April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 24 August 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490824-TC-JAC-01; CL 24: 205-207


Lesley 1 [24] Augt, 1849—

My dear Brother,

I have come up hither riding thro' the beautiful Autumn air, with Mr Fergus who has business here today; and as he is off among his people, and has left me here for half an hour, in an “Office-room” where ink and paper are (tho' no pens usable but this steel one), I will send you a line of news before going farther.

We go along well enough at Kirkcaldy; excellently well, so far as the hospitalities of friends can go; the weather too is good, and there is sea-bathing, with other “temporal blessings”:—only in the article of sleep I am still a little defective; and in the article of Dilettante Twaddle— But we will not speak of that!— The truth is, I have a kind of headache almost always, the sign, I suppose, of a very bilious condition; my room too is noisy in the mornings, dinner is at 7 and breakfast on the stroke of nine, very bad hours for me:—in short I do not expect to do any good in my present quarters; and therefore with the less regret will quit them soon, which at any rate I must have done. Jane seems to get on considerably better than I; but she had a very bad headache, poor thing, last night,—had got fatigued, I think, driving to Falkland &c,2 and perhaps frightened with a horse that fell: in short, she had crept into bed, at the dinner hour; and had a quite prostrate time of it “till about 2 this morning” according to her own report. Miss Fergus came in with tea to her, about 7; I left her well, 2 hours ago, but decidely resolute not to have any drive or other tumult today.

The Letter you sent me forward was from Lord George Hill; of no significance otherwise.3 Today we had a nice little Note from Jeffrey,4 yesterday a do from Ths Erskine: if I had been at home you should have had a sight of them all by this Post.— We go to Erskine's on Monday first,—having put it off to that day, for the purpose of meeting a Mr Mackenzie (Man of Feeling's son)5 whom Erskine is anxious to present: we have engaged to stay “two days”; shall probably get back to Edinr say on Thursday, and there make a flying call on Jeffrey,—“lunch,” he himself talks of, or “breakfast,” for he professed to be very weak and old:—after which, Jane will to Haddington, and whether I am to accompany her, or to go northward again to Perth and Glen Truine (the Ashburtons' Place)6 without farther delay, is as yet uncertain, Jane having hitherto put off deciding it,—indeed not having yet written to the poor Miss Donaldsons to ask them about that or any thing.

Dear Brother, I am terribly weary, that is a fact: I wd freely give any joy in exchange (I often think) for a quiet place to rest in for a while! I will end my writing, for one thing, and lie down while I may, on three of these soft chairs. Yesterday I rode to “Buckhaven,” a kind of antedeluvian Fishing Village, scene of “Wise Wullie and witty Eppy,”7—a strange clachan [village] indeed; redolent frightfully of fish bowels, but inhabited (it seems) by people who thrive both in person and purse. “Buckha'en”: a norse colony planted there to fish, it is said, by industry of James the Fifth, the last good Sovereign of these countries.8— My head warns me to have done. Oh the Belchers, the sketching, dilettante-ing, ever-twaddling, well-nigh insupportable Belchers! I fly the side of the house they are on.

My dear good Mother need be in no apprehension of my heartfelt desire to revisit Scotsbrig as I pass South again: but nothing can be fixed in the present uncertain stage of matters. Take care of her, I beg of you; there is nothing in this world that can so gratify me as that. My blessings with you all; and so I do end, the very Pen refusing to perform farther. Best regards to Jamie and Isabella.

Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle

No shearing yet visible on this our internal and rather elevated road today—the whole County nearly ripe,—beautifully cultivated everywhere, and apparently furnished this year with superior crop. Potatoes themselves mostly still green and healthy; very cheap in the market still.— Adieu dear Brother