proposing to my Husband this and that excursion on the Continent, till we are all at sea again. Wherever John is there is uncertainty also!
Only think! I have still the same little maid! Indeed I need never speak of her going again till she be actually gone. Nothing could be more determined than I was to part with her that time when I wrote for Margaret. But she absolutely would not go; would not seek herself a place! She seems really to have much the same notion of the indissolubility of our relation, that the old Scotch Butler had of his and his Master's, in whose service he had been for forty years. When his Master told him his temper was become absolutely insufferable, and they two must positively part, he answered with a look of disdainful astonishment, "And where the Deevil wud ye gang tae?" Helen did not exactly ask me where I wud gang tae, but she asked in a tone of the most authoritative remonstrance, "what would become of you I should just like to know; fancy you ill and me not there to take proper care of you! I think that would be a farce!" To tell her what would become of me under such astonishing circumstances, quite exceeding my gift of prophecy, what could I do but just bid her "stay where she was, then, only try whether she could not behave herself more like a reasonable creature"? And to do her justice, she has been a little more reasonable latterly.
I have kept quite free of Influenza this Spring, for wonder. ... I have not much strength to speak of. But I am able to keep on foot; and my mind is quieter; and on the whole I have reason to be thankful.
I hope you have got my Husband's new Book by this time. He sent it to you by a Bookseller's parcel two weeks ago. To think that he should have finished a Book and no copy sent to Templand! When I saw him writing your name instead, I could do nothing but cry. ...
I enclose half a sovereign for a pound of tea for Mary, and another to Margaret. God bless you all, and believe me always gratefully and affectionately yours,
Be sure when you write to mention when more money will be needed for Mary. Do you ever hear of Mary Milligan? Has she any child yet?
As an Introduction to the Letters of July, 1843, Mr. Froude prints the following malicious little paragraph in his anxiety to make good his charge of selfishness against Carlyle:
"The house in Cheyne Row requiring paint and other re-adjustments, Carlyle had gone on a visit to Wales, leaving his Wife to endure the confusion and superintend the workmen, alone with her maid."
It is painful to be obliged to say that Mr. Froude certainly knew that he was making a groundless charge of selfishness here. When writing the foregoing he had in his keeping Letters affording clear evidence of the fact
[Page 104] that Mrs. Carlyle as well as her Husband was invited to Wales by their friend, Mr. Charles Redwood; and that for reasons of her own she refused the invitation. Carlyle's Letters to her show that he had tried to persuade her to accompany him on this Welsh tour; they also show that, failing in this, he next proposed to take a furnished Cottage, near Nottingham, in which to spend the month of August together. To the Letter in which Carlyle makes this proposal Mrs. Carlyle replies: "No, certainly; I do scream at the idea. Never mind me, Dearest; try to get the most good of the Country that can be got for yourself; I do not care a farthing for Country air; and am busier here than I could be anywhere else. Besides I should like to go to Liverpool when my Uncle returns home." These words are a part of Letter 48 (Letters and Memorials, i., 212), and Mr. Froude suppressed them.
The fact is Mrs. Carlyle had set her heart on decorating her House a little this Summer, and she adroitly managed to get Carlyle off by himself on a holiday (which he needed much, having lately finished one of his books, Past and Present, so that she might herself be free from the "cares of bread" to devote all her time and energy to superintend the workmen, etc., intending to take her own holiday later on (which she did) when she had accomplished the great desire of her heart, the rehabilitation of her House. Mrs. Carlyle, therefore, declined Mr. Redmood's invitation to Wales; and declined Carlyle's proposal of a furnished Cottage in the Country, preferring to remain at home for the better execution of a project of her own which she greatly desired and which could not be executed except in Carlyle's absence.
What ground is there for a charge of "selfishness" against Carlyle, under these circumstances? In leaving home at this time he was doing exactly what his Wife wished above all things that he should do. Had he refused to be persuaded to take himself out of the way, she would have been bitterly disappointed; her little plan would
[Page 105] have been spoiled, and in this case, he might have been blamed with some reason for selfishness. As it was, Mrs. Carlyle was evidently pleased at having got her own way. She certainly does not write like a Wife who felt herself deserted by a selfish Husband in a time of trouble! On the contrary, she is seized with panic at the thought of Carlyle's return. She writes on the 8th of July, a few days after he had set out, "Well! you cannot come back here just now at all rates, that is flat. What think you of going to this Forster [W. E. Forster, Mr. Froude has mysteriously concealed the name]? Here, indeed, you would not 'come out strong' under the existing circumstances. It is only I who can be 'jolly' in such a mess," etc. And on the 12th of July, she writes pleasantly to her friend Mrs. Russell "My Husband is gone into Wales, and I am taking the opportunity of his absence to do a deal of papering and painting, etc., that was become absolutely needed. He will never suffer the least commotion when he is at home, so one is obliged to concentrate the whole horrors of such operations into the rare periods of his absence." (post, p. 114.)
Mrs. Carlyle appears to have had a much pleasanter time at home than her Husband had on his tour, judging from their Letters. She had visitors and visitings more than enough, and had no occasion to pine and fret in solitude "alone with her maid." The Letters she wrote during Carlyle's absence are more than usually numerous, sprightly, happy and gay. This is not to be wondered at; for besides the prospect of having a well-cleaned and beautified house, in which she always took the greatest pleasure and pride, she actually enjoyed the process of house-cleaning and the superintendence of workpeople: found herself "engaged in the career open to her particular talents"; found "it a consolation to be of some use" in the world; and was "remarkably indifferent to material annoyances," "regarding 'earthquakes' [housecleanings] as something almost laughable."
And when her turn for a holiday came, she went to Ryde in the Isle of Wight; but, alas, she found it a much less pleasant affair than staying at Chelsea "alone with her maid." For she writes soon after her homecoming, "I never was more thankful in my life than to get home again. My disgust at Ryde had reached the point of insupportability." She confessed that the only good she got of the visit was the acquisition of "a more open sense for the comforts of my own lot, - especially for the inestimable blessing of having a bedroom undisturbed by noise," etc. The holiday had been such as to make her "look like Lady Macbeth in the Sleeping Scene"; the house-repairing, a series of delights, of fascinating interest, of congenial and exhilarating employment crowned at last by the realisation of her fondest wish, to be the happy mistress of a beautifully restored House fit to make her "the envy of surrounding housewives," and to be shown with honest pride to her Husband on his home-coming.
In fine, Mr. Froude's little paragraph was quite uncalled for; it is frivolous, mischievous, misleading and malicious. It "fills one," to use his own words on another occasion, "with a feeling of what the Scotch call wae." One Scotchwoman at least would have been wae indeed, and something more than wae, could she have known that such a silly and spiteful accusation against her Husband would be insinuated between her bright and kindly "bits of Letters!". She would most likely have replied to Mr. Froude and his condolences as Rae of Ecclefechan did to another equally absurd and officious sympathiser, "Damn ye, be wae for yersel'!" (Letters and Memorials., i., 260n).
To T. Carlyle, care of Mrs. Strachey, Clifton.
Chelsea, Tuesday, 4 July, 1843.
Dearest - ... I awoke this morning, to sleep no
[Page 107] more, at four o'clock, - a sudden thought having struck me in my sleep that I had de grandes choses à faire. But now that I have had a cup of washy tea (for I took bluepill last night by way of clearing my faculties), I see nothing pushing. I have only to prepare the criminal (your room) for execution (Pearson coming to-morrow at six), and to drive to Greenwich and sit some time under a tree with old Sterling. He came yesterday, just after I went out; and was told by Helen my first direction was to the Post-office. So presently in walking up Church Street towards Pearson's, I heard a horse and wheels pirring after me, which I understood by the sound of it somehow, without turning my head, to be in chase of me. He drove me to Pearson's, - then to take the air on foot (or rather the dust, for it was blowing a perfect tornado of dust) on Battersea Bridge, where I spoke to Helps going forth on his ride; then to the dyer's, and set me down in the King's Road, having "important business in Town," viz., having to eat mutton chops at the Carlton.
... Elizabeth Pepoli came in the evening, - nobody else. She invited me to go to-night when Carlo would be out at dinner; but Greenwich will be distraction enough for one day.
The poor little Umbrella is not come yet. I will go to see about it to-morrow, if there be not time to-day.
[Page 108] Never mind the failure of your little stratagem, - it is only the most affecting for me from its failure. - No Letters to-day, except one from Jeannie Welsh.
Here is Sterling come for me already, so farewell. Write instantly.
Your affectionate, unfortunate
To T. Carlyle, Mrs. Strachey's,
2 Lower Terrace, Clifton, Bristol.
Chelsea, 5th July, 1843.
Dearest - The earthquake is commenced; awfully grand, I assure you, - and the heat too is awfully grand. I was up at six, and had a pitcherful of water poured on me the first thing.
The time I have been reading the Letters, is the only time I have sat still since I rose (Irish). Miss Bölte has been here, but I absolutely refused to go down to her. She was here yesterday also, but I was at Greenwich. Greenwich methinks is an extremely "nasty" place; but we had good cold chicken and strawberries. Little Mr. Cowan came while I was away, to offer me his boat for the Regatta: but I should not have gone, having no idea of losing my one life at a sailing-match. Darwin also came, and Elizabeth (Pepoli); but I missed the whole. I should like to be "well let alone," for I have "de grandes choses à faire."
For your comfort under any noises that may wake
[Page 109] you, what think you roused me this morning? The buzzing of flies!
Here is a Note requesting for the King of Prussia the same extraordinary information which Mazzini applied to you for, the other day; - the Devil fly away with that foolish Double! (What a pen!) - Also an invitation from the Bishop of St. David's: I send them on, without delay, tho' I am not sure they will overtake you at Clifton.
You do not tell me how you like my beautiful Vittoria, do please condescend to particulars. Krasinski has sent me a long list of Icelandic Books. Shall I send it?
"You must excuse us the day"; I am in a complete mess, and my pen refuses to mark; - I shall be in a complete mess for a time and times and half a time. I will perhaps go a few days to the Isle of Wight, for breathing in the midst of it; but I shall not be done with my work this month to come. You see you do so hate commotions, that this house gets no periodical cleanings like other peoples', and one must make the most of your absence. Do not curse this writing; I will try to get some pens mended for next time.
Your affectionate J. C.
The Letter which would follow next in chronological sequence is that numbered 46 in the "Letters and Memorials" (i., 202) and there dated in error July 18, 1843. Its correct date is 7th July, as is evident from the contents of the Letter itself confirmed by Carlyle's fully dated reply to it. One of the several unmarked omissions from the Letter is as follows: "The Umbrella? Not yet! They themselves are going to keep it I think till the 14th."
This of itself proves that the date "18th July," is wrong.
Charles Redwood, "the honest Lawyer," a silently deep friend of mine, and of all good men and things, was at present, - and twice afterwards on different occasions, - my host at Llandough. He was not entertaining to me, but I much respected him, and felt his kindness and fidelity. - T. C.
To T. Carlyle, care of C. Redwood,
Llandough, Cowbridge, S. Wales.
Chelsea, '8 July, 1843.'
When one gets up at six and "is always virtuous," it does look so long till Post-time! But I have your Letter now, and have been to Regent Street too, although it is still but one o'clock, and a regular rainy day! Sterling came to ask if I wanted anything, on his way early to the Club. So I told him to take me up, and drop himself at the Club, and I would fetch the carriage home. ... Well, the beast of an Umbrella-man simpered and bowed and told endless great lies, and plainly had - forgotten the whole transaction! I recalled it to his mind "emphatically enough," especially the fact of his having received
[Page 111] payment for an article which he had failed to send and seemed to be never intending to send. He promised for to-night, and I left him with a look "significant of much!" Never mind, Dearest, the poor little umbrella is only the more precious to me for the difficulty of getting it.
If you have not that sea-bathing lodging, I am afraid these good lean people will soon weary you. - Well, you cannot come back here just now, at all rates, - that is flat. What think you of going to this Forster? Here indeed, you would not "come out strong" under the existing circumstances. It is only I who can be "jolly" in such a mess of noise, dirt and wild dismay! I said to the lad in the lobby, this morning, who was filling the whole house with "Love's young Dream," "How happy you must feel that can sing thro' that horrible noise you are making!" "Yes, thank you, Ma'am," says he, "I'm happy enough so far as I knows, but I's always a-singing anyhow! it sounds pleasant to sing at one's work, doesn't it, Ma'am?" "Oh, very pleasant," said I, quite conquered by his simplicity: "but it would be still pleasanter for me at least, if you would sing a song from beginning to end, instead of bits here and there." "Thank you, Ma'am," says he again; "I'll try!" But he does not succeed.
I have the most extraordinary Letter from Terrot, which I would send, only that it would cost twopence itself. He writes to tell me that he "did not like his reception"; that "often as he came and long as he staid, I treated him indeed with perfect civility, did not yawn, or appear to be suppressing a yawn; but I seemed to labour under a continual feeling of oppression! and to
[Page 112] be thinking all the while of something else!" "What did I see to offend me in him?" he asked with great humility. "From what he heard of my preferences and saw of my society, he was inclined to suppose that what I objected to in him must be the want of that first great requisite, earnestness!" But he begged to assure me, etc., etc., - in short, that he had as much earnestness "as he could bear!" A Letter from a man calling himself Bishop to a woman whom he calls infidel, and pleading guilty to her of want of earnestness! Bah! I wish I could snort like Cavaignac.
There now I must stop. I daresay I have wearied you. God keep you, Deer. Be quite at ease about me.
To T. Carlyle, care of C. Redwood,
Llandough, Cowbridge, S. Wales.
Chelsea, '11th July, 1843.'
Dearest - I have no time to write a Letter to-day; but a line you must have to keep you easy. It has been such a morning as you cannot figure: the whitewasher still whitewashing; Pearson and men tearing out the closet; -  and the boy always grinding with pumice-stone! Having been taught politeness to one's neighbours by living next door to Mr. Chalmers, I wrote a Note to Mr. Lambert,
[Page 113] No. 6, regretting that his and Family's slumbers were probably curtailed by my operations; and promising that the nuisance would have only a brief term. This brought in Mr. Lambert upon me ("virtue ever its own reward," etc.), who staid for an hour talking, you know how. Then came Perry, trying to look a suffering injured angel, but absolutely white with concentrated rage at my having employed another than him. He came for his rent, - and got it. Then, before he was out, came Elizabeth [Pepoli] anxious to know what ailed me, as she had not seen me for some time; and poor Elizabeth herself was full of troubles, - more money to be lifted! And so, "altogether" you may fancy whether I am in favourable circumstances for writing. For God's sake do not let John plump in upon me in my present puddlement! There wants only him, or the like of him, constantly running out and in, interfering with everything and needing to be attended to, to make my discomfort complete. The bare idea of it makes me like to scream! -
There are no more Letters come for you. Arthur Helps paid me a visit on Sunday forenoon, and found on the table a new Legitimate Drama! actually another come! But what is far more extraordinary, I have read it from beginning to end, with considerable pleasure; - which was a little abated, however, when I found that you had to pay four shillings for it; Launcelot of the Lake, by one J. Riethmüller, - is he a German par hazard! He writes the best English rhythm of the whole bunch of them.
And you do not like my beautiful Vittoria! Oh, what want of taste! - The umbrella is come, and awaiting Friday. Bless you. Try not to get excessively dull. - I am getting into my sleep again. I rise always at six, of course: - but I go to bed between ten and eleven. (No room for signature; last paragraph crowded in on inverted top of page first. - T. C.)
To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.
Chelsea, '12 July, 1843.'
My dearest Mrs. Russell - ... The 14th is my birthday; and timeless and paperless tho' I be, I must send by this post, or Margaret and old Mary will not be put in mind of me on my birlhday. I daresay you think me full of odd fancies, but I cannot help it. I feel my fancies to be more a part of myself than my reasons.
I am in the thick of what I call a household earthquake; have been and will be for days to come. My Husband is gone into Wales, and I am taking the opportunity of his absence to do a deal of papering and painting, etc., that was become absolutely needed. He will never suffer the least commotion when he is at home, so one is obliged to concentrate the whole horrors of such operations into the rare periods of his absence. I believe he is going from Wales into Annandale. I do hope he will go to see you. For me I know not where
[Page 115] to go, now that I cannot go to Scotland all places look alike impossible. I am better in health, however, and do not dislike London as Mr. C. does.
I send a little parcel for Margaret to your care, and shall enclose a Post-office Order (when I have got it) for a pound of tea to Mary. ... Love to your Husband and Father.
Ever your affectionate,
To T. Carlyle, at Mr. Redwood's, S. Wales.
Chelsea, 14th July, 1843.
Dearest - Even if I had not received your pathetic little packet, for which I send you a dozen kisses, I meant to have written a long Letter to-day; but there is one from Geraldine Jewsbury requiring answer by return of post; and it has taken so much writing to answer it, that I am not only weary, but have little time left.
Yesterday evening I received a most unexpected visit from - Kitty Kirkpatrick! A lady sent in
[Page 116] her card and asked if I would see her, "Mrs. James Phillips": I supposed it must be some connection of Kitty's, and sent word, "surely, if the lady can stand the smell of paint"; and in walked Kitty looking as tho' it were the naturallest thing in the world. When I expressed my surprise at her sudden return, she merely said that "she had found coming up before so easy!" There was something rather dandaical in that answer; for I suppose the fact was, she had come up to her Cousin's marriage. Oh, my Dear, she is anything but good-looking! Very sweet, however, and says such flattering things. She told me that two friends of hers, a Mrs. Hermitage and a Mrs. Daniel ("Wife of the great East India merchant") were dying to know me (?): they had seen, I think she said, some of my Letters! (ach Gott!) and had heard of me from so many people, and lastly from our Rector, Mr. Kingsley (wolf in sheep's clothing that I am!), that I was "quite an angel." And of course the thing to be done with an angel was to ask her to a seven o'clock dinner at Fulham, - where Kitty was staying with Mrs. Daniel, - and for this day. Impossible, I said; too late, too far, and you absent, etc., etc. "But," said Kitty, "what can I say to them? They will take no refusal and I promised they should make your acquaintance - in fact they are now in the carriage at the door!" A shudder ran through my veins: the fine ladies, the dismantled house, the wet paint; good heavens, what should I do? A sudden thought struck me; my courage rose superior to the horrors of my situation: "Well," I said, "I will
[Image fp116: MISS KITTY KIRKPATRICK]
[Page 117] go if you wish it and make their acquaintance in the carriage!" "Oh, how obliging of you! If you would be so good!"
I jumped up instantly, lest my enthusiasm of desperation should evaporate, walked along the passage under the fire of all the enemies' eyes; peremptorily signalled to a blue-and-silver footman to let down the steps, and, to the astonishment of the four fine ladies inside, and my own, mounted into their coach and told them here I was, to be made acquaintance with in such manner as the sad circumstances would admit of! Kitty stood outside, meanwhile, throwing in gentle words; and the whole thing went off well enough. I should not know any of these women again; I saw nothing but a profusion of blond and flowers and feathers. It was an action equal to jumping single-handed into a hostile citadel; I had no leisure to notice the details. Mercifully (as it happened) I had dressed myself just half an hour before, and rather elegantly, from a feeling of reaction against the untidy state in which I had been Cinderella-ing all the day; it was, as Grace M'Donald said, when she broke her arm and did not break the glass of her watch, "There has been some mercy shown, for a wonder!"
The evening before, instead of Forster, who again puts off till Saturday, I had little Mr. Hugh Ross and your disciple, Mr. Espinasse.
Tell John when you write that Mr. William Ogilvy
[Page 118] has left his card for him. Jeannie, with a kind Letter and a pretty pincushion, sends me word to-day that I will receive from my Uncle a tasting of some new Madeira he has been bottling. I will not drink it all before you come. See what a deal I have written after all. Again, bless you for your thought for me: the umbrella was no failure however - do not think that.
Ever your affectionate,
From Llandough and C. Redwood I went to Bishop Thirlwall, Abergwilly (Laud's old Palace); staid three days with this esteemed Thirlwall, riding in the rain, dialoguing in the big empty "Palace," etc.; - mournful in my thoughts, but kindly, and entitled to respect, these three days and their Bishop and his life. Returned by Glo'ster, by Liverpool; and thence with Brother John to Wales, - top of Snowdon in mist, etc. - T. C.
To T. Carlyle,
care of The Lord Bishop of St. David's, Caermarthan.
Chelsea, Monday, 17th July, 1843.
(Before Post Time.)
Dearest - Tout va bien, - the work goes well and myself go well. The early rising, and the shower-bathing and the having something to look after, agree with me wonderfully; the degree of heat also is exactly suited to my needs. This and the other person drops in, and asks if I do not feel lonely? It is odd what notions men seem to have of the scantiness of a woman's
[Page 119] resources. They do not find it anything out of nature that they should be able to exist by themselves; but woman must always be borne about on somebody's shoulders, and dandled or chirped to, or it is supposed she will fall into the blackest melancholy! When I answered that question from Arthur Helps yesterday in the negative, "Why should I feel lonely? I have plenty to do, and can see human beings whenever I look out at the window," he looked at me as if I had uttered some magnanimity worthy to have place in a Legitimate Drama; and said, "Well, really you are a model of a wife!" ...
