January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


MARGARET A. CARLYLE TO ISABELLA MACKINNON ; 8 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420408-MAC-IM-01; CL 14: 130-132


Templand, Thornhill, 8 April / 1842—

My dear Sister,

I came up to this place the day before yesterday, to see my son Tom for a little while, who is here by himself at present, on a very melancholy errand, settling up the affairs of his poor Mother-in-law, who was suddenly taken from them some weeks ago; and whose house here none of us are to revisit now any more.

Tom consents to be my penman; and address a line of inquiry to you; which I have often and many a time wished to do, or to see done, during the last winter. I might have done it myself, poor writer as I am; but tho' I often purposed and attempted, it would never take effect. Tom says it's a shame that Sisters do not send one another news, were they never so ill written, now that any Letter containing a word or half a word will be carried swiftly and safely for one penny!—

I heard that you had been very poorly, and were in a manner lamed with rheumatism. Dear Sister, I do intreat you to send me a word of authentic tidings about this. About this, and about all that concerns you and your good Husband1 and family, every member of which is dear to me. Old age does not dry up my feelings. Our Father's house, and all that are yet alive of it, and all that are dead and have left us here behind them, are still inexpressibly dear to me. The Event that has taken place here recals our own lost Mother to me, and the last time she came out to take leave of me on the road at Cargen-Brig! We did not think it was to be the last; but I saw her no more in this world. God's decrees are inscrutable, past finding out; but we know too that His mercies are great: we have to make His will our will; in Life and in Death it is in His hands that we are.

Our Brother John2 has been rather unwell all winter; and, tho' he affects to treat it lightly, I understand the disorder still rather hangs about him. The chief symptom was a swelling about the feet and legs. I hope the sunny weather which has now come will set him up again.

Jamie and Isabella at Scotsbrig have had a sore distress not long since: their poor little youngest Boy, was, after very great suffering, taken from them.3 He was a wise gleg [eager] little callant [lad]; had much sickness in his short life. Isabella is, and has for years been, in very weak health; tho' still going about, and following her affairs. As for myself, the winter never agrees with me: I have had several ill turns; but, except a long fit of sore eyes which still hangs by me, nothing that lasted: and now we are near the summer again, and I feel myself altogether moderately well, and with many causes to be thankful. The Boys and Lasses, scattered up and down, are all tolerably well in health; all fighting for themselves here or there, with varieties of luck, but all in some true and reasonable kind of way,—for which also I am bound to be very thankful.

Now, dear Tibbie, send me a word soon, I entreat you and bid you! Tom joins in kind wishes to every one of you. I remain always

Your affectionate Sister

Margaret Carlyle