January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 21 June 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18310621-TC-MAC-01; CL 5:290-292.


Craigenputtoch, Tuesday, 21st June / —1831—

My Dear Mother,

Alick has taken me rather by surprise: nevertheless I will write you a “scrape of a pen” tonight, tho' he stand there holding his horse by the bridle all the while.

I have been put off it three several Wednesdays by the more and more certain expectation of “James of Scotsbrig,” with Horses to graze; who, however, does not come. On Monday too I was to have had a chance; Alick and Jenny were coming down; but they also did not:—for reasons you shall hear.

Let me hasten however to say that we are all in our usual health, and occupation; that there is (happily) almost nothing to write about. I must except the state of our Horse-cattle: poor Jolly grew sick the day after Jamie went away; became worse and worse, in the manner of Larry: Alick rode for the Farrier; a useless creature full of Edinburgh conceit; who however was able to tell us that the disease was inflammation of the lungs, and that many horses had died of it this summer. Such proved to be poor Jolly's fate: in spite of all blistering, blooding and other care, he died (with little struggling) in about a week.— Alick has now bought another little black beast; a young mare, seemingly very fell [strong]; for some £15.— But the Horse-business is not done yet. For a week little Harry had been coughing; this Alick called a grass-cold, and treated lightly. But on Saturday night, it became clear that Harry too had got inflammation in the lungs, and we gave him up for lost. He had never been in such case since we had him; and was a universal favourite. We judged, after deliberation, that the Farrier was useless. Alick rode to Moniaive; got drugs &c; and today I (very slightly) incline to think that the poor Brute will recover. He has been well waited on: this is the reason why Alick is not with you at present; and why I cannot predict with absolute confidence when he will; because he is to wait till he “see how it turn.” I think, this week some time.

He is to bring down his Cow with a Calf of its; also a large unparralleled [sic] Quey [heifer] (Cowie) from ours, which calved a week ago (as that incomparable James of Scotsbrig well predicted), greatly to the joy of all. This Cowie Jenny of Scotsbrig is to nurse up into an incomparable Cow.

Alick is literally standing with the bridle, since the top of last page!

These Magazines came from Jack about a week ago: he writes a long Letter; in which however there is nothing definite; except that he is well, and has never yet fairly tried Medicine in London: indeed knows not whether he should try it there.— I can advise him to nothing; except to put away Procrastination, and work—at something or anything. I rather think there will be little sense of him, till I get to London: probably in some five or six weeks; then we shall see how it is.

I am toiling daily, daily at my Dud. Very dull I a[m] and get slowly on: but I always remember your Saying; “Were it but twae stalks [two stitches], it'll no loup in [leap out] again”—one of the truest Truths.

You are to come up with Jenny and Alick, and stay here. I myself will drive you down again. Come! who knows when you may see us here again.— Alas! Alas! I remember this night twelvemonth well.1 But God's will be done! She, as I say always, is with God, and where God wills, as we are.— Good Night my dear Mother for this hurried once. Kind Love to my Father and them all. Ever your Affectionate

T. Carlyle—