Darwin also called yesterday; he had been absent all the week: first at Mrs. Marsh's, and then "lounging about all the great mourning-shops in London," - equipping the Wedgwoods with mourning for Mr. Wedgwood's Father! Good God, how some people take these things! The Wedgwoods were to have gone to Mair the beginning of the week. "Oh, what a pity," I said, "that they had not gone the week before; that they might have been in time to see their Father." - "Why, no," said he, "it is much better as it is; for it is much more convenient for them being all here to get their mourning before going, there is such a quantity needed, so many children, servants, and all that; they are quite spending their life in Jay's in Regent Street!" - It made me quite sick to hear of a Father gone out of the world, and no other care felt about the matter except that of getting mourning. - Darwin was very much out of humour yesterday about Harriet Martineau! and applied
[Page 120] to me for approbation and comfort under "a rather brutal thing" which Wedgwood and he had felt it their duty to do her. Did I tell you before?
She wrote to them last week, desiring that from the £1,300 collected there should be first and foremost bought £100 worth of - plate! She had Cox the great Jeweller's list sent her by Mrs. Reid; and had marked off various articles, silver teapot, £45, etc., etc. Darwin "thought at first she must have gone mad"; then he fancied she wished, in spending the rest of the money, to preserve this much of it in shape of a testimonial! then that she wished to leave it in a legacy to her Brother James! Anyhow, after some days' deliberation, Mr. Wedgwood and he, who were required to do this thing in their official capacity, wrote to Mrs. Reid, that they in their official capacity peremptorily declined [to do] it: if Miss Martineau chose to buy £100 worth of plate, she must do it herself after she entered into possession of the money; as they had expressly stated, the money, not plate, was to be given to her. Certainly Harriet is going all to nonsense with her vanities. Now she will probably be quite angry at these men, who have done so much for her - because they refuse to comply with her whim.
(After post). Here is your Letter, Dearest; and all is well, - only that I do not comprehend how you should have failed of getting mine of the 14th. I wrote on Friday, took it to the post-office myself; and paid twopence for it: there was a Note from Miss Wilson along with my Letter, and a Letter from Jeannie and Betty: I think it was the same day I sent the "three ugly Newspapers," which
[Page 121] makes the delay of my Letter the more mys-tairous. But you will have got it by this time surely, - I would not for anything have missed sending you a kiss for the dear little Band. I wrote five minutes after receiving it.
The hamper of Madeira arrived from Liverpool that night, and I was feeling so dreary at the time, in spite of all your and so many other people's kindness to me; and in spite of all I could repeat to myself, that it was distraction to regret that I could not pass to the end of existence as an indulged, petted, only-child, - that I felt almost tempted to break into the hamper and lose all sense of the actual in the unknown pleasure of being dead-drunk; but of course I did not do it.
I called for Miss Wilson, that she might not think you impolite, which was a really great action on my part; she was mighty civil. Forster came on Saturday forenoon, with "Great Gods" enough to blow up a steam vessel; he gave me a cheque for £50, which I have not left lying on the floor of the china-closet. His dinner invitation I gracefully but peremptorily declined. I have a long history to tell you of the wretched Mudies - plenty of long histories to tell you, but they will keep, - and to-day, I have no more time. Tell me if you have got the other letter: I am sure I addressed it all right.
Ever your affectionate
"Liverpool" indicates that I have met Brother John there; in view of the Welsh Tour, - which did not prove a very interesting or successful one. "South Place" is the Sterlings' Residence, in Knightsbridge. - T. C.
To T. Carlyle, 20 Maryland St., Liverpool,
Library, South Place, '22 July, 1843.'
Dearest - I write to you in a new position, - and one of tolerable comfort. I have for the present this room, and indeed, the whole house, all to myself. I have made them put on a good fire, the day being wet; have ordered the dinner; have strengthened my mind with an adequate supply of bread and butter and sherry; - and now sit down, within a yard of the fire, to send you a blessing on your wayfarings and thanks for your Letter, which I had before I left home.
Sterling came with the carriage early to fetch me up here, for no special reason, "just for diversion" (as my Penfillan Grandfather said he ate cheese-and-bread in the forenoon), and I consented because, the day being wet, and myself somewhat low, I thought a change (Helen's favourite prescription) might be of service, particularly as he held out the prospect of my being left alone while he went to call for Charles Barton and to do some "indispensable business." One benefit resulting from the "change" you will gratefully acknowledge, viz.: the better pens I have to act with; - it is not the pen's fault if my writing be illegible to-day. ...
Poor Pearson has lost his old Mother, and is gone to the
[Page 123] country to bury her. You would have been wae to see the iron-looking man yesterday, going about quite flushed and with tears in his eyes. He told me he was sitting writing a Letter to her to say he would come and pay her a visit, when he received the accounts of her death. She was turned of ninety. I gave him a glass of wine, and shook hands with him when he went away on his sad errand. I felt so Sisterly towards him.
I have nothing to tell you to-day, - I have seen nobody since I wrote last, except Mazzini, who seemed in a fair way of having another tumour in his cheek; I have asked Geraadine Jewsbury to translate his Article, for payment, and she agrees. Forster begged me to find a translator for it, "as he really wished to print it for the poor fellow"; and I could think of no likelier person than Geraldine. He is to go to Lady Harriet on Wednesday; John Mill leaving him no rest on that subject. And now I will tell you a political secret; - but for God's sake speak not a syllable of it: - there is "a movement" in Italy projected in two months!! Contrary to Mazzini's advice, who thinks two months rather soon. But if the leaders insist, he will evidently take part in it!!!
John Ruffini writes that he has read Carlyle's Past and Present; - and has seen many persons "who by the reading of it" have recovered their souls, or had not till then been sensible that they ever had any."
Kiss Babbie for me. She will be very glad to see you,
[Page 124] the dear child, though her mess at present seems to be the counterpart of my own. ...
God keep you, Dear.
I send the money-order.
"Robertson" is the blusterous John Robertson, whom Mill had at that time as Sub-editor, or Subaltern generally, in the Westminster Review; and who took absurdish airs on that dignity. ... "Masson," whom he introduces, is the now well-known and deservedly distinguished Professor Masson; - whose Portrait is recognisable in every feature as given here. - T. C.
To T. Carlyle, care of Miss J. Welsh,
20 Maryland St., Liverpool.
Chelsea, 24th July, 1843.
Dearest - ... Robertson brought here last night to tea a youth from Aberdeen of the name of Masson; - a Newspaper Editor, poor thing, and only twenty! He is one of your most ardent admirers and imitators. Robertson said "he had come up to town to see the lions, and he had brought him to me." ("My brother plays the German flute," etc.) He is a better "specimen" of Aberdeen than I ever saw before; an innocent, intelligent, modest, affectionate-looking creature: I quite took to him. When he went away, which he seemed to do very unwillingly, I said that he must come and see us when he returned to London, and I hoped to make up then for his present disappointment
[Page 125] by introducing him to you; to which he answered, with a cordial grasp of my hand, "Eh! what a real shame in ye to say that." He told me if I would come to Aberdeen they would get up a mob for me in Fiskmarket Place, and give me a grand hurrah - "and a paragraph, of course!" I must tell you before I forget, when Helen was handing me over some of the books, she said, "take care, that ane's the Maister's Sartor Resart, and a capital thing it is, - just noble in my opinion!!" She told me the other day that "Bishop Terrot was really a wee noughty body as ever she had set een upon." I like that word "noughty," much.
I have got for reading Fielding's Amelia! and The Vicar of Wakefield, which I am carrying on simultaneously. I find the first a dreadful bore.
I well remember all this of the Prussian Officer, etc.; his loss of the Past and Present "Inscription" was ingeniously supplied, - (wrote a new inscription, namely, and sent it to the Publisher to be bound with a new copy!). - The Kay Shuttleworth Dinner, I also remember well. - T. C.
To T. Carlyle: 20 Maryland St., Liverpool.
Chelsea, Friday, '28th July, 1843.'
Dearest - I write to you in the vague as you desired that I should, tho' it would have suited my practical spirit better to have waited until you had "found a fixed point."
Well! the most remarkable thing that I have to tell you is that I - little I - have been to Tunbridge Wells!! Went and came in the same day! - You may guess, then, with what spirit of locomotion. John Sterling came the beginning of the week; and since then, has been in one thousand one hundred cabs and other vehicles, to say the least. He was going to Tunbridge to visit Mrs. Prior, and Mrs. Prior having as I told you, conceived a wonderful liking for me, he proposed to take me with him; so we left this at seven o'clock yesterday morning, and were at Tunbridge at half after nine! and at the Wells an hour after that. Mrs. Prior gave us the most animated welcome; an early dinner, served on plate, at the most magnificent Hotel imagination ever painted to itself; and drove us back to Tunbridge in her carriage. I should detest living at Tunbridge Wells, - even in that magnificent Hotel! - but it was charming to look at with all its "curiosities and niceties," for a few hours; and the drive from the Wells to Tunbridge was really as picturesque as the lover of Nature (not I) could possibly desire. John is back again to-day at Ventnor; whither I could not accompany him, for plenty of good reasons: first because my chaos is not settled yet - and still more since I find that "the X - - s" are going to ruralise with him for a month on their own suggestion. He, poor fellow, candidly acknowledged that he dreaded it as a considerable of a bore. A thing almost equal in energy I have to do this very day, viz: to dine with the Kay Shuttleworths at seven o'clock! I am to meet
[Page 127] Mrs. Austin, who is to be here for a little while and I look forward to the whole thing with a sacred shudder. A dinner is hard enough on me at any time; but on my own responsibility, without the Lion to take the responsibility quite off my weak shoulders, "terrible is the thought to me." However the Lady came herself and pressed so hard, and we had used them so scurvily hitherto, that I had not force of character enough to say no. To mend the matter I have got a stiff shoulder; but will try the shower-bath on it before dinner-time. All these Daniels too, called again the other day when I was out, and left the most magnificent bouquet, worthy of the Garden of Eden! with many kind messages. So you see I am popular in your absence.
But I must not forget to tell you of another visitor whom I was quite sorry you did not see: a Prussian General-officer sent by Varnhagen von Ense. He sent in his card and letter of introduction, begging to know when you would return; so, recognising Varnhagen's writing, I of course invited him in; and received him in my choicest mood: a thing not ill to do, the man being the very beau ideal of a Prussian Officer; so high-bred and intelligent and brave-looking. He is here buying horses for the army. His faculty of English was not great; but happily little Bölte was here at the time, come to tea with me, and he knew some of her relations in the army, and it was a "mutual strike" between them. He is a man about 50, I should think, and stands some six feet two inches high, - "plumb and more." Considering what I could do for
[Page 128] him, I could think of nothing better than sending Krasinski, who could speak German, and is a gentleman at least, and idle, to offer him any services in the way of pointing out sights, etc. But he was only to be two or three days here at present, and then for a week after the first of August. Krasinski waited on him immediately on receiving my Note; and would show him, at least, that I wished to be civil, if I knew how. He told Miss Bölte that Varnhagen had lent him your Past and Present to read on the journey; and that he had left it in the Derby Coach! (Strange fate for the Book sent to Berlin!) He was afraid to go back without it; for tho' he had bought another copy here, Varnhagen would so regret the loss of the inscription. Could you not write an inscription on a blank page and send it to the General's address for him to paste in?
Another German, also sent by Varnhagen, came within the same twenty-four hours; and left a small Book and another Letter; but I did not see him, as he went away when he had handed in his documents.
Bless you. - I must not scribble any more at present, for several things are awaiting my legislation.
Ever your affectionate,
To John Sterling, Ventnor.
Chelsea, Wednesday, '16 Aug. 1843.'
Dear John - Thanks for your remembrance of my
[Page 129] friend. But this situation would never do. Miss Bölte is a woman of too much mind and heart for being made into mince-meat to indiscriminate boarding-school Misses - at "a small salary" too. Ach Gott! Better one good sixpenny worth of arsenic once for all, than to prolong existence in that fashion! - I at least should choose the arsenic if in her place; and I estimate her quick determination too highly not to believe she would do the same.
For the rest, I was never more thankful in my life than to get home again. My disgust at Ryde had reached the point of insupportability; and tho' there had not been "a Mudie" in existence, I must have flown, to save my own life! from bugs, from vacuum, from everything moral and material that I most particularly abhor! What else could possibly come of an adventure entered on under such auspices? Well! I have got some good out of it, anyhow: viz., a more open sense for the comforts of my own lot, - especially for the inestimable blessing I enjoy in having a bedroom undisturbed by noise, and without vestige of bugs.
"My Dear," said Mazzini, who came for news of me half an hour after my return, and was amazed to find
[Page 130] my living self, - "my Dear, you are in four days no longer the same! I find you, what shall I say? looking strange, upon my honour! most like Lady Macbeth in the Sleeping Scene!" No wonder - so many hideous nights were enough to have made one with a twelfth part of my excitability into a somnambulist. But it is all over now, thank God; - that is, the great damnatory fact is over, and the consequences - the headaches, etc., will soon be over also.
A Letter from my Husband to-day indicates that he is still in being, and without any present intention of coming home.
I found your Strafford on my table when I arrived; for which accept my benediction. ...
To T. Carlyle, Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan.
Chelsea, Wednesday, '23 Aug., 1843.'
Here are your bits of buttons, Dearest; which, I think, will suit the taste of a philosopher better than metal prince's-feathers. As for the mother-of-pearl! the bare idea was enough to make one scream! When I said to Helen I must go to get some buttons for you, she tossed her head with an air of triumph and remarked, "Well, it's a mercy there is one thing which the Master fancies is to be got in London better than in the Country!" - a small mercy for which let us be duly grateful.
I had a note from John Sterling about a situation for Miss Bölte (not feasible); in which he says, "Pray read
[Page 131] Strafford, and tell me what you think of it. The critic in the Examiner is a fool, and a liar (!!!) to boot. I do not wonder that you preferred fasting with me to dining with him" (alluding to my refusal to stay and dine with Forster, one day that I was scampering about in cabs with John when he was here). Strong words, fool and liar, because a man cannot swallow one's' "Legitimate Drammer!"
Poor little Jeannie Welsh has been worse bothered than I am, and does not look as if she were going to get away to Helensburgh at all. First she had to change her cook; and then the housemaid, with whom she thought she could safely trust the new cook (having had some month or two's experience of her), - turns out to be "a deception"; "no better than she should be." ...
It has rained pretty continually ever since I ordered all the feather-beds and pillows out into the green to get aired. They go out, and then have all to retreat into the lobby, - where they lie "appealing to posterity." You perceive that I am utterly stupid; in fact, I am very tired. I am writing at night, in case I do not find time to-morrow.
... And so good-bye to you, Dearest. You perceive that I do not weary at all rates, since I have never so much as time to write legibly. Bless you.
To Mrs. Oliphant.
Chelsea, Autumn, 1843 (?)
Dearest - Your kind words would waken "a soul under
[Page 132] the ribs of death," and I am not dead, only extremely sick, having been shattered all to shivers yesterday, and having slept none or next to none last night.
You may fancy my desperation to have been considerable, when I rose in the middle of the night, and took some doctor's stuff with prussic acid in it, by guess, in the dark!
The victim himself [Carlyle] looks tolerably composed, is "consuming his own smoke," in a manner which rather frightens me by its novelty, as my Mother once, after lecturing me on the impropriety of crying when I hurt myself, nearly fell into fits on hearing me fall down stairs and utter no cry after it. I wish he would growl a bit.
God bless you and keep you always as happy as one can be in this weary world; for you do what is possible to make other people happy. I will speak about Saturday on Friday. - Here come people. - Oh me!
To Mrs. Russell, Thornhill.
Chelsea, 30 December, '1843.'
Dearest Mrs. Russell - Here comes another Newyear already! How one's years do gallop when one is no longer young! The first message I charge it with is one of kind remembrance and cordial good wishes to you; and if I add a little trouble to be taken for my sake, I know your good heart well enough by this time to feel quite sure that you will receive the one as gladly as the other.
By the same post which takes you this Letter I send a hood which you will see at the first glance can be intended for no other head than old Mary's! and also a cap for Margaret, which I hope will fit her. If it do not, you must help her to make it fit. And I enclose a money Order for a sovereign, - to be distributed as last year; for Margaret and Mary their pounds of tea; and the remainder to be given to the two old people you told me of. There is also a waist-buckle which I hope you will like and wear for my sake. And, tho' last not least, I send a couple of extinguishers(!) a Nun and a Jesuit, hollowed out into extinguishers, which you are to present to your Father with my affectionate regards, as a Supplement to the Tablet! (Which I hope, by the way, he continues to get regularly: my Brother-in-law has taken it into his head to carry it home with him on the Sunday nights, undertaking to forward it punctually; but I liked better when it went direct from here with my Husband's handwriting on it.) Whether these extinguishers, which have had "an immense success" (as I was told at the shop where I bought them) indicate a growing tendency towards Catholicism, or are meant as a satire against it, I cannot pretend to decide! Who shall read in the deep brain of a Cockney Inventor, when he gets into the sphere of the symbolical? He wanders thro' the Universe of things, "at his own sweet will," collecting here a little and there a little, combining and confounding, with such a glorious superiority to all laws of affinity and right reason, and such an absolute disregard of consequences,
[Page 134] that one stands amazed before him "as in presence of the infinite," - the infinite-absurd! I saw the other day the "realized ideal" of a butcher, which I shall not soon forget: a number of persons were standing before his shop contemplating the little work of art with a grave admiration beyond anything I ever saw testified towards any picture in the National Gallery! The butcher himself was standing beside it, receiving their silent enthusiasm with a look of Artist-pride struggling to keep within the bounds of Christian humility; - a look which seemed to say: "Yes! you may well admire; but remember, good people, that I am but a man!" And his work of art, what was it? A hare to begin with, hanging in a long row of dead sheep and quarters of beef, - of course a dead hare, - it had still its fur on, and was fixed up by the hind legs, pretty wide apart, its belly towards the public; about its neck, and about every one of its four legs was tied a blue satin ribbon, and one of scarlet satin, in very coquettish bows! Between the hind legs was placed a large and particularly smart - blue and scarlet cockade! And into a large gash made in the belly was stuck a sprig of holly laden with red berries!! Just fancy the butcher lying awake in his bed meditating how his hare should be; and deciding that it should be thus and no otherwise! and then sending out his Wife or Daughter, the first thing in the morning, to buy ribbons of the requisite colours; and then anxiously superintending the sewing of the cockade; - and then - and then - till finally his Ideal hung there by the hind legs, a world's wonder!
[Page 135] It would be so at least anywhere else but in London, where such wonders are no novelty. Last Christmas, another of our Chelsea butchers (the people who have to do with the eatable here are always the greatest geniuses) regaled the public with the spectacle of a living prize-calf, on the breast of which (poor wretch) was branded - like writing on turf - "6d. per lb.!" And the public gathered about this unfortunate with the greedy looks of cannibals!
It was a great pleasure to me to hear such particular accounts of you all from my Husband. He was so minute in his details that it was almost as if I had been at Thornhill myself without the painfulness of going. But he says I "must never ask him to do that again: it was too sad." If it was too sad for him, what would it not be for me?
But often, often, I dream about being at Thornhill in my sleep; and who knows how much or how little of reality there may be in what happens to one in sleep?
My Husband has been very busy since his return from Scotland; but with no result as yet. He brought all that he had written into the room where I was peacefully darning his stockings, the other day, and it was up the chimney in a fine blaze before I knew what it was that he was burning! This Life of Oliver Cromwell looks to me sometimes as if it were never going to get itself written, work at it as he may. ...
My kindest regards to Dr. Russell and your Father. - A kiss to yourself, which I wish I could give you without "blowing" it, as the children say. Do not forget me,
[Page 136] as I certainly shall never forget you, but shall love you and be deeply, deeply grateful to you as long as I live.
JANE W. CARLYLE.
To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.
Maryland St., Liverpool, 28 June, 1844.
Dearest - I had only time to address a Newspaper yesterday; not that it takes much time to write such rags of Notes as I send you; but yesterday, before I had got myself thoroughly awake, which one does somehow with an admirable deliberation in this house, everyone coming down to breakfast half asleep and continuing half asleep till they go to bed again, - it was intimated to me that I must get ready to go with my Uncle and four of the others on an excursion in an open carriage. And accordingly, I had some 20 miles of driving thro' very pretty country, and saw a "beautifullest village in all England," called Hale, which is one of the lions here, where there is the grave of some human phenomenon called the Child of Hale - did you ever hear of him? It was in the time of Charles II that this child lay down to sleep on a rock and awoke nine feet four inches high!! He was taken to Court as a show, and left the stamp of his hand on some land at Oxford. The skeleton was raised some thirty years ago by people who considered that seeing was believing, and found of the reputed length. Here is his Tombstone (sketch given).
We came home by a place called Speke Hall - built
[Page 137] 1589 - the queerest-looking old rickle of boards and plaster that I ever set eyes on; and queerer still was it in writing my name in the Porter's Book, to see the last name there, in ink still pale, W. Graham, of Burnswark! He had just preceeded us by half an hour! My Uncle seemed to enjoy his pleasure party very much. For myself, these things always make me horribly sad; but I was the better for the movement, I suppose. If I should live for half a century, it will never I believe go out of my head when I am seeing new things that I have not Her to tell it all to.
We returned to dinner about seven, and had Mrs. Martin and that unleavened lump Miss ---- at tea; - surely a hundred thousand pounds was never more thrown away. She was working diligently all the evening making a sort of trimming for petticoats, which one can buy for fivepence per yard! The produce of her evening's labour would be about the fourth part of a farthing! Indeed the works which I see carried on here fill me with sacred horror. I have need to think of you at your Cromwell to comfort my righteous soul over so much waste of irrecoverable time and limited faculty. - I have not seen Mrs. Paulet yet; she came yesterday, while we were away, and would find a Note from me, announcing my arrival, on her return home. Neither have I called at the Chorleys: I need above all things to rest myself, after that horrid journey.
I particularly beg of you not to let yourself be fed
[Page 138] out of a Cook-shop and not to take long sleeps after dinner; that picture is the very beau ideal of human discomfort! Neither are you to talk too much with these wits at Addiscombe. - Oh, I was so glad over Bölte's new prospects. She wrote me a little Note herself, the happiest of creatures. ...
God bless you. - Ever your affectionate
To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.
Liverpool, Sunday, 7 July, 1844.
Dearest - They are all gone to Church, save Babbie and me, who, "in verra desperation," have mustered courage to resist such stupid tyranny as attendance at Church for form's sake would have been for us this day. Babbie prudently keeps her bed, professing to be "all over aches" in consequence of our two pleasure excursions; for me, a second Sunday in bed would have been a little too strong; but I founded my claim of immunity on a sore throat, and made anybody welcome to look into my throat, which is in truth very much inflamed. It has been the only disagreeable result of my two days passed in succession in the open air. Both larks have come off beyond my most sanguine expectations. On Friday we sallied forth about twelve, - we comprehending Helen, Babbie, Mary and myself; with Gambardella for our only protector; and followed by Gambardella's maid carrying a basket of provisions,
[Page 139] and a small Scotch terrier that kept us in perpetual excitement by biting our own and other people's heels. Having crossed the water to New Brighton in a Steamboat - a voyage in which even I could not manage to be sick - we were all set down on the beach to spend the day, and the prospect looked to me of the blackest! But before I had time to sink under it, Gambardella, with a sudden inspiration of genius, rushed off like a madman, and returned after a little while on the ugliest of created ponies, followed by two lads leading five donkeys to accommodate the whole party, maid and all; and on these creatures we actually rode eight miles, along the shore to a place called Leasowes and back again, sometimes galloping as if we had been on horseback, thanks to the lads, who shouted and belaboured us from behind, - and all the way in fits of laughter at the stupidity of the creatures and our own ridiculous appearance. At Leasowes we sent them to graze, and spread our provisions in a sand valley all covered over with wild thyme and white roses. And Gambardella sang us Italian songs, and we ate sandwiches and drank a good deal of wine, - and it was a "good joy!" Your health was proposed by G. and drunk with enthusiasm: - "success to his wo'k, good-humour to him, and a speedy journey to Liverpool!" Even you would have been conquered by the creature's efforts to amuse, and endless consideration for my comfort. Just think of his taking off a beautiful light-coloured coat and making it into a cushion for me to sit on, because the ground was damp! He is far best in the open air, being, in fact, a sort of savage.
We all reached home in much better humour than we had left it; but the girls were dreadfully saddle-sick. For me, my old habit of riding, I suppose, had saved me; and I rose yesterday morning quite up to doing Chester. Our party then consisted of my Uncle, a Mr. Liddle (the only man I ever saw in my life exactly resembling a doll, I remarked to my Uncle; and he told me with a delighted chuckle that Mary had once a doll which she used always to call Miss Liddle), Sophy Martin, Babbie, Mary, Maggie and myself. We crossed in a few minutes to Monk Ferry, then got on the railway, and then into an omnibus which landed us at the Royal Hotel, Chester, where I drank a first full tumbler of porter; after returning from Eaton Hall (the Marquis of Westminster's show-place), I had tumbler the second, two full glasses of champagne, and a glass of Madeira! and I was not tipsy "the least in the world!" Eaton Hall is a magnificent place, something betwixt Windsor and Drumlanrig, - but "what's the use on't?" all shut up! - I was rather glad we happened to go on one of the two days of the week on which the house is not shown - all fine houses are so much alike - so fatiguing to inspect; - and we had the more time to spend in the gardens and grounds. My Uncle enjoyed it immensely and so did I myself; and yet I could hardly keep from crying all the while, - my being there alone with my Uncle felt so strange; and then there is always such a confusion in his mind betwixt her and me, when he speaks to me of old times. He will ask me if I remember such a one and
[Page 141] such a thing, alluding to people and things that he and she used to talk of together; and if, as I seldom do, I answer anything that reminds him I am not she, he will say with a little cough and almost impatiently, "Well, but you have heard of it." You cannot imagine how this sort of thing goes to one's heart.
But I should tell you that the Gate-keeper at Eaton Hall refused to allow our carriage to pass, - "quite against his orders on Saturday," - until Mr. Liddle privately handed him five shillings, when he said, "but I suppose since you are come on purpose I must make an exception." Is not the like of that beastly, at the gate of "the richest man in all England?"
After a handsome dinner and all that drink I mentioned, which my Uncle seemed to have as much pleasure in providing for us as if he durst have participated in it himself, we walked all round the walls of the Town, and inspected the Cathedral; and a queer old concern of a place that Chester is. Did I ever see a walled town before? not that I remember of.
We came home as we went; and were here about ten to tea; and if it were not for this stupid sore-throat I would not be a bit wearied.
What a great stroke that was, your calling for the Macreadys! I am real glad you thought of it, for they are good, kind people, and very fond of you.
If you will tell me precisely what you want to know about Preston, I will - bear it in mind. I do not know Mr. Paulet's Christian name, but his "name by nature" is
[Page 142] enough; or you can address to the care of the Lady. I adhere to my purpose of going to-morrow: she is to send the carriage for me.
Here is Helen returned from Church, and wanting me to go to Mrs. Martin.
Bless you. Always yours,
J. W. C.
To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.
Seaforth House, Friday, 12 July, 1844.
Dearest Good - You are really a jewel of a Husband in the article of writing! It is such a comfort to me when the nice-looking little Letter drops surely in! ...
My cold is pretty well gone. I dare not take all the liberty I should like with myself in this beautiful place; but I can go out now in moderation, and can enjoy what joy is going. It is really curious, however, how the Devil is always busy! No sooner have I got rid of my headache and sore-throat, than a new botheration arises for me in what Geraldine [Jewsbury] rightly termed her "Tiger-jealousy." You will hardly be able to conceive how this could be anything but laughable; but I assure you it has entirely spoiled my comfort for the last twenty-four hours; and not mine only, but Mrs. Paulet's and everybody else's
[Page 143] in the house. We were fancying her (Geraldine) bilious, and it turned out to have been all rage at me for "giving such a stab to her feelings as she had never suffered the like of from man or woman!" She came here on the understanding that I was to go back with her to Manchester and stay there a few days on the road to London. But the day before yesterday, when she was alone with me, in my room, I, wearied out with my cold, and feeling that I had to go back to Maryland St. in the first instance, it very naturally fell from me, "but since we are together here, Geraldine, the going to Manchester does not seem to be any longer necessary?" She answered me pettishly that "if I wished to sacrifice her to Mrs. Paulet and the Welshes, in God's name to do it!" and went off in a nice little tiff. But I never thought of her being seriously offended. And she had thrown the whole company into consternation by her rudeness to Mrs. Paulet and myself, before we fancied she was anything else than "out of sorts." All yesterday, however, her vagaries exceeded my reminiscences of Mrs. Jordan in the Jealous Wife! Nothing but outbursts of impertinence and hysterics from morning till night, which finished off with a grand scene in my room after I had gone up to bed; - a full and faithful account of which I shall entertain you with at meeting. It was a revelation to me not only of Geraldine but of human nature! Such mad, lover-like jealousy on the part of one woman towards another, it had never entered into my heart to conceive. By a wonderful effort of patience on my part, - made more on Mrs. Paulet's account, who was quite vexed, than from the flattering consideration that I was the object of this incomprehensible
[Page 144] passion, - the affair was brought to a happy conclusion. I got her to laugh over her own absurdity, promised to go by Manchester, if she would behave herself like a reasonable creature, and with her hair all dishevelled, and her face all bewept, she thereupon sat down at my feet and - smoked a cigaretto!! with all the placidity in life! She keeps a regular supply of these little things, and smokes them before all the world. In fact, I am not at all sure that she is not going mad! and Mrs. Paulet, too, declares she often feels quite anxious about her.
I like this Mrs. Darbyshire very much; and another lady who was here yesterday, enchanted me with her music. I never heard such singing in my life. So send the trio, for God's sake. I keep to my purpose of going back to Maryland Street on Monday. Ever your own
To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.
Seaforth House, 15 July, 1844.
Oh, my Darling, I want to give you an emphatic kiss rather than to write! ... I have put the little key to my chain and shall wear it there till my return. I was vexed that I could not tell you yesterday how much you had pleased me; but the Letters were not given out at Seaforth till it was too late for writing by return of post. Mrs. Paulet sent for them at eleven, but the Postmaster is evangelical, and declined giving them out till after Church time!
On the whole it was a good Birthday, yesterday was! Mrs. Paulet knew; for my Cousin Helen, in a Note to her regretted that "Cousin was not to be there on her Birthday." Indeed the wish not to be there had been one reason for my staying where I was: the rosbifs and dreadfully prosaic demonstrations with which such anniversaries are kept at Maryland Street, make me always horribly sad. Mrs. Paulet managed the thing with a better grace: not a word was said on the subject; only after dinner I noticed on the table a majestic cake and a peculiar-looking bottle of wine. When Mr. Paulet had filled all our glasses with this precious liquor (which certainly must have been the nectar that was drunk by the gods), he suddenly sprang; up, fetched a large rose from behind a screen, and presented it to me, saying: "Madam, may you have every happiness that your heart desires!" and then drank to me, - the rest all doing the same without knowing very well why; for Mrs. Paulet had told nobody but him. She has beautiful taste, that woman! I really love her considerably. It is a thousand pities to see her wasted on such a place as Liverpool.
I am not going back to Maryland Street till to-morrow; ... and a messenger is just dispatched to tell them not to look for me. They will not be at all pleased; but really it is too hard that when I am having a lark, I cannot follow my own inclinations without exciting tiger-jealousies.
Geraldine is returned to her usual devotion; but the recollection of her extravagancies will not be easily effaced from my mind, or any one's who assisted at them. I set
[Page 146] the whole company into fits of laughter, the other day, by publicly saying to her after she had been flirting with a certain Mr. ---- that "I wondered she should expect me to behave decently to her after she had for a whole evening been making love before my very face to another man!" ...
But, Oh dear, here have they been with a riding habit and the "usual trimmings," and a horse is ready in the stable. I said last night that I used to ride, and voila the result. As it is not a Paulet horse, but some other lady's, it is to be hoped it will be sure enough. - God bless you, Dearest.
Ever your affectionate
To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.
Maryland Street, Wednesday, 17 July, 1844.
Dearest most punctual Good! - May your shadow never be less! One Letter to console me on my arrival, another on getting out of bed this morning!! I am more content with you than I choose to express, for fear of you getting vain upon it and giving yourself airs! To-day's Letter kept me laughing all the way thro', a signal triumph of genius, as I had not slept till four in the morning! Noises? No, nothing but my own "Interior" to blame for it.
My last Letter was cut short by Mrs. Paulet and Geraldine entering with a riding habit. You felt no misgivings over my concluding words? In that case you have
[Page 147] nothing of the prophetical in you. Lend me your ears and I will "hasten to the catastrophe."
Being equipped in the most approved Amazonian fashion I was led forth to my horse; the whole house even to "Pup" (the youngest child) turning out to see what they called the "procession" - and a dashing procession it was going to have been. The groom who was to follow me on one of the carriage horses (besides the eldest boy on his pony), having turned out the whole pack of spotted Dalmatian Hounds to my honour and glory! and there were they all (five in number) barking, capering, leaping up and biting at the horse's neck, after the manner of that species of dog! While I was still seeking in my consternation words of polite protest against this riotous cortege, Mrs. Paulet suggested that "the dogs had better be put up," very much to the disappointment of the groom, who made no haste to obey, till I peremptorily declared I would not ride a step with them. It was these very spotted dogs, if you remember, who tormented the carriage horses into running off with us before. - Well! they were eventually got housed; their "'owls" beating all "organs" hollow! And when the coast was clear of them, I had time to look at the steed. The inspection was far from satisfactory; it was a beautiful animal with blood enough and to spare; but its manner of tossing its head and foaming at the mouth appeared to me "significant of much!" and in spite of my dislike to be taken for a coward I asked Mrs. Paulet if she were perfectly sure that it was quiet. "Oh, not a doubt of it! It was Julia Mushprat's Horse; and she exercised it every day." So I mounted
[Page 148] with a modest trust in Providence. The saddle, an old one of Mrs. Paulet's, pleased me as little as the horse. It seemed made with a view to one's sliding off. - "Now, my Dear, for God's sake do get to the catastrophe!" Well! with the long-legged boy on his small pony by my side, and the groom on his carriage-horse behind, I moved off, thinking in my own mind, decidedly I will not go far, - neither "far nor fast." So soon as we got within sight of the Mushprat house my steed "felt it his duty" to intimate to me that he liked that road the best; and a stout debate ensued between us, which after various circumvolutings and questionable conduct on his part, ended in his giving up that point and allowing himself to be guided towards the shore, not however without symptoms of that "subdued temper" which Darwin so justly detests. But no sooner did he feel the sand under his feet, than at one bound he set off like an incarnate devil, and I found myself run away with beyond all controversy, - not like Attila Schmelzle "at a walk," but at full race-course gallop! Would he rush on till I became dizzy and fell off and got my brains kicked out with his heels? or would he turn sharp up some back road to his own stable, and dash me against some gate or stable door? I could not predict "the least in the world"; and I was extremely anxious to know. Meanwhile I had the sense not to irritate him by any vain efforts at pulling up, and the luck to keep my seat; - Heaven knows how on such a saddle and all out of practice as I was! Among the innumerable thoughts that passed through my head during this devil's-race was the thought of your last advice "not to be getting into
[Page 149] any adventures with wild horses at Seaforth"; and I could have cried, if there had been convenience for crying; but there was none; and so I rushed along with dry eyes and closed mouth, until, as happened to you on a former occasion, the Demon of a brute was stopt by "an arm of the sea!"
There was an adventure for your poor Necessary Evil! which could you have seen thro' "a powerful telescope," the groom would not have been the only person that "trembled all over." When he overtook me he was as white as milk, and heartily approved my determination to risk myself no further. He proposed to put the side-saddle on his mare, for whose good temper he said he "could answer with his life." So I got upon the carriage-horse next; rode on to the Bootle Post-office with the Letter for you, which I had all the while in my breast, and then came home at a decent butter-and-eggs trot, rather gratified than otherwise to observe the loss of the groom's hat, and other difficulties which even he had to struggle with on the back of Miss Julia Mushprat's horse! Decidedly, thought I, "Miss Julia Mushprat" must be a first-rate horse-woman! Perhaps no better than myself after all; for the horse - was none of Miss Julia's! Turned out to have been Mr. Richard's," sent as a credit to the Mushprat stables, instead of the one asked for, - tho' it had once run away with a Miss Roberts before, and nearly finished her! Can you fancy people doing such things? Poor Mrs. Paulet was almost at the crying when she found how it had all been. However, thank God, I was not even made stiff by the business, - only a little nervous.
Mrs. Ames's musical soiree in the evening, - in a small room with every breath of air excluded, - did me far more mischief. Still I do not regret having gone to see how "they ack in the various places." Most of the company were Unitarians; the men with faces like a meat-axe; the women most palpably without bustles, - a more unloveable set of human beings I never looked on. However, I had a long, rather agreeable talk with James Martineau, the only "Ba-ing I could love" of the whole nightmare-looking fraternity. He is a man with a "subdued temper," or I am greatly mistaken; but he is singularly in earnest for a Unitarian. Bold enough to utter any truth that he has, in season and out of season, and as affectionate-hearted as a woman (I use the common form of expression without recognising the justice of it).
My Seaforth visit, in spite of cold and all the rest of it, has been a great success. I have sworn everlasting friendship with Mrs. Paulet. We suit each other perfectly; neither of us has been rash in coming to this conclusion; and now that we have come to it, I feel confident that we shall be each other's dearest friend as long as we both live.
My reception here was such that it almost reconciled me to the difference of atmosphere. My Uncle not the least ecstatic among them. Still I desire to be home now; and shall go to Manchester, God willing, on Saturday (Geraldine waits at Seaforth for me), and back to my own Good in the beginning of the week, - on Tuesday, perhaps, but I will not fix the day positively till I get there. ... But I must not write here all day, Good. - You
[Page 151] sent me two most welcome Letters, - from old Betty and Mrs. Russell. Mazzini wrote to me the other day that he had sent your Letter in the Times to his Mother and that she had written him "a long Letter full of the most fervid gratitude that ever woman tried to express." Poor fellow, he is much to be sympathised with just now.
To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.
Maryland Street, 21 July, 1844.
Dearest - On beholding this address, your mind I fancy, will be troubled not a little; for really it will seem to you as if my only remaining virtue, a certain decision of character, were going ad plures! To have swerved from my program twice in one week! is it, not most mysterous? And yet I am not ashamed of myself - moi! Nay, I rather congratulate myself on the late and sudden revolution of purpose which took place in me yesterday. It was the product of natural affection against "the finer sensibilities of the heart," which are sometimes strangely like insensibilities; and I have experienced something almost like virtue's own reward ever since.
I cannot without entering on a very long story give you even "a bird's-eye view" of the scene that took place here yesterday; of the excessive annoyance
[Page 152] occasioned to my Uncle and everyone else in the house - most of all to myself, by Geraldine's coming here two hours before the time of starting with a whole string of people to carry me off in a sort of triumph, instead of allowing me to meet her quietly at the railway, and be accompanied there by my own Family. My Uncle's sorrow at parting with me showed plainly enough that he as well as myself had great doubts of our ever meeting again; and Babbie had taken to crying in the morning, and gone on with it the whole day; and the other good little souls were all grave and silent. And into the middle of all this came Geraldine, all flippancy and fuss, bringing with her Mrs. Paulet, Julia Newton, and even Mr. Paulet, to witness the partings, having assured them against their more delicate judgements that she, "who knew me better than they, knew that I would think them cold and heartless, if they did not come!" Nay, she even began anew showing off her jealousy, asking me with a sneer "what on earth was the matter with me that I looked so poorly?" and when Jeannie came in with her eyes all swelled, she behaved to her with downright impertinence. To accept the intolerable last hour which she had prepared for me was more than my patience could resign itself to. I took Mrs. Paulet out of the room, and begged her to go away and take away Geraldine and the rest. She could understand such a wish; and only regretted that she had given up her own feelings in compliance with Geraldine's representations. But when she saw me so vexed, she said to me, "you do not wish to go; don't go then;
[Page 153] I take it upon myself to make it all right with Geraldine." The suggestion came irresistibly welcome at the moment. I did so hate Geraldine for her unfeeling conduct towards my Uncle and Jeannie! And so it was all settled that I should give up Manchester, and stay here till the Tuesday, - a much more natural place for me to be in. And my Uncle was so pleased, and the children all dancing for joy; and the servants laughing when they had to carry up my trunks again. ...
And now I must "down Town" again, myself with this, or it will be too late for the morning post. - I shall be home on Tuesday, God willing. But I will write you to-morrow to tell the hour. - My poor Uncle has been earnestly begging me to write to you that I will stay another month. Impossible!
To T. Carlyle, Chelsea.
Maryland St., 22 July, 1844.
Dearest - I have no Letter from you this morning; in the course of nature, none was to have been looked for from London; but there might have come one from Manchester. Perhaps Geraldine did not go on to Manchester on Saturday, after all, but back to Seaforth to flirt with a Mr. ----, a brute of a man whom she is doing the impossible to inspire with a grande passion - or perhaps she was in no haste to forward it (the Letter), and it may still come by the afternoon post; or perhaps there was no Letter to forward, - but that
[Page 154] is not likely, - considering my Good's extraordinary punctuality. In any case it does not signify very much, since I am to see him, please God, to-morrow night.
Helen has just been to inquire about the trains, and I am to go by the one which leaves at half after ten in the morning, and arrives in London at a quarter after nine (so they say, but it is not likely they should be able to predict to a nicety). And now about coming to meet me with a "neat fly": I think that would be a risk. Suppose that in the confusion of the people we should miss each other; or suppose that I should miss the train (not likely, as I am notoriously too soon, for every train); or that I should awake to-morrow with one of my even-down headaches (not likely either as I can generally "stave them off" when I have de grandes choses à faire); but one should take in all possibilities. Suppose then, any of these contretemps to take place, and you there waiting with a fly! We should both of us be doubly "vaixed." So that I vote for your staying quietly at home, and having tea ready for me, and trusting to my own tried powers of taking care of both myself and luggage. - I shall be so glad to get back again; and I only wish the journey were over. If "association of ideas" should make me seasick to-morrow again! But we hope better things, tho' we thus speak.
I am rather knocked up to-day; my stewing in that Church yesterday morning, and my visit to the Martineaus at night, were too much for one day; - not that the visit
[Page 155] bored me like the sermon; on the contrary, it was far too entertaining. I found there the Clergyman who had preached to me in the morning, and three other men. And there was a great deal of really clever speech transacted - which was the more exciting that one is not in the habit of it here. If you had heard me "putting down virtue and all that sort of thing," in opposition to the sermon I had been forced to listen to in the morning, you would have wondered where I had found the impudence. As for the arguments, I got them, of course, all out of you. But the best of all was to hear James Martineau backing me out in all that, - almost as emphatically as yourself could have done. In taking me down to supper, he said, with a heavy sigh, "that it was to be hoped the world would have soon heard the last of all that botheration about Virtue and Happiness." He is anything but happy, I am sure: a more concentrated expression of melancholy I never saw in a human face. I fancy him to be the victim of conscience, which is the next thing to being the victim of green tea! His heart and intellect both protest against this bondage; and so he is a man divided against himself. I should like to convert him - moi! If he could be reduced into a wholesome state of spontaneous blackguardism for six months, he would "come out very strong." But he feels that there is no credit in being (spiritually) jolly in his present immaculate condition, And so he is as sad as any sinner of us all.
But what am I chattering for at this rate, when I am to be home to-morrow? Your Own JANE CARLYLE.
Please notice if a Newspaper come to me from Thornhill. I expect one as a token.
 "Mrs. Carlyle rarely dated her Letters. Inverted commas or 'single quotation marks,' are here, and elsewhere in this work, used to denote that the date enclosed in them is not given on the original Letter, but is inferred from other sources, such as the Post-mark, contents of the Letter, a dated reply to it, etc. When the date is doubtful, a 'mark of interrogation' (?) is placed after it.
 Walter Welsh was Mrs. Carlyle's maternal Grandfather.
... Light thickens; and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood.
Macbeth, Act iii., Sc. iii.
 Comley Bank (now spelt Comely, tho' Carlyle uniformly, and Edward Irving generally, spell it Comley) is a Terrace of small houses in the northern suburbs of Edinburgh. Carlyle remained tenant of No. 21 till the 26th of May, 1828.
 This is a slip of memory. The fragmentary Novel, Wotten Reinfred, has lately been published. The writing was given up at the end of the seventh chapter, and the work laid aside. Carlyle must have had the MS. of the Novel beside him when he was writing Part ii. of Sartor Resartus; for many lengthy passages are transferred, word for word, from Wotten to Sartor; and the main outlines of the love-story, or romance, are the same in both.
 Anglice Novels, - ridiculausly held in horror by a certain hawk-faced "ruling-elder" I had heard discoursing once. - T. C.
 Mr. Froude, very needlessly one would say, makes sad lamentations over the fact that Mrs. Carlyle baked a loaf of bread at Craigenputtock. He might have shed tears of pity too, it seems, over her evil destiny in Edinburgh; for there is little difference in the hardship involved in the making of a dumpling and the baking of a loaf. Mrs. Carlyle was a sensible woman, and wished to learn all the customary duties of a Scottish housewife; at no time of her life had she anything but contempt for the rôle of fine-lady.
 "Christian coomfoarts" comes (through Frank Dixon, I think) from a certain "Mrs. Carruthers of Haregills," a Cousin of my Mother's - Bell by maiden-name, solid, rather stupid, Farmer's Wife by station; should have made good cheeses in quantity, did make the worst in nature; her grand employment, that of riding, on her slow pony, far and wide, to converse with "thinking persons," on all subjects: - one of the most singular, much-meditating much-reading, semi-wise, semi-foolish originalities and fantasticalities I have ever met with in this world. Dressed like no one else; veils, multiplex wrappages and appendages, all as if thrown on by a pitchfork; spoke like no one else, in a wild low chaunt or lilt (cadences not unmelodious) in words largely borrowed out of Books, highflowing and sure to be mispronounced; loftily devout, but had private spleens enough, and a malicious little sting of sarcasm now and then; was more laughed-at than respected by the public, - tho' a little envied and privately hated withal. Smoked a great deal of tobacco, in her thinking and even talking hours; little pipe always in her pocket as she rode about, in this wise, among the hills and dales, in search of speculative objects and persons; - I have seen her as far as Edinburgh, once at least did, on that errand - greatly to the wonder of Edinburgh! Strange old "Jean Carruthers" (as the unadmiring called her), she rises on my memory at this moment, she and her environment, strangely vivid, singular, peculiar, not without worth, - and of a richness of comic and tragic meaning, fit for any writing Teniers or Hogarth (had I the least call that way at present, which I am far from having!) - Enough, that meeting once with Frank Dixon (a speculative Tartar, he, unluckily for her!), she had been heard to wind up some lofty lilt with, "Sir, it's the great soorce of Christian coomfoart." Accent on the last syllable, and sound of oa: Annandale only, and the deceased Frank, could pronounce that word: ah me, ah me! - T. C.
 Jeannie Welsh.
 For easy reference Mr Froude's "First Forty Years" of Carlyle's Life, and his "Life in London" (issued as two separate works of two volumes each) will be referred to in these pages as Life, i; Life, ii; Life iii; and Life, iv.
 For the truth in fuller detail about the Craigenputtock period, readers are referred to Mrs. Carlyle's "Early Letters", "Letters of Thomas Carlyle," and Mr. David Wilson's "Mr. Froude and Carlyle."
 Goody was my sport name for her. - T. C.
 Dr. Reid, celebrated Metaphysician of Glasgow and Aberdeen, drank whisky punch. "Why, Dr.?" "Becaase I like it, and becaase it's chaip." - T. C.
 Annandale phraseology. - T. C.
 Article, for Edinburgh Review. - T. C,
 Oleum ricini, castor oil.
 Probably to Templand. - T. C.
 Pinafores, Anglice. - T. C.
 "Will welcome you in our choicest mood," said Irving once, in some sermon or address that had been reported to us. - T. C.
 Mr. Froude says with his usual inaccuracy, "Old Larry, doing double duty on the road and in the cart, had laid himself down and died - died from overwork." - life, ii., 152.
 Bubblius, the Turkey-cock.
Weave the warp and weave the woof,
The winding sheet of Edward's race,
Give ample room and verge enough
The characters of Hell to trace.
- From Gray's Bard.
 Dr. Carlyle.
 Mrs. Basil Montagu and Household (25 Bedford Square). - T.C.
 Report of little Jean's, of some preacher who had profusely employed that locution, pronounced as here. - T. C.
 Mrs. and Miss Jeffrey (Miss Charlotte, the late Mrs. Empson).
 "John" is brother John who now sets off for Italy, as Travelling Physician to the Lady Clare, where, in that or other such capacity, he long continued. - T. C.
 On Dr. Johnson.
 Sartor Resartus, of which, by the way there were published nine editions in the year 1898, (one of them illustrated, and two of them well and fully annotated.
 The Carlyles had another servant, Nancy, got from Dumfries. In a note to an omitted Letter Carlyle says: "Nancy from Dumfries, privately called 'Piggie,' now and then (as Jeffrey called his Wife's lapdog) was curious, happy, smiling, tho' rather draggly. One morning while I breakfasted alone, her Mistress being ill, she said to me, "'Fixie (Pig Fizlein) is no weel the day, either!'"
 Literally true, - always lost himself if I turned even at the end of Long Acre - T. C.
 This Letter appears in Mr. Froude's Life of Carlyle (ii. 288), where strictly speaking it has no right to be: it was neither written by Carlyle nor to Carlyle; and it was sent to Mr. Froude for the purpose of being included in the Selection of Mrs. Carlyle's Letters which Carlyle had partially prepared for the press. On its own merits it is well worth a place in any Collection of Mrs. Carlyle's Letters; and moreover Mr. Froude's hallucinations and delusions about her life at Craigenputtock have added to this Letter an unusually high degree of interest and importance - Mr. Froude's comment on the Letter is very characterstic. He says (Life, ii. 290), "This is pretty, and shows Craigenputtock on its fairest side. But there was a reverse of the picture." - True; but the picture was worth looking at, all the same. But instead of learning something from the picture, Mr. Froude turns its face to the wall (so to speak) and devotes all his attention to a study of the dusty canvas! No wonder he formed mistaken notions of life at Craigenputtock. It may readily be granted that Mrs. Carlyle's picture of life at her ancestral home is slightly coloured for a purpose; but that it is a picture "true to nature" and fairly expressive of her [Page 41] general feelings and experiences there, is proved by the fact that it corresponds very closely with all the other pictures she drew there on the spot, and conflicts in material points with none. In prosecution of his study of the "reverse," Mr. Froude cites a very pretty, if somewhat sad and plaintive poem entitled "To a Swallow building under our Eaves," assigning the verses to this date and attributing them to Mrs. Carlyle. Had he turned the sheet of paper on which the poem was written, he might have read in Carlyle's unmistakeable hand, "Copied again by Jane!" The verses are not Jane's but Carlyle's! Mr. Froude, however, goes on to say. in his next chapter: "Jeffrey carried Mrs. Carlyle's sad verses with him to the 'glades' of Richmond, to muse upon them, and fret over his helplessness. To him his cousin's situation had no relieving feature." etc., etc. Mr. Froude remarks somewhere that "Carlyle had no invention." What a pity one cannot return the compliment to Mr. Froude!
 The Daughter of the people the Carlyles had lodged with when lately in London.
 A nickname of Jean, the blackhaired. - T. C.
 Francis Jeffrey, whom Mr. Froude repeatedly but erroneously calls Mrs. Carlyle's cousin. There was no trace of consanguinity between them beyond being, of course, son and daughter of Adam and Eve!
 As London shopkeepers say.
 Dr. Arbuckle, an acquaintance of ours in Liverpool. - T. C.
 This "massive old concern" was No. 5 (now 24) Cheyne Row.
 A postscript to a Letter of Carlyle's.
 This was Mrs. Carlyle's first experience of railway travelling.
 Scottice, for God's sake.
 Off to visit me, it would seem; and no real hurry that way, but his own? - T. C.
 O, touch me not; - I am not Stephano, but a cramp. - Tempest, Act V., Sc. 1.
 According to Brother John, sæpius. - T. C.
 Her Cousins from Liverpool. - T. C.
 Francis Jeffrey to her in the grand Reform time. - T. C.
 Scotchman's phrase in an Edgeworth Novel, in frequent, or over frequent, use by Brother John. - T. C.
 The neat, effective and frugal Scotch "scrub" is a little trim sheaflet of Ling, tied firmly by a bit of split willow. - T. C.
 Ann Cook's "misfortune" belike, - whose incipiency of speech had almost worn a "French" character to stupid Ann? - Poor "Lancaster Jane" was very amiable, intelligent and much liked here, tho' hopelessly incompetent, and obliged to be sent home. One day, at breakfast time, she was found sitting by the unlighted, half-scoured grate, sunk overhead in Goethe's "Wilhelm Meister," which she had found lying about! A fact strange and even touching in the poor soul. Scotch Helen liked books equally well, but never forgot herself over them. - T. C.
 Of Dabton, near Thornhill.
 To Bordeaux, the very day this reached me. - T. C.
 Laird of Closeburn's youngest son; had been a scholar at Haddington, formerly - scholar, lover, etc. - T. C.
 "I ... hear it!" says the Archivarius Lindhorst stormily, in one of Hoffmann's novels. - T. C.
 Goethe's Dramas, Triumph of Sensibility.
 Curious and tragicomical indeed; yet conceivable to me; like that of a sternly sorrowful leopard, with a pitifully ditto hare! Cavaignac is Godfroi, elder Brother of Eugene, subsequently President of the French Republic; Bradfute is the old Edinburgh Bookseller. - T. C.
 A postscript to a Letter of Carlyle's dated 1 May, 1838, to his Sister, Mrs. Aitken, Dumfries.
 Aitken, Jean's Husband.
 Laurence's Portraits of Carlyle are still preserved in the Family; the Portrait in oils is now (1902) in possession of Carlyle's grand-nephew, James Carlyle, at Minholm, Langholm; the water-colour Sketch is in my keeping.
 Carlyle's Letter to which this is a postscript.
 See ante, p. 22 n.
 "Deerbrook," by Harriet Martineau.
 In Letter 23 (Letters and Memorials, i., 112-5), addressed to Carlyle's Mother, Mrs. Carlyle in speaking of this visit of Mrs. Welsh to Cheyne Row, writes: "She was very happy here last time, and very sensible to Carlyle's kind treatment of her. 'He had been everything,' she said, 'that heart could desire.' When I wonder, will you be justified in saying as much of me!" These words were disingenuously suppressed by Mr. Froude, without notification, a common practice of his when he meets with any inconvenient passage.
 An Annandale farmer's advice to a traveller whom he saw over-driving a very poor horse.
 Meaning an inroad upon Templand.
 In Letters and Memorials, i., 36 n.
 Word stroked out: "I cannot spell it." Creosote (soot-essence) was a name I had given her ("spirit of soot"), in laughing acceptance of some particularly clever and well-deserved bit of satire she had been reporting to me. - T. C.
 In Edinburgh, where we lodged in winter 1832-3. - T. C.
 Part of a Canobie coalminer's speech to his Boy "Kit," reported by Brother Alick, with true mimetic humour. - T. C.
 In the Coach, while returning to Templand from this visit to Ayr, as she told me long afterwards: Fellow-passengers got to talking: "And so you are from London, Ma'am, and know literary people? Leigh Hunt, ah so! Ah, and etc. And do you know anything of Mr. Carlyle?" "Him right well; I am his Wife!" which had evidently pleased her dear little heart, my Darling little Woman. - T. C.
 Mrs. Welsh and her Daughter never could live harmoniously together for more than a few days at a time. The former had been seen in "fifteen different humours" in the course of the same evening; and the latter was of fiery temper, too; and consequently there had been, as Carlyle says in his Reminiscences, "manifold little collisions between them." These did not escape Carlyle's observation when he was courting Miss Welsh; and this knowledge made him averse to the proposal that Mother and Daughter should continue to live together after he and Miss Welsh were wedded. He had seen enough to convince him that the proposal that the three of them should live in the same house was an impracticable one. It would be much better for both Mother and Daughter that they should be separated. These little "collisions" between Mrs. Welsh and her Jeannie in later years are good evidence of the wisdom and prudence of Carlyle in opposing the scheme of a Triple Alliance. Even when Mrs. Welsh and her Daughter met [Page 85] only occasionally, and for short periods, Carlyle often had occasion to intervene as peacemaker. In 1835, he wrote to Mrs. Carlyle, "Hadere nicht mit deiner Mutter, Liebste. Trage trage; es wird bald enden." (Quarrel not with your Mother, Dearest. Be patient, patient; it will soon end.) And in his reply to the above Letter, he writes under date 20th August, 1839, "Remember me as is fit, to the good Hostess, good, but with the best intentions, always unfortunate! Really one could weep to think of poor human nature; but it is a thing not to be remedied by weeping." The "Triple Alliance," so eloquently advocated by Mr. Froude, could only have ended in disappointment.
 Local name for Craigenputtock.
 Helen Mitchell did not go at this time.
 "Night must it be, ere Friedland's star will beam." (Carlyle's Life of Schiller, p. 157, Lib. Ed.)
 Carlyle's Lectures on Heroes. Mrs. Carlyle had undertaken to negotiate their publication. Carlyle says in his Journal, 26 Dec., 1840, "My lectures written out since the end of August lie here still unpublished. Saunders & Otley offer me £50 for an edition of 750: munificent! Fraser, consulted by my Wife, did not definitely offer any cash at all, I think. ... Happily I do not need any cash at present." Fraser finally agreed to give £75 for the Lectures, and £75 for a new edition of Sartor.
 Her own Jeannie and I. We did come, "July-Sept., 1841:" it was the time of Newby Cottage, by the sea-side. - T. C.
 Jamie, lately wedded. - T. C.
 Scottice, for God's sake.
 We did visit Tynemouth (Harriet Martineau's) and return home together. - T. C. See also Reminiscences, i., 197.
 Old night at the Play. - T. C.
 Her Mother, Mrs. Welsh, who died on 25 Feb., 1842.
 Helen Mitchell ("Kirkcaldy Helen");
 Past and Present
 De grandes choses à faire. "Rise, M. le Comte, you have great things to do," so said M. de St. Simon (not the Louis-Quatorze one but his miserable wind-bag of a descendant, the Père de l'humanité, new Messias, etc., of Paris in these years), and immediately got out of bed. - T. C.
 Carlyle on leaving home for Wales, had bought his wife an umbrella as a birthday gift, at a shop in Oxford Street. The shopman had neglected to deliver it at Cheyne Row.
 Have quite forgotten him. - T. C.
 The "foolish Double" was the other Thomas Carlyle who, it was said, was passing current in Berlin, etc., as the author of the French Revolution. The "information" asked for was about this Double.
 Vittoria Accorombona, by Tieck.
 A poor Polish exile befriended by Carlyle.
 "You must excuse us the day (to-day), sir," as the coach guard once said to me; "the weather's no what we could wish!" - T. C.
 Mr. Froude prints the sentences from "You - absence" as part of the letter dated 4th July, running the extracts from the two entirely distinct Letters together, without even a paragraph between them. (See Letters and Memorials, i., 194.)
 An extract from this Letter is printed in Letters and Memorials, i., 206-7. where it appears undated and following a letter mis-dated July 18th.
 That is, removing the shelves from the china-closet. See Official Catalogue of The Carlyle's House Memorial Trust.
 Pedant Carpenter and House-agent here. - T. C.
 "Altogether," Macdiarmid of the Dumfries Courier's wearisomely recurring phrase. - T. C.
 Mrs. Carlyle had written, in her letter of the 7th, which Mr. Froude mis-dated 18th, "I have awoke at 4 every morning since you went away."
 A second birthday present.
 An early friend of Carlyle's, cousin of Mrs. Strachey, and half-cousin of Charles Buller. See Reminiscences, ii., 118, 125, 156. Miss Kirkpatrick (afterwards Mrs. Phillips) believed that she was the original of "Blumine" (the Flower-goddess) in Sartor Resartus. Mrs. Strachey and other friends held the same opinion. See the article by Mr. Strachey in the Nineteenth Century, September, 1892; and that by Mrs. Mercer in the Westminster Review, August 1894. These writers adduce many weighty arguments in favour of "Kitty's" claims. But "Blumine is mainly a creature of Carlyle's imagination; and no one lady can rightly claim to have been the original."
 Our first Craigenputtock servant. - T. C.
 Edinburgh semi-Frenchman; since Journalist, etc. - T. C.
 Servant Helen's phrase. - T. C.
 Her birth-night.
 For the article, Francia (Foreign Quarterly Review), I suppose. "Floor of the china-closet" was an actual accident that happened once, and brought some quizzing. - T. C.
 Baring, afterwards Lady Ashburton.
 A friend and compatriot of Mazzini.
 Her Cousin, Jeannie Welsh.
 See ante, p. 109 n.
 Mrs. Cartyle had been making indefatigable exertions among her friends to find a place for Miss Bölte. Amongst others she had evidently applied to Thackeray, who, on July the 25th, sent her the following amusing little Note:
"My Dear Mrs. Carlyle - For God's sake stop Mme. Bölte. I have governidges calling at all hours with High Dutch accents and reams of testimonials. One to-day, one yesterday and a letter the day before, and on going to dine at Punch, by Heavens! there was a letter from a German lady on my plate. And I don't want a Gerwoman; and all our plans are uncertain. Farewell.
Your truly etached,
W. M. T.
 Many people were at this time noising and bothering very much about the Legitimate Drama, which they called "Legitimate Drammer"; without sympathy here. - T. C.
 Her Cousin at Liverpool. - T. C.
 A friend of Carlyle'e, from near Ecclefechan.
 An Italian refugee, driven from Italy for his too liberal political opinions, first to America, then to England. He was introduced to Carlyle by R. W. Emerson in Oct., 1841. Gambardella attempted a portrait of Carlyle, but it proved a failure.
 The Duke of Buccleuch's residence, near Thornhill, Dumfriesshire.
 As the Person of St. Mark's called surnames.
 Seaforth House is three miles or so down the River from Liverpool, Bootleward; a bare kind of big mansion (once Gladstone, senior's) in these years rented by the Paulets, extensive merchant people. Paulet was a good cleverish Genoese; Mrs. Paulet, an early friend of Geraldine Jewsbury, a strange, indolently ingenious, artistic creature, very reverent of us at this time. - T. C.
 "Good" is masculine for "Goody." - T. C.
 The part omitted here may be found in Letters and Memorials, i. 290.
 At the end of last Letter.
 Mrs. Betty Braid, once Dr. Welsh's general servant at Haddington.
 On the Letter-opening question.