1824- 1825

The Collected Letters, Volume 3


JBW TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 27 August 1825; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18250827-JBW-MAC; CL 3:373-374.


Dumfries / Saturday [27 August 1825]

My dear Madam

Your son, I hope has explained to you, that I am not the very uncertain person which 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 controul. 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; 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 Sisters interest in all that concerns him. Moreover you must prepare yourself to like me, if you possibly can, or your Son, I assure you will be terribly dissappointed. Say to him that he must write me two lines by Mondays post, or I shall not be sure that my letter has reached you. The address is Miss Baillie [underscored twice] Welsh Albany Place[.]

Yours with respect /

Jane B Welsh

The coach in which I have taken a seat passes Kelhead about a quarter before—eight o'clock


Kelhead Kilns (“the purest lime in Scotland”) are some 12 miles eastd from Dumfries, on the upper or ‘new’ road from that Town to Annan and Carlisle, and London; some cottages of quarry people are scattered abt, or stand in bits of rows, here and there, around beside the great chasms and pillar of smok[e]; no other form of village or hovel[?] there: Hoddam Hill is two miles north by a branch-road whh breaks off at right angles there, and goes straight for Ecclefechan, passing within few hundred 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, whh lies beyond, with its long avenue of big shady Beeches whh continues to Ecclefn above 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 Grandfr'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 & 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 Farm House, thin & 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 & appurtenances; a right pleast shelter for the old Papa!— Poor Aunt Jeannie's own course in this world had been sad enough, cheerful as her air was; and she died in some 3 years more. ‘Grizzie’ (Grace or Grisel, my Mr-in-law), her elder Sister, had removed to Templd for residence, so soon as Comley Bank Edinr was ready for us and ours; she, on Sister's last illness, took charge of her Father (equally skilful, equally generous, tho much less pat[ien]t and amenable); and continued there till her own death.