April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO JANET CARLYLE HANNING; 18 August 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490818-TC-JCHA-01; CL 24: 201-203


SCOTSBRIG, 18 August, 1849.

DEAR SISTER JENNY,—Here is a Draft for your money, which you will get by presenting that Paper at the Bank, when the Martinmas Term comes;1 I wish you much health and good industrious days till the 22nd comes round again; and have done nothing more gladly, I may say, in the payment line than write this little paper for you, ever since the last was written, I think. It gave me very great pleasure to see your neat little Lodging and thrifty, modest, and wise way of life, when we were in Dumfries the other day. The reports of all friends agree in testifying to the same effect. Continue so, my good little sister, and fear nothing that can befall. Our outward fortune, lucky or what is called unlucky, we cannot command; but we can command our own behaviour under it, and we do either wisely or else not wisely; and that, in real truth, makes all the difference,—and does in reality stamp us as either “lucky” or else “unlucky.” For there is nobody but he that acts foolishly and wrong that can, in the end, be called “unlucky”; he that acts wisely and right is, before all mortals, to be accounted “lucky”; he and no other than he. So toil honestly along, my dear little Jenny, even as heretofore; and keep up your heart. An elder brother's duty to you, I trust I may promise, you shall never stand in want of while I live in this world.

Take the next Courier (which Jean will give you for the purpose) and address it in your own hand to me: “Care of John Fergus, M.P. etc., Kirkcaldy,”—or in fact if James Aitken write that, it will be all the same,—and I shall need no other sign that you have received this Note and Inclosure safe. You can tell James to send only one Courier that way; but to direct the other to Scotsbrig till further notice.

Our Mother and I got well home on Thursday; the thunder-showers hung and fell heavy on all hands of us; but we escaped with little damage from them,—got no rain at all till we were on the top of Dodbeck (or rather Daneby) Banks; which rain was never violent upon us, and had as good as ended altogether by the time we reached the old Gildha Road.2 Our Mother's new bonnet, or any of her clothes, suffered nothing whatever. There had been great rains here and all the way; the fields all running brooks, and the road-conduits hardly able to contain the loads they had. It was a good deal clearer yesterday; yet, in the evening, we had again a touch of rain, which I saw was very heavy over in Cumberland. To-day is a degree brisker still, tho' with remnants of thunder-clouds still hanging, so we fancy the “Flood” is about terminating, and the broken weather going to heal itself again. Jamie has some cattle rather suffering by the “epidemic,” which, in the last year, has destroyed several; his bog-hay, too, is of course much wetted; but he is otherwise getting briskly enough along. You are to tell James Aitken that there is “an excellent spigot” here already for the water-barrel, so that he need take no farther heed of that, at least, till he hear again.

I could not quite handily get packed (owing to Garthwaites tailoring) for this day; so I put it off till Monday; and am fixed for that morning (10 A.M.) to be in Edinburgh about one o'clock and over in Kirkcaldy in good time, where Jane, as I conclude, is arrived since yesterday and expects me against the given time. Give my kindest remembrances in Assembly Street;3 what our further movements from Kirkcaldy are to be, Jean or some of you will hear in due time. No more at present, dear Sister, with many blessings to you all.

Ever your Affectionate Brother, / T. CARLYLE.