January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 18 December 1829; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18291218-TC-MAC-01; CL 5:41-42.


Craigenputtoch, Friday Night—[18 December 1829]

My Dear Mother,

This is a Cloak which Mrs Welsh sends you from Templand, with best wishes that it may defend you against tempests: we forward it tomorrow morning, as Elliott is going down then (with one of those everlasting grates—I do hope the last of them); and we may not have such an opportunity on Wednesday. The Cloak is not hemmed at the bottom, as the Lady Bountiful did not know your height. When we get the Gigg she is coming down to see you and Annandale.

‘Little Jane’ did not come last Wednesday; but only a note instead of her: we thought the weather too stormy. You must thole her a little.1 She leads a very quiet life here; weaving comforters, sewing shifts, and wishing or speaking evil to no one. She was clear for being off, on Wednesday-morning, with Alick, after all: but as the day proved, we rejoiced she had not gone. Next Wednesday, she will try it again, if the storm be not too bad.

I hope my Father is getting better; tho' this is no weather for colds. Try to keep him within doors as much as possible. Take you care of yourself also; till the Sun begin to stretch again. Will no one come hither to bring us word of you soon? Or cannot Jamie or Mag send us a Letter?

For myself, I am better in health than I was: but there are no Books come from London; so I cannot get my ‘German History’ begun; and am well nigh idle, except for the reading of insignificant Books. I have been expecting them these three weeks.

The rest are all on foot; jogging along at their old vocations. Alick clinks away in his smithy, making natural music (and many odd iron implements) under cloud of night. He and I have repaired the Skylight with our own hands, and absolutely cured the Kitchen vent of reek! Mary was off today, seeking a dressmaker to measure her for a frock; and arrived safely at dusk from ‘the Glen.’

Tell Jamie that I will send him money to pay all manner of Cartwrights very soon, that my credit may not evaporate in Annandale. I hope to have no more stables to build; and so not soon to be so poor another year.

We had no word from the Doctor on Wednesday; but expect with confidence to hear of him next week. I suppose he will have written you ere now. His silence to me I impute to his having had no time, and no news of importance; not having yet seen how the land might lie.2

Poor James Bell! He was with us that night John went off; and is now lying in his grave! Surely all flesh is as grass.3 Be we also ready!—— Good night, my Dear Mother; may all blessings be with you and the rest!

Ever Your affectionate Son,

Thomas Carlyle