The Collected Letters, Volume 4


JWC TO ELIZA STODART; 28 July 1828; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18280728-JWC-EA-01; CL 4:384-386.


Craigenputtoch / Monday [28 July 1828].

“My dear dear Angel Bessy”!!!

What a world of trouble is in these words announced to you! In fact my tea is done, and my coffee is done, and my sugar white and brown; and without a fresh supply of these articles my Husband would soon be done also: it might be got at Dumfries—but bad; and so I have bethought myself of your kind offer to do my commissions as of old, and find it come more natural for me to employ you in this way than another.

To proceed then, at once, to business; that so I may afterwards proceed with freedom to more grateful topics: will you order for me at Polland's in North Hanover Street (nearly opposite Miss Grey's) two stones of brown sugar at 8d and one stone—very brown at 6d½; as also a small loaf of white at 12d—with five pounds of ground rice. Then Angel Bess you must not go home by the Mound but rather along the Bridges that you may step into the new tea establishmen[t] in Waterloo place and get me four pounds of tea at five and four pence per pound—two pounds at seven shillings—and two pounds of ground coffee at two shillings—this the Cockneys must be instructed to wrap up in strong paper and carry to Pollands addressed to Mrs Carlyle Craigen &c &c And you will have the goodness to tell Polland before hand, that such a parcel will be sent to him to forward along with his sugar—and that he must pack the whole nicely up in a box and send it to the first Dumfries carrier addressed to me to the care of Mr Aitken Academy Street Dumfries. Now one thing more thou Archangel Bessy you will pay these things (somewhere about 4 pounds as I calculate) in the trembling hope of being repaid by the earliest opportunity— And unless it goes hard with me I will take good care that you are not dissappointed— The truth is I have no five pound note to send you and four small ones would make rather a bulky letter— And here you may draw your breath as I do mine; for I have nothing farther to trouble you with except on recollection half a pound of Dickson's mustard; not even a long-winded apology for the trouble already given.

By this writing you will know that I have survived my astonishing change—and the talk about tea &c will show you that I even look hopefully into life. Indeed Craigenputtoch is no such frightful place as the people call it: till lately indeed our existence here has been made black with smoke; and confusion unspeakable was nearly turning our heads. But we are begin[n]ing to get a settlement made at last; and see a distinct prospect of being more than tolerably comfortable[.] The solitude is not so irksome as one might think. if we are cut off from good society, we are also delivered from bad; the roads are less pleasant to walk on than the pavement of Princes Street but we have horses to ride; and i[nstead] of shopping and making calls I have bread to bake and chickens to hatch—I read, and work & talk with my Husband and never weary.

I ride over to Templand occasionally; and my Mother and Agnes Ferguson were here last week[.] They seemed content with the aspect of things. but my Mother is so confined at home now! she cannot be absent one night, and that home, I fear is no peaceful place for her I am sadly vexed about her she is looking so ill and so unhappy.

You will write and tell me how all is going on at 22 and in Edinr generally. dear Edinr I was very happy there; and shall always love it and hope to see it again often and often before I die— Will you give my kind regards to Mr Simpson1 when you see him and tell him I was well pleased to hear of his success. Remember us also to Mr Aitken and most affectionately to your Uncle. Do you know of any good Habit maker in Edinr (not very expensive)? I have got fine cloth for a habit and am almost afraid to risk the making of it in Dumfries. Perhaps you could make enquiry for me and let me know the charge. and whether a habit could be made from a pattern gown or peliss. Grace Macdonald2 is turning out a most excellent servant and seems the carefullest honestest creature living. She broke her arm soon after we came hither but it is now almost quite stron[g ag]ain. I never miss a drop of ‘broth.’ [And?] my linens are all entire

My best wishes for Maggy and her new child and ‘I hope Mr Dudgeon is quite well.’3 Letters from Germany and all parts of the earth reach us here just as before. It is so strange to see Craigenputtoch written in Goethe's hand!— But my paper is done Ever Truly [Your] friend,

JW Carlyle