The Collected Letters, Volume 11


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 26 June 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18390626-TC-MAC-01; CL 11: 144-146


Chelsea, 26th June, 1839

My dear Mother,

We are decidedly packing up now, with intent to set out Northward in the beginning of next week! I write you this, if even nothing else; because I know it will give you great pleasure, and put an end to uncomfortable guessings. The weather has never yet been at all disagreeably hot; copious showers have always cooled us down: excellent weather for all kinds of growth here. However, we do now go: Jane is packing and sorting (with a bad headache today, poor dame, tho' otherwise generally very well); all is to be secured, fast bolted and nailed, the valuables sent to the Sterlings's even,—for she is an accurate woman!

We go first to Liverpool, most likely by the railway, and in the night, if the weather threaten heat. We shall have to stay, and speak a little with the Liverpool friends; but after that, we propose making direct for Annandale: so Jamie can fetch the Gig Alick talked of, and prepare to meet us at the Annan shore if all go right. Our maid, I suppose may travel on towards Templand; but Jane and I ought to make up towards Scotsbrig, and hover with you a little before following her thither. You need not trouble yourselves much; I think, if the bed where Jack slept last year were made ready, that would be all the preparation needed. We are bad sleepers; and have no other difficulty.— But you will hear more minutely when we get to Liverpool: some time next week, it is likeliest. I will keep the Examiner here till the night before we are to set out; that will be a sign for you, dear Mother, if you attend to it. Then, in some two days more, if we prosper, some Newspaper from Liverpool may indicate that we are there; or a Letter direct will do it more decisively. But do not weary for the Examiner till it do come;—or think that anything has gone wrong because it does not! If anything more than a day or two of delay before setting out be found necessary, I will send you some other Newspaper as a token that it is delay merely, that all is right otherwise; and then the Examiner will come by and by.

I got my horse, two days after writing to you about it; I have it lodged in a Stable-keeper's near this, and have ridden it every day since except one. A beautiful black quadruped, in perfect condition, training and equipment: truly I might have felt myself set up,—and yet I felt nothing of the sort, nothing but confusion and anxiety; with a great joy too at getting out into the green solitudes hereabouts, which are beautiful to escape into, out of the city whirlpool. The riding seemed to do me ill for two or three days; brought out headaches, rheumatisms &c; however, I persevered with confidence, and do find myself now much better, more like a sound man than I have been for a long while. The son of Mr Marshall,1 who has a farm some twenty miles off, is to ride the horse away thither, on friday or saturday next, and keep it there till my return; so that I have but some two days more of the business now, and by the time you read this you must fancy me done with my riding till I mount at Scotsbrig again. It has given me great pleasure in itself, this kind act of the worthy Mr Marshall's in making me such a present.

Our Printing and other affairs go on without material change of aspect. The American Books, first part, are got to Fraser's I should think, today; Fraser was very clever and punctual in getting them thro' the Custom house, and saved me some £14 of hard cash there by his own industry. My “Article” is still greatly in the background, but I must fasten on it heartily when once in Scotland.

And so, Bairns, we are very glad at the near prospect of seeing you all once more! Let us all be thankful for that, and reckon it among the blessings vouchsafed us amid all our trials. Best affection to one and all. Farewell, dear Mother,—we hope not for long this time!— Your ever affectionate

T. Carlyle

That Note for James Aitken2 is about ready-cash to be received by him for me at Dumfries. If he have it safe on Wednesday, it will be as soon as needed. Perhaps you will seal up the whole concern, this letter of your own too, and send it to him?

Jenny we hope is still with you, and well. Mary shall give us tea at Annan as we pass. Our address while in Liverpool, if it should chance that we could do anything for any of you will be: “Care of John Welsh Esq, 3 Maryland Street.”

It has been thunder and rain; and promises to be a bright afternoon for a horseman: the ground here can never get enough of wet; it is all sandy, like a filter or sieve, and is flying about as dust in few hours after its muddiest state. With rain enough it is the greenest country I ever saw.— Enough now!