The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 19 October 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18261019-TC-MAC-01; CL 4:151-154.


21. Comley Bank, 19th October 1826.

My Dear Mother,

Had it not been that I engaged to let you hear of me on Saturday, I should not have been tempted to “put pen to paper this night”; for I am still dreadfully confused, still far from being at home in my new situation, inviting and hopeful as in all points it appears. But I know your motherly anxieties, I felt in my heart the suppressed tears that you did not shed before my departure, and I write at present to tell you that you are not to shed any more.

Jane has run up stairs for a few minutes to unpack the last remnants of our household luggage: I have but a few minutes to spare, and must give you matters in the lump.

Jack would tell you of our being wedded after the most doleful ride (on his and my part) thither; and then rolled off in the Coach towards Edinr on Tuesday Morning. Poor Jack! I daresay he did greet [weep] that morning when alone; he looked so very wae, and scarcely knew more than myself what to make of it. Our journey passed without incident, and we arrived here in safety about nine o'clock, where a blazing fire and covered table stood ready waiting to receive us.

On the whole I have reason to say that I have been mercifully dealt with; and if an outward man worn with continual harrassments and spirits wasted with so many agitations would let me see it, that when once re[c]overed into my usual tone of health I may fairly calculate on being far happier than I have ever been. The house is a perfect model of a house, furnished with every accommodation that heart could desire; and for my wife I may say in my heart that she is far better than any other wife, and loves me with a devotedness, which it is a mystery to me how I have ever deserved. She is gay and happy as a lark, and looks with such soft cheerfulness into my gloomy countenance that new hope passes over into me every time I meet her eye. You yourself (and that is saying much) could not have nursed and watched over me with kinder affection, wrecked as I am, by my movements and counter-movements; all my despondency cannot make her despond, she seems happy enough if she can but see me, and minister to me.

For in truth I was very sullen yesterday, sick with sleeplessness, quite nervous, billus, splenetic and all the rest of it. Good Jane! I feel that she will be all to me that heart could wish; for she loves me in her soul, one of the warmest and truest souls that ever animated any human being. Last night I got a good sleep; and tho' several sleeps will be necessary to give me back my old train of acting, I am already far better today, and all that was so dark yesterday is now becoming grey, and promising ere long to be quite sunshiny and bright.

I must huddle things together, for if I had a whole day I could not put them in order. You will ask about sleep: fear not for that, my good Mother; I shall sleep better than ever, Scotsbrig or the Hill were not quieter than this, and our bed is, I should think, about seven feet wide! Besides she herself (the good soul!) has ordered another bed to be made for me in the adjoining room, to which I may retire whenever I shall see good. On this score therefore all is well. Yesterday and today we have spent in sorting and arranging our household goods, and projecting our household economy. She calculates at the moderate scale of £2 per week: I am to give her two pound notes every saturday morning, and with this she undertakes to meet all charges. At this rate which astonishes myself far more than her, there can be no fear. She seems Thrift itself as well as Goodness.

Of men or women we have yet seen none except the maid, a neat tidy damsel; so of Tait or any other business I cannot speak one word.

The Waffler did not bring the Boxes yesterday; but sent them this morning by two porters, who rated them at the short weight of—eighteen stone! I paid them 2/6 for their porterage; but of the Waffler's 12 / for carriage I would not pay one doit. I wish Sandy would try to settle with him for this once, and then never more employ him while he lives. Gavin Johnstone is far better tho' he lives at a greater distance.

You may send the butter and the cheese, and a firkin (by and by I think) of your best oatmeal. Get the things weighed and marked when he undertakes with them, and after that there can be no overcharge. We will settle it all in summer.

But my time is run, and my head is still swimming with ten thousand objects of the most chaotic sort. You should not have ordered me to write in two days, but after three weeks [one or two words torn away] that, I [one word missing: might?] tell you another story.

Jane would not look at this letter, for I told her you so wished it. She sends her warmest love to you all. Is not mine still with you? I have told her all that you said and looked that morning I went away, and she loves you all along with me, and sorrows with me for your absence. My prayers and affection are with you all from little Jenny upwards to the head of the house. Remember me to my Brothers, my trusty Alick (Jack must write) and all the rest. Mag and her sisters are not forgotten either. I will write again, when I have recovered my senses. Good night my dear Mother; I have “told you the worst,” which is that I am half as billus as might have been expected; overshadowed with confusion, therefore, but with hope on all sides looking thro' it. Jane will write to you soon, so also will I; you shall not want for letters; or for love while there is life in me. Again I say I will write when I have recovered my bewilderment. Tell Jack to write us in the mean while; and fear nothing: I am forever your

affectionate son, /

T. Carlyle—