October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 1 April 1834; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18340401-TC-MAC-01; CL 7:126-128.


Craigenputtoch, 1st April, 1834—

My Dear Mother,

I need not detain you long with any words of mine today, for here is a Letter from Jack,1 which we got only last night, and now forward to you. Let us be thankful again! The poor Doctor is very well in body and mind; and has nothing but friendly news for us. He is not going over the Alps, it would seem, but down to Naples for the summer; an arrangement which he seems to like better. We are well pleased to hear that Miss Elliott is to continue with them: on principle of “Let well be.” So hither, thank Heaven, it is all right.

As for us there is nothing new fallen out since I wrote last; or hardly anything. We have, indeed, got the promise of a servant for summer, either in London or anywhere else we may please to dwell in: she is one Bessy Barnet, poor Badams's servant, the daughter of his old Housemother, who was so orderly and good while I lived in Birmingham; Bessy was then a little wise orderly girl, and has since grown (we are assured) a very superior woman in her way. She consents to go with us with a singular alacrity; and I believe her fidelity, whatever other quality she may have or want, is to be entirely depended upon. This is rather a comfortable thing.

Mrs Austin also wrote to us about a House in London, which seemed expressly built for us: in Kensington (a western suburb, a pleasant place); the rent £32; and everything right about it. But alas there was another Applicant, and our decision was to be sent “by return of post,” otherwise the question would be decided without us: and you know what our “return of post” means. I wrote with all the dispatch possible; but I daresay it would be too late: we have heard nothing more, and know not whether we shall tomorrow. For our own House here no offerers; nor for anything connected with us. We sit quite still, waiting our time.

I wrote all these news and all that had been done in Annandale off to the Doctor, on friday last; unfortunately just two days before his Letter came: I thought it wrong to wait any longer. I purpose to write before very long again.

We were over at Templand, whither Jane had promised to go, from Friday afternoon till Monday last: Mrs Welsh was well enough, and all was very still there. I did little but read a Book I had taken with me, all the time. My going, however, was the cause of one mistake, which I lamented perhaps more than you yourself would: in the hurry of departure that squally day (for we [were] very uncertain about it), I forgot both the Newspapers; and so here they are lying yet, not to go away till tomorrow! I bethought me of them at Dunscore Kirk; but it was too late. Such a thing is to be avoided in future!

I desire much to hear word out of Annandale. Has Austin got a house yet at Annan; or how is that matter standing? I have got no more light than I had when I left you. But the great question is: When are you coming up to tell me everything by word of mouth? Archy Glen is appointed to be here the day after tomorrow, and will go again probably about Saturday: after that the Coast will be perfectly clear. Could not you come up next wednesday, and send me word by Rob that you are waiting? I would come down any day and bring you up: I have some business at any rate. Now, my dear Mother, what say you to this? I wish very heartily you would come, and think you ought to do it? If your poor little Pony were roadworthy, it would be all easy: but I doubt that, and must ask one of the Boys to help you: either Jemmy or Sandy will do it for a word. As for the Pony in regard to your future riding, never mind it; you shall have Harry, who is a known roadster, and he will be very glad of you. But come on Wednesday! At lowest, tell me when you are coming. But I think you will come.

Tell Alick that I wish very much to take counsel with him about a great many things here, and should like well to know when he is coming. The sooner the better news for me.

Jane bids me state the sad news that our meal is just about clean done! We shall need more, of course; a stock more: however about 2 stones would perhaps suit us best at present; and that I could bring up in the Gig when I went for you. Another reason for your coming!

Thus, my dear Mother, have I scribbled your sheet full—of nothing. I know, nevertheless, that you will like it better than nothing. I have a hundred questions to ask you already, and many things to say which writing is too slow for. I pray always that the Great Father may have you in his keeping; which I know you also do for me. May He bless you all with His own blessing!

I remain ever, / My Dear Mother— Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle

Jean has authority to break up this Letter, and read Jack's that is in it. Let her seal this again with wax, and seal it well.— Tell Mary to write, and as fully as she possibly can, if you are not coming.

[JWC's postscript:]

All well here mother not a moment to thank Mary for her letter or to tell you any thing I will likely write next week——

Jane Carlyle.