The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 4 August 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410804-TC-JCA-01; CL 13: 209-210


Newby, Annan 4 Augt / 1841

Dear Jean,

Very probably a small word to you today will be worth a penny.

I received my Dame out of your hands at Flosh Bar, as appointed, and after a mouthful of Tea at Gill, came over hither […]1 am back again into my usual state of health; my Mother is here since Monday, very well, and bathing daily: all the rest right except poor Jane only who fares very indifferently here. She slept badly, or hardly at all (as last night), lay one whole day in bed, &c. She begins to consider that it is the breakdown after her journey; she having never till now got leave fairly to be at rest, and to break down. One thing was specially unlucky: she resolutely ventured out one of our first days into the tide here […] all suddenly took “the cow-sickness” &c &c; Isabella could not try it till next week.

You, I think, said you could not honour us with a visit at all; which seems to me a kind of pity. In this room our Mother and you with the child2 might have done, or might still do, very well; and the bathing here, possible at all times, is very good when any tide is in.

We have tried the place for some nine or ten days now; and find it indeed very savage, no provision made for the wants of civilized man,—not a drop of milk to be had, for one thing;—but still an inhabitable place; and to me with its Gypsey life very solacing and wholesome. Our Gig nag has fallen utterly lame! His hoofs, not his shoes only, one of his hoofs had been unwell that day at Dumfries: the smith has now scraped out a large mass of suppuration from under the sole, and so the beast walks at large at Gill, shod for the present only with leather. We have a little shelty of Alick's, which at any rate is fully as handy.— We have to drive up to the Gill for a can of new milk occasionally, and Mary occasionally sends down one with her eldest Lassie:3 there is no other way of not going milkless here!—they seem to me to be doing very well at Gill; and will be comfortabler than most people if they had their new house up, and the game fairly begun, we can hope.

Here is the Dr's last Letter. My Mother does not know I am writing to you, nor Jamie; else perhaps they would have messages! Adieu dear Sister. Commend me to James, to the two Jameses. Yours ever,

T. Carlyle

We were at Scotsbrig, and saw Jenny there, on Friday; she is quite well, seemed cheerful enough; but I suppose Rob's true destiny is yet undetermined. Some ugly work, I doubt, lies ripening there. Silence of it, in the meanwhile!—