January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 17 May 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18310517-TC-MAC-01; CL 5:274-276.


Craigenputtoch, Tuesday Night [17 May 1831]

My Dear Mother,

It seems very uncertain whether this small Letterkin will be worth its money: they would persuade me here that you expect no word on Wednesday; however I think it likely you will call at Nottman's;1 and so must not quite disappoint you.

We got home very handsomely,2 about eight o'clock; and found all as we had left it. Jamie's horsehair stood the work well enough, and the pony's shoulder grew little worse. He (the pony) was “all foot together, but rather light”: we mean not to yoke him again till he is sound and whole.— It was a great pleasure to us to have seen you all so well; and still so kind and affectionate: let us be thankful to the Giver of every Good for this among the highest of blessings.

The unfortunate M'Caa, my Letter-carrier hither, had apparently taken to whisky by the way, and did not send over Alick's Letter till Friday towards noon, long after the Boy Walter was in Dumfries, (of course without message), and the whole matter irrevocably settled. It was well I had provided also for this contingency. Unhappy Redbreek!3 I charged him straitly, and he promised faithfully; nay I doubt not he even made an effort, but tho' the spirit was willing, the stomach's thirst was too strong.

Alick seems to think that perhaps, after all, Monday the day fixed4 may be as good as another. Fifty handbills have been posted up over all these regions; tomorrow we expect to see a similar advertisement in the Courier: Alick is for Dumfries himself to settle about judge and Auctioneer; we expect the Scotsbrig Whitebonnets on Saturday, and hope it will all go off with proper effect.— Alick, I may mention as a secret, has already, by private bargain, sold six score of his Ewes; apparently at a fair or even good price: he had let the men take the road, but luckily determined (I warmly seconding him) to call them back. This relieves him of a heavy burden, and great uncertainty. His men are good, and either pay ready money, or give bill with interest. The price I think was some 15 guineas the score.— Farther, he has this day finished out his Potatoes: the Austens had furnished him yesterday with a man and horse; and so poor Jolly was this afternoon set to the grass, which happily he is still able to bite. The old mare also is looking up, and it is hoped will be “borne thro' with an honourable throughbearing.”5 So far all is well.

For myself I have resumed my task,6 and this day accomplished two clear pages,— which indeed is little, yet a thousand times more than Nothing. I too (like the old Mare) am in jeopardy, yet hope I may get thro'. The Book must be written, if I continue living; the buying and reading of it does not depend on me.

The Stroquhan Roup has been g[oing o]n these two days; and, it would seem [one or two words missing], John Anderson7 means to occupy the house; for he is buying in all the furniture of any value. He is a queer man apparently, and not too kind to those who best deserve kindness from him.— I have no more Paper, and so must say Good Night. I will write again when I think you in want of news: daily ou[r thoug]hts and blessings are with you all. God be e[ver near? (almost illegible under wafer)] you my Dear Mother!— Your affectionate Son

T. Carlyle

Tell Jamie not to forget the cart and Geese[.]