October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


TC TO ELIZA STODART; 26 December 1832; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18321226-TC-EA-01; CL 6:286-287.


Craigenputtoch, Dumfries, 26th Decr, 1832

My Dear Eliza,

Your very punctual and distinct Communication has just come to hand; and the whole burble [tangle] into which the jolly Widow's1 peculiar quality of brain has thrown you becomes manifest. Jane seems so thunderstruck and overawed in glancing into the profundities of that matter (wherein she can see no bottom), that I, at her most earnest request, have undertaken to reply to you,—as Edward Irving says, “with my own hand.”

Two words, it may be hoped, after all will bring us fairly thro'. The first word is that we intend to stay some three months, and shall of course need a house for that time. Take No 18 for us then, if the woman will engage to let it (and not again to change her mind) on the following principle: That if during the first fortnight we give her warning that the place does not suit, we are to pay her the Six Pounds for one month; and that if no such warning is given, the rent is to be Four Pounds per month all the way, or Twelve Pounds for Twelve weeks. If she do not like these terms, wish her good morning, and let her find a tenant elsewhere.

The second word is that as Mrs Colquho[u]n appears to be (I grieve to say) a Lady of very peculiar habits of doing business, it will be needful for you to be doubly and trebly accurate, and see with your own eyes that all minor arrangements (such as that of “getting things”—which I do not well understand) be placed on such a footing that even a Goose cannot mistake them. “Folly to Folly,” saith the Proverb, “makes nothing but Melancholy.” The proper way is Wisdom to Folly.— As to Beds, I hear Missus say that she can do without feather-beds, if all the rest be right; and that as to the “getting of things,” her expectations are by no means high.

Now this is the answer. I grieve very much for all the trouble you are getting; but you are well known as a most friendly being; and to the heart of sensibility that feels for others' woes,2 all these things are light and but the luxury of doing good.3

I add only that if this negociation take effect, you are likely to have the inexpressible pleasure of seeing us, on the evening of Monday (I think, the 7th of January) by the Thornhill Coach; and that we shall hope to hear from you, in any case, this day week.

We left Mrs Welsh tolerably well yesterday (the day before having proved a tempest), and came hear [sic] to eat a Christmas Dinner, which differed in no visible particular from any other of the year.

With kind regards to Mr Bradfute; and hoping soon to see you and thank you, I remain, Dear Eliza

Always faithfully Yours, /

T. Carlyle