The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 1 August 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400801-TC-MAC-01; CL 12: 212-213


Chelsea, 1 Augt, 1840—

My dear Mother,

Before setting out on my long-talked-of Excursion I must send you a word! I am to go to the Bullers's place tomorrow; a place near Epsom (the great race-course), some eighteen miles off. I am to ride out, with a Macintosh before my saddle, and a small round trunk, the size of a quartern loaf, fastened behind, and no clothes upon me that bad weather will spoil;—I shall be one of the most original figures! I mean to stay a day or two about Buller's, riding to and fro to see the fine green country; I have written to a Clergyman, an acquaintance of mine on the South Coast, some 40 miles farther off; if he repeat the invitation he once gave me, perhaps I shall ride to him, and see the place where William the Conqueror fought &c,1 and have one dip in the sea: I mean to be out in all about a week. The weather has grown suddenly bright; I calculate the sight of the green Earth, spotted yellow with ripe corn, will do me good. After that I am to part with my horse. The expense of it is a thing I cannot but continually grudge. I think it will suit better henceforth to get rolled out on a railway, some 20 miles, clear of all bricks and reek, to walk there for half a day, now and then, and so come home at night again. The expense of a horse every day here is nearer 4 than 3 shillings,—far too heavy for a little fellow like me, whom even it does not make altogether healthy!2 I have offered to give the beast to Mr Marshall (son of the original donor) who kept her for me last winter; I hope he will accept, on my return: it will be much the handsomest way of ending the concern. If he refuse I think I shall sell.— I meditated long on riding all the way up to Carlisle and you! But in the humour I am in, I had not heart for it. These Southern Coasts too are a still newer part of England for me. I give up the riding northward; but not the coming northward yet, as you shall hear.

My Fourth Lecture was finished three days ago. On returning strong, as I hope to do a week hence, I will attack my two remaining Lectures, and dash them off speedily; the Town will be empty, none to disturb me: about the end of August I may hope to have my hands quite free, and then! Thomas Erskine invites me to Dundee &c; there are steamers, steam coaches: I shall surely see you!—

Alick's good Letter gave me welcome tidings of you. I had read your own dear little epistle before.3 Heaven be praised for your welfare. I am glad to hear of the “peat-shed”; to fig[ure to myself my inv]itation there,4 with the CAULDRON singing under your windows.— I have written to-day to Jack; there had come a Letter from Miss Elliot for him from the Isle of Wight: he once talked of settling there; I know not whether that is still in the wind again. He will have to decide about the Pellipar affair in three weeks or less.

Today I enclose a little half-sovereign: you must accept it merely to buy gooseberries! they are really very wholesome!—I am to go into the City, to send off some money for the Bank at Dumfries. I am in great haste; I will write again directly on my return, if not sooner.

Alick's Letter,5 tell him, was the pleasantest he has sent for many a day. I thank him much for it, and will answer soon. I still owe Jamie a Letter too; he is very patient, but shall be paid. Did you ever go near the sea again? This is beautiful weather for it now. It would do you and little Tom good I think.

Jane still likes the warmth, and salutes you all. Wish me a good journey! It is like to be a very brief and smooth one. Adieu, dear Mother!