The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 31 July 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520731-TC-JAC-01; CL 27: 196-197


Linlathen, 31 july, 1852—

My dear Brother,

Here is a small word for Scotsbrig and you, merely to wind up the week, for there has nothing new happened since I wrote to my Mother.

Your Note, refusing E.'s kind invitation, came duly the day after I had written: it was received with due regret by the good Thomas; nevertheless I thought you had made a wise arrangement of the matter, and that it was all best as you had left it. We shall meet soon, we two, if all go well; and at Scotsbrig there will be much freer field for us than any effort of hospitality could here provide.

I had a Letter from Jane the day before yesterday: all was in the old progressive revolutionary state in Cheyne Row,—a fearfully distant date becoming surmiseable for the end of all that:—Jane had not yet fled to Park Street; but as the floor of my room was up, I fancy she will now soon have to do so. Meanwhile, yesterday (Friday) she was to go to Sherburne in Dorsetshire, till the Monday following; for the purpose of visiting poor Mrs Macready; a sad visit as the good Mrs M. is in a very bad way of health, and indeed understood, by herself and friends, to be swiftly sinking towards death. Poor thing, she was one of the most affectionate innocent-hearted clear beings we knew in all our circle. Jane wished to go; and she likewise much wished it. Poor M'C. will be very lonely when this faithful partner leaves him in his old days.

We have had a considerable party here for the last 3 days; Indian Major Oliphants, Mrs Robertson1 &c: who happily are all gone, and have left us quiet again, about half an hour ago. Nothing but queer old antediluvian Scotch German, “a Miss Porteous from Edinr,”2 with a hollow low voice (not heard above once or twice in the day), anxious would-be earnest gray eyes, and lips thrown out like a coach-horn when she does speak a sound: an interesting anti-diluvian specimen, who gives no trouble at all.

On Thursday Erskine and I had settled on a trip to St. Andrews; and two