January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE ; 14 April 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420414-TC-JWC-01; CL 14: 145-146


Crawford, Thursday 14 April, 1842—

My Dearest,—Unless I can reach Thornhill before 8 o'clock (which is doubtful) and throw this in there, you will get nothing from me till Monday; an interval of two days.

About nine this morning I came off: your Letter met me on the brae; I had finished Harriet's too before they got the gig across the Burn. A cold bitter Northwind blew right in my face all the way hither; it is now changed to the South with rain,—ready to meet me the other way. But I have my Mackintosh.

I have spent two hours on the place: all is composed there into decent regularity, and lies overlooked by the old wilderness as in everlasting rest. I have copied the Inscription lineatim;1 I thought you would like to see it that way too. I also copied your Grandfather's memorial; evidently composed by her. The man has cut the letters deep, correct and very well,—excellently well as lettering goes in this quarter: one or two mistakes of points (one especially affecting the sense, to a grammarian) I could not bear to leave; I went to the nearest farm-house (close by), borrowed a chisel and hammer, and succeeded in making it all correct. The stone stands level, firm, raised by six pillarets upon-another which is flat, horizontal, and level with the ground: Grandfather and Grandmother, and then a Great Grandmother (I think; of date 1737) lie successively farther to the south. One Ewe and her little blackfaced lamb were the only living things visible about the spot. The Clyde rolled by, its everlasting course; the Northwind was moaning thro' some score of trees that stand on the opposite side of the Gottes-Acker [God's Acre] (what a name, a right name!)2—the old Hills rise mournful, desolate, pure and strong all round;—I could see Castlemains from the spot.— I had also passed Glengeith, where your Grandmother nighted (with her, among the rest) on the way to Caplegill: I think the old house is still standing.3

Adieu. I have much to do when I get home yet.— The packing was all well effected; and five mats left. The chairs (which I think are still not unlikely to come) will of course need more.

You must address, next, to Scotsbrig. I believe I shall hardly get much sleep or composure till I arrive there.

Adieu, my dear Wife. Write a word so soon as you get this at any rate.— Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle