October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 19 March 1834; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18340319-TC-MAC-01; CL 7:116-118.


Craigenputtoch, 19th March, 1834—

My Dear Mother,

You are probably expecting some little word of tidings from me tonight; and I have no mind to disappoint you. There is little to say, except that I got well home, and we are all well;—or rather of the many other things that I could wish to say and impart to you there are so few that will come readily into black-on-white! I have thought much about you, my dear Mother; and what can we make of it but that there is another revolution and shaking-asunder and joining-together going to take place among us; for which, with a patient trust that it will be all for Good, we ought to make courageously ready. Be not discouraged, my dear Mother: this also will be found to lead us towards the right mark. You shall never see yourself forsaken on Earth while I live, while one of us lives; and happy were it for us if out of the Earth and beyond it, we had a City with foundations!1 That a Faith of that dwells in you is my greatest comfort: what anchor have we otherwise in this tempestuous fluctuating world to front its storms with? Another year, I trust, will see us all more composed.

I parted with Alick, as he would tell you, on this side of Lochmaben; in a wae and yet not unhappy mood: so many partings; Life compelling each of us to go his separate road: and yet the serene image of a continued Union even in Time, and a higher Union thro' Eternity looks in glimpses benignantly thro' it.— But I must cease my moralizing; for that is not the business here.

Jean got me all my things at Dumfries; I found her well and looking well: delivered her her packages and told her all the news. I saw M'Diarmid and some others with him; all of whom were as kind and kinder than there was need for. I agreed with the Bookseller M'Kie to send him down a whole mass of old Books which he was to sell for me: they have accordingly gone down, last Wednesday, in two large Boxes. I expect little for them; but they will be out of the way.

Here at home also all was well; and my two dames set heartily to grind coffee for me when I showed face. Mrs Welsh had not wearied nearly so much as I expected: in fact, she staid a week longer, till yesterday; and parted in the most kindly reluctant manner; a thing unexampled in the history of visiting; which we almost thought like feedom [a portent, usually of death]. She sent back the Gig with her Boy, the same day; and a very multifarious collection of Presents; including even two hareskin soles for me!— She is to send you her Pony down next Wednesday; not tomorrow, because the Boy only got home today, and there was no time to fetch it: she would not speak of selling it, but seemed to wish much it might suit you. I doubt, it will be very weak: she lamented that the Boys had taught it a trick of flying across the road (I think); formerly it had no trick, and still has no other. But Garthwaite will bring it down for you next week, and you will see it with your own eyes. If it do not suit, you shall have Harry, or one that will. Alick also will see after a saddle.

We have yet heard nothing more of London; but may perhaps this week or next. No applicant either for the House here; only Peter Austin very urgent for the Park (in case the House should not let), of which I promised him the first offer. Indeed I have done almost nothing since my return: I was in a rather bilious state, and went about in a restless uneasy pitiful state on that account till within these two days, when (by aid of regimen and castor) I am got to my old condition again. I doubt, the weather, as beautiful as it looks, is not very healthy: therefore, I beg of you specially to take care of yourself. This is the very time for colds and rheumatisms, and small feverish afflictions. Take to your pills again, if you have any need of them; and I entreat you, dear Mother, be very careful.—

Next week I think is the March Fair; when you get your pony. The question is: When you are to come up here, and get a fortnight of writing? I am quite serious in this; at all events, you must come here, and give us a fortnight's talking, whatever way things turn. I will come for you any time: if your pony will carry you to Dumfries[,] as we were talking, my coming is the merest trifle, for I am not likely to do much except read for some time. Now as to the time: Archy Glen is to be here for three days, he writes us, the first being the 3d of April. Perhaps when he goes off will be the best time we can choose. I will write however before then, and we will try to fix it.

What has Austin made out at Annan? I fancied him there last thursday. Mary must take her pen, and write us all that has passed, especially how you all are. Ben Nelson did not come on friday; which was no other than I expected.

The sheet is so near full! I too am confused and wearied; Glen has just been here, and I had various tasks thro' the day. Good night, my dear Mother! Let us all be of good cheer, and good hope: has not God's Providence cared for us all hitherward; and will He now forsake us? We have no reason to think so, except our Unbelief. Good night my dear Mother; may Peace be with you all!

Your affectionate Son, /

T. Carlyle

Jane sends her best love to you all: you in particular I am to tell that the stockings are “beautiful” and most thankfully received.