October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


JWC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 14 August 1832; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18320814-JWC-AC-01; CL 6:202-203.


[14? August 1832]

… settling down on the whole party and threatened to end before night in permanent eclipse— They [two grouse hunters at Craigenputtoch] had been told we “could not quarter them” the very maid being going away, and the house to be locked up— And however charming it might be “to Shoot upon the moors” doubtless they thought with Gillet1 that “to Sleep upon the moors” would be less pleasant. Moreover Providence in its Mercy had wetted them with repeated thunder showers—which I would have enjoyed with unmixed delight but for the recollection that these would also be wetting my husband2— And finally to fill the cup of disappointment to overflowing which gunners like other Mortals are doomed to dree [endure]—not a grouse had been obliging enough to let itself be shot at! All these things were against them—and highly consolatory to me while actually imprisoned in my own chamber—the door locked—afraid to stir from my chair for fear of my foot tread being heard—and kept waiting an hour after my dinner time before any food could be administered to me. The idea of this lasting many days would have put me distracted— I was already meditating a walk in the evening in the disguise of a servant girl— But the two having drank a bottle of whisky between them—to say nothing of wine—laid their judicious heads together and adopted the sudden and glorious resolution of evacuating a spot where Gods and Men and birds seemed all to have conspired against them— Accordingly “the light cart” was yoked—the clothes and provisions reladen—and after many fruitless inquiries about the road to Knocksting3—the cavalcade set forth— Robert the boy met them at Sandy Well[s]4—from there questions about roads still uncertain, he thought, to what point of the compass to direct their flight. They told him it was such a place for game as they never saw— I suggested they should go home and take a doze of physic and next day fall to some sort of work. Any way behold me—happily delivered from this worse than the seven plagues of Egypt—the plague of Gunners. Surely I am now secure for Betty is just setting out for Dumfries (where she seems to have left her heart—a part of her head—and all her temper), and so soon as she is gone I shall lock both doors and he will be a clever fellow that persuades me to open to him!

I send you a very worthless waistcoat which Mr C wonderful to say has pronounced done, and advise you to wear it out (if you can wear it) as fast as possible in case he comes upon us for it again in the winter. You know his passion for old clothes.—

Give my love to Jenny and thanks for the cocks which were the very best we have been privileged with this year. A kiss to the little curiosity—I shall surely see it before long—

Macadam met with a Plattism5 two or three weeks ago— A Man that had bought Cattle from him for ready money, “when it came to the beet [bit: i.e., came to the point]” proved to be five and twenty pounds short of the price which was to be left at some house the following Wednesday, but has not yet been forthcoming—nor probably ever will. He is very peac[e]able as a neighbour and his wife extremely obliging. I believe Samuel and they have quarrelled—which has been lucky for us— The said Samuel and wife came in a gig to Nethercraigenputtoch and staid a night— Whereupon Joseph's wife remarked that he should have paid his debt to her husband before he passed his door. So you see the devil continues busy here as elsewhere—

William Corson is holding forth at Workington. And the old ‘Leddy’ has a plan to send her accomplished daughter Eliza there (among colliers) “to be finished”— Mary brags that you sweethearted at an awful rate with her tho' you always “gibed” her afore folks faces— And now you cannot say but I have written you a long letter—for which I shall be content to take a short one in return— God bless you my dear Brother love me as long and as well as you can and believe me always sincerely and affectionately

Your Jane W Carlyle