The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 18 July 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410718-TC-JAC-01; CL 13: 187-188


Scotsbrig, 18 July, 1841.

My dear Brother,

I owe you a few words this morning, before the people go off to the Preaching: there is but half an hour to work on, they tell me; wherefore I must be brief.

… Our dear Mother is very brisk and active here; makes me breakfast, and bustles about, with great alacrity; fully as well as one could expect at her years. The weather till two days ago has been continally showery; my mackintosh and white hat are valuable, an independent panoply against such evils: nay an occasional wetting is worth enduring for a sight now and then of the great elemental rain-laboratory, shower answering to shower, all rivers, brooks and seas from Tyndal Fell and the streams of Northumberland onward to St. Bees Head and the edge of Ayrshire,—all playing with one another:

Criffel his cap hath got

And Skiddaw wots full weel of that!1

However we have now dry times, and today is one of the noblest of summer days. Old Jamie Ritchie was hounding his cattle when I went out at eight o'clock to smoke my pipe at the house-end; poor old Ritchie, near 90 years of age, “thy servant's business still about cattle,”2 rejoicing still to see with his old eyes the young foals of this year frisking in the summer sun. The day before yesterday I rode (on a rough kind of Shelty) round by the Gair, Springkell and Langshaw.3 The world is all green as an emerald, a beautiful promise ligible4 on the old Earth. The authentic rusticity of everything is good; the silence of everything especially is what I hardly dare believe in,—till I reflect that in very deed it is silent, and there will be no noise of Cockneys, but the fields all belong to the grasshoppers and me. Yesterday I blackened our Mother's Peathouse with an effectual coat of coaltar! She had provided the liquid, good provident woman, but could get nobody to put it on; nobody understood it: Jamie and I with an old firebrush soon smeared it on, to the wonder of all! …

Alick and Jenny5 drove off on a jaunt to Dumfries on the Fast-day6 last week;—the one clear holiday they have in the year … They have given me two half hours, or I should never have got so far! Here they are now however.— Where Jane is today I can only guess. At Liverpool most probably. May be here perhaps on Tuesday or so Adieu. Here is Mother with a candle; with many “kind regards and loves to you.”

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle.