April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO [FREDERICK LOCKER] ; 21 September 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480921-TC-FL-01; CL 23: 117-118


The Grange, Hants (for Chelsea, / London), 21 Septr, 1848—


I rather apprehend there must be some mistake in this matter of the Gardener, concerning which I first receive your Note this morning.

I never had any servant specifically doing duty as Gardener; nor for many years back have I had anything that could at all deserve the name of Garden to employ one upon. It occurs to me, after reflexion, that I did once about twenty years ago lay out a piece of new ground among the mountains in Dumfriesshire, and fashion it into a small garden, with lawns &c on a very humble scale to correspond; and that there worked for me, on that occasion, for perhaps six weeks or so, a man, by regular profession a Gardener, from Dumfries,—whose figure and performance I remember very well, but whose name I either never knew or have now quite lost. Perhaps this was Andrew Leitch?1 If so, he is (or was) a trim man of middle size, with slightly aquiline countenance, much marked by small-pox; grey-eyed; with Anglified-Scotch manner; and must now be about fifty years of age. This man was one of the expertest workers with gardener's tools I ever saw; full of invention, promptitude, impetuosity; indeed, of extraordinary vigour and diligence, and skilful beyond common at whatever he put hand to, in gardening or otherwise;—for the rest, a perfectly respectable man, so far as I knew; and fit, I should think, to be a most useful servant, had it not been (as I heard, and could partly observe) that his temper was apt to be a little hot and uncertain, and his humour capricious, so that he was said to be often changing his master, and not quite easy to command, in those years. In this latter respect, age may have done much to amend him; and I knew nothing else to his disadvantage, but all else as I describe it.

Possibly enough, however, this is not your man at all; possibly your man alludes to another ‘T. Carlyle Esq,’ also of Dumfriesshire, with whom I am sometimes confounded; who is now, I think called ‘Revd T. Carlyle,’2 and lives at Albury in Surrey for most part, joined in some kind of clerical function with Hy Drummond Esq M.P. of that place.

Craigenputtoch was the name of my residence in Dumfriesshire; and the Gardener came to me from a Mr Kennedy (?) Nursery-man in Dumfries, who must know a great deal more about him than I.3— I remain / Yours very truly

T. Carlyle