The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 27 July 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410727-TC-MAC-01; CL 13: 199-200


Newby, 27 july, 1841—

My dear Mother,

Before setting out for an evening walk, the only walk I have schemed for myself today, I will write you a little word, to go up with the “woman to Annan.” I would have written to you earlier in the day; but we had not a drop of ink in the house; and had to wait till we went to Annan and bought some!

Wullie, whome1 we met last night just on arriving, would inform you, I hope, that we were all here safe, Jane well, and I very much improved by my drive. It sputtered and rained upon me all the way to the Gill, but without doing me the slightest mischief; I arrived some time before 3 o'clock; Mary fried me my bit of mutton, which made an excellent dinner for me; then Austin came home “from the Moss”;2 had discharged his peats, and was just looking over the world with me, a little, from his stack-yard, when the coach came in sight, and we making all speed towards the Toll-bar found the Goodwife getting out, and all right. Her Letter and Jean's Letter had both gone duly. Mary made us tea, and so about 7 o'clock the journey happily ended.— Your trunk was left, partly by mistake; but on the whole it makes no matter, for there is nothing like a chest of drawers here. Isabella's things were all duly set out; her milk jar yielded excellent coffee-cream this morning; but I think they had put it in an impure bowl, for tonight the rich cup of cream proved all sour, and even the milk sour;—so that we had to wait till “the Woman” ran over to the Farmer's, and there got a supply. We are to have threepence worth a-day from the same place (it is close by), or as much more as we like.

This is a dainty little house; but in wan[t] of several things. We have this day been at Annan buying—a tin kettle, two pairs of 4-penny snuffers, a horse-comb and curry-comb; with a piece of mutton, a small stock of candles,—for last night there was hardly one in the house: in short, we are getting a start made in housekeeping, and shall do bravely straightway.— Our good Alick's Gift stood all ranked in the press. I am really vexed that he should go to such expense, yet much touched by his affection, poor fellow: Jane drew one of her bottles of Sherry today, and found it right generous liquid: I supped on the brandy last night, and got a very wholesome refection from it. I slept very sound till half past five or later; tonight I expect to be still better off, for all day I have felt much healthier, and mean to do myself good still by a walk. It is the quietest place, this, I ever in my life was in, at present. Nothing heard or seen all day but the grey morning sea;—solitary (for the rough wind keeps all people at home) as if we were on the coast of New Zealand. We shall do very well, I believe.

But the best news, dear Mother, is that we propose driving up to you on Friday first. We will come to Tea (if the day is not bad), may perhaps arrive long before tea, but shall need no dinner (and will have none, remember!); then drive off again in good time:—all this if the weather be good. If not good, then the engagement stands for next day. But we are to see Jamie on Thursday, are we not? Tell him our dinner-hour is 4 o'clock, and that he ought to be smart and punctual!

There will be excellent bathing here about Monday or earlier; the whole of this garret room where I now write is vacant absolutely: either you or else Isabella and Tom must get ready to come down forthwith,—that the thing be not thrown away. This is fixed.

Enough dear Mother, the Light is gone. Good night to one and all of you.

Ever your affectionate /

T. Carlyle