The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE; 30 March 1828; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18280330-TC-JCA-01; CL 4:348-350.


Scotsbrig, Sunday [30 March 1828]

Dear Little Crow,

I duly received your Munich Letter, and your Proofsheet Package, on two successive Wednesdays; and had reason to approve your activity and sagacity in managing so many new concerns. It was a deadening and a killing Letter that of the unfranked Proofs; more especially as it was totally superfluous, and must have been sent you by mistake alone. Had one possessed the gift of divination (which very few possess), the right way would have been to let the Postman keep that epistle to himself; you keeping your 5/ 4½, which would have answered better. However, it is all settled now; and the damage any way is not considerable.

The next thing to be discussed is when you are to be relieved from your wardenship, and the natural guardians of the Mansion to return. We purposed, you know, to be back in a fortnight; that is tomorrow.1 Yet back tomorrow we shall not be; for all is in derangement about Templand, Jane cannot be wanted there, and her engagements have hitherto cramped mine also. Poor Miss Welsh is dreadfully ill; the Doctor and Jane seem to have little doubt but she is dying: Mrs Welsh also has fallen sick; so that now it seems to be arranged that I am to return home myself, and leave Jane at Templand till some better season for quitting it. Miss Welsh's Brother is now come thither from Liverpool;2 so that they are better off for men; but of women there is none except Jane that can take any full charge; her Mother being to all appearance exhausted with over-exertion. Poor little Auntie! I myself have great fears for her; but I do not think the Doctor knows his right hand from his left in the matter; so that his predictions give me little concern.3

Now I have not yet finally settled at Craigenputtock, and was to be up there again before leaving the country. I purpose, therefore, setting off for Thornhill tomorrow; then next day for the Craig; and unless some new scheme be started, you may expect to see me on Thursday-night. But I can predict nothing with certainty; all things are in such a state of agitation. I fear greatly your funds must be getting low; and were it not for the dangers of double postage, I would send you a pound herewith: however, you must try to hold out till Thursday night, and if I do not come then I will enclose you the so needful “supply.” But I think and calculate that starting that morning from Thornhill I shall come; and doubtless the tea will be ready, and the house swept and garnished for me, when I ring the bell. The Crow also will greatly rejoice at relief from her solitude; and will actually betake herself to keeping house for me, till the real Goodwife arrive.

I have been at the Craig and here and back again like a weaver's shuttle on the back of Larry, whose hoof has had no rest since I revisited him. They are all well. Alick was down here yesterday for seed-corn, and our Mother went off with him in the Cart; so that I expect to see her again on Tuesday. Mag and Jenny are here; Jenny at the Sewing-school school with Jene Combe, and making great progress. Jemmy and the rest are busy sowing oats, at least were yesterday, for today they are all at the Kirk. Every one of them has been asking again and again after “Jean,” and rejoicing to hear that she does well. If I can persuade them, I will make them write their compliments with their own hands. Meanwhile do thou, my dear little “wise young Stewardess,”4 continue to behave thy bit of a self (for thou also art a self) with propriety; and expect thy natural guardian and Brother on Thursday night, unless something unexpected intervene. All manner of news (if I can remember any) I will tell thee when I come. Jane sent her love to thee in her letter of last night. I am ever

Thy affectionate Brother, / Thomas Carlyle5