The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 12 September 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510912-TC-JAC-01; CL 26: 165-166


Scotsbrig, Fri! 12 Septr, 1851

My dear Brother,—I have got all your Letters, the poor Yankee one, and do Robt-Dixon1 one last, only yesterday; and before your postal week end, I ought to acknowledge all your missives by some kind of return. I went on Tuesday to Dumfries; Rt Calvert and some Cousins were coming here to dine, wherefore Mother and I resolved to abscond: I drove her over to Gill; left her there, and took the train to Dumfries; next day Jean came along with me, as anticipated, to join our Mother; and we all came handsomely home hither a little after sunset. My Mother, who [had]2 been pretty well again before going away, seemed at least to have suffered no damage in body, and in mind of course she was enlivened by the sight of the sunny outer world and the attentions of her Bairns. I never saw nicer weather: clear cold nights, clear as metal; mist in the morning when I walk, which soon brightens into victorious sunshine often almost windless. Crops all fair; except nearly totally the potatoes which are rotting rapidly everywhere, as either the eye or the very nose will teach. Very few of them are on this ground, happily (Oh such hateful paper!—)— Jean is to stay with us till Monday: she is now with my Mother, who, poor feeble old Mother, is again complaining today; and tho' decidedly better than she was a few hours ago still keeps her bed since breakfast “reading Haliburton,“3 or some such work! She is not very ill you may infer; and we all think she will be better tomorrow. Yesterday, till the afternoon, she was particularly well, and had even touches of jocosity in her,—the good old Mother. For example, I found her about to bring up a bucket of coals; I took the bucket and she followed me; on entering she said to Jean [who]4 was ironing: “We ha' gotten a bit boy to carry the coals and the like o' that, ye see!”— — Do not forget to bring a few Irish “Repeal Pipes”5 for her when you come.

Yesterday we had a collision of trains at the Galls station; about 3½ o'clock, goods train getting shunted irregular excursion train dashed itself, (from Carlisle) suddenly into it; both engines broken and various carriages; great many people hurt, none killed: such was Jamie's report, gathered as he passed the place last night from Annan.— Can you tell me the eligible route to Manchester? Not by express; for I have had enough of that,—at least to London or for such lengths of road. I heard from Jane on Tuesday morning; wrote to her from Dumfries; suppose she is now settling with the Alderley people what day we are to come. I rather think it shd be early next week, and that about the end of the week we shd aim towards Chelsea again. I do not sleep here (owing to the inner elements not the outer); nevertheless I have still the feeling that there is a fund of improvement lying unliquidated within me; that perhaps I have not quite lost my water cure after all.— — Grahame was here one day; bored me nearly to death, and yet was so very innocent and good. Poor old soul! Garthwaite is making me clothes. Except Aird, who is busy over Moir's things and well,6 I saw nobody at Dfs.— Enough, dear Brother.— Yours ever affectly T. Carlyle