July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 12 September 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470912-TC-JAC-01; CL 22: 64-65


Scotsbrig, Sunday, 12 Septr 1847—

My dear Brother,

I was to write to Jane today; but not yet knowing whether she has actually reached Chelsea, I may as well address myself to you, to whom I owe some kind of note at any rate: you can step down to Chelsea, and communicate if there be anybody there. Jane had a slight word from me yesterday to say that I was arrived and safe, and all well here.

At Manchester, which I reached last Monday afternoon, no creature could inform me as to the Carlisle and Beattock trains; and indeed I found it was for a very good reason,—that, in spite of the Newspapers, there were no trains yet running! I had to go therefore on venture; went on Thursday by the evening mail train to Carlisle, did the remainder in the Glasgow Mail, and leaving my baggage in the Coach-stable at Ecclefn about the hour of midnight, finished my dark pilgrimage on foot under my umbrella, and roused the people here! Poor old Middlebie, poor old native Annandale in general, looked impressive enough, all asleep, in the dead wet silence. I tumbled into bed; and awoke at 9 next morning, just as Jamie's man had got my luggage home; my good old Mother, who had not heard me the night before, stood waiting with her welcome. She is not worse than usual; she is a little better rather; and looks as well, and has as much strength and spirit as I had any reason to expect.

Ever since I have remained abundantly stationary; not walking in all three miles yet, I think, tho' the weather has occasionally been quite bright and inviting. I find this room (the East one) greatly improved by your means; yesternight, in very unfavourable wind and rain, I knocked up your smoke-slider, and found it act almost perfectly, indeed altogether well,—thanks with both hands, to General Wade!1 Jamie is very busy with his harvest; six ricks safely in, three days more to cut with his scythes; and a crop much weightier than he expected before actually entering on it. The weather has been eminently good, for Annandale, and still continues good or hopeful. I have seen nobody here, and done nothing; have therefore no detail of news to give you. Poor unfortunate Mary Carlyle (Harkness) had died, about six hours before my arrival in Ecclefechan; was lying a pale corpse there as I looked out upon it from the Coach-window, had I known what was within it! Here2 illness, or special illness had been of some three weeks, nobody here had heard of it, nor was the end expected till it came. Jamie went to the funeral yesterday afternoon. They were very poor; poor Mary's life was every way a thing which it could be little loss to quit; but life is sweet to all: the poor Husband, lying sick at present, looked over the window, Jamie says, in nightcap and plaid, and “grat [wept].” Eheu!

Grahame, I hear, is building his house, and in joyful health and humour; a quite changed man.3 Waugh was seen lately in quite dilapidated state.4— My Mother sits reading at my back, in this East room she rejoices much at your Dante, trusts confidently to have you here directly after I am gone; which will be soon, I believe, or should be soon. Jenny is well; sleeps with her children in the outer room. All salute you. Adieu, dear Brother, T.C.