October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


TC TO [KATHERINE ERSKINE?] ; 2 October 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18561002-TC-KE-01; CL 32: 1


Scotsbrig, Ecclefechan, 2 Octr / 1856—

Dear Madam,

I find your letter waiting here last night; you are very obliging to remember me and the Etymology of Craigenputtoch! Puttoch evidently signifies something of the Hawk or Glede genus; something that is despicable in comparison to an Eagle. It is an interesting fact that you have practically met the word in use at all. We will accept it in that signification; and Craig or Cliff of the Hawks (for which sort of bird it may have been very suitable when clothed with wild birch) shall henceforth be the orthodox Translation of Craigenputtoch,—with thanks to the Author.1

I had fully intended a little visit to Linlathen again last month; but the sad event which had befallen there sorrowfully prevented all that. I am grieved to think how much Mr Erskine, and not the Widow2 only but all the family, will feel that loss, which indeed could be a gain to no creature. A modest friendly and worthy man is wanting to all men that ever knew the man now gone.

I have been in the Highlands, far away beyond Dingwall; am only got hither last night, thro’ such a chaos of Highland coaches and overwhelming railway “Junctions” as were like to drive one mad. I find my Wife here well; and the day after tomorrow, we hope, if all go right, to reach Chelsea again, and get to something more profitable than touring.

With many kind regards, and pleasant remembrances of Scotch Song,3 which does not visit me so often as it should I remain,

Dear Madam, / Yours sincerely

T. Carlyle 4