The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 15 April 1828; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18280415-TC-AC-01; CL 4:355-356.


21. Comley Bank, Monday Night. / 15th April, 1828—

My dear Alick,

You must look for a most pitiful Letter at present; embracing only the needful; for I am much pressed for time. We are sending back the Dumfries Paper-specimens; seeing we can get the article a good deal better here: I am writing to our architect1 at any rate, to get us a proper workman to paste up the Paper and inspect it when it comes; so I throw you in a few words also, especially as they can go without cost.

The most important thing I had to say, is that certainly we are coming down to the Craig at Whitsunday2 first! Our house had been let here in our absence; and that of itself was sufficient to decide us. So see, my good Boy, to have all in the best order you can get it in!

We are still in great distress about a servant; but we have the prospect or offer of several; and surely among these we shall find some one to fit us better or worse for one half year. It is an awkward case; but nothing else than hubble [tumult] is to be looked for throughout for a time.

Jane thinks that our proposed roofing-in of the pump may be postponed till after we arrive; especially as you have so much else to attend to. The most needful thing will be the inside of the house; and immediately next to that, the making of the road, and gravelling the front-door.

As to the main turnpike, tho' I have great faith in your activity and ingenuity, I doubt much if we shall get any help in our enterprize from the Dunscore Public: however, you will leave no stone unturned; and at the worst, it is but the old story: “Man, help thyself”! I suppose something must be done before Whitsunday; or the Furniture carts will not be able to pass.

We have been talking about the Garden; and it seems to be agreed upon that there shall be a walk all round, some five feet or so from the walls. If this can be of any service in your arrangement of the matter, well and good: but I rather incline to suppose there will be little done in that way. Meanwhile neglect not to plant us [a] store of early potatoes; to sow carrots, leeks, and all manner of greens, that there may be food for man and beast.

I am in a great hurry at this moment; and generally of late days in a troublous enough humour; being bilious in addition to my other cares: nevertheless, I cannot regret this necessity of our determining on Country life; and feel much inclined to augur good of it, were we once all settled. Where nothing but honest wishes and purposes exist, a prosperous issue may surely be hoped for. We all intend well; we have all some inkling of sense to see what is well: certainly some right relation will not fail to spring up among us; and with all necessaries of existence, we shall contrive to exist in peace and some degree of earthly comfort together. It has ever been my wish to live among those dear to me by nature: I cannot but hope that now it will be happily realized.

Besides Goethe's Letter which I received at Craigenputtock, there was the long-expected Box lying waiting for me when we returned hither at Leith. There are the Medals for Scott in it; Books, manuscript verses, trinkets for the wife and a long and somewhat garrulous letter; all which you sh[all see] in time. I have to answer the Poet without delay; I have to distribute his presents; I have a Letter to write Jack, and Letters to his Librarians; and in short so many odds and ends to gather up, that I bid fair to be utterly tired of epistles before all be over. And then two long Articles for Reviews;3 of which I see not how above one can be ready before Whitsunday. But courage! Hard work is no-wise the hardest of evils; and there is a braw time coming for us to rest in. But enough for the present. Wish me well my dear Alick as I heartily do you. Best affection to Missus,4 whose present Jean received with high gratification. By the way, I should tell you that Jean conducted her housekeeping in the most masterly style while we were absent: she is a shrewd little creature, as ever had a head. Tell our dear Missus, that she must make arrangements for learning to sew, this summer; and I will see her thro' the expence. She must and shall learn it; shall, if I can help her.— But again good night!

Ever Your Brother, /

T. Carlyle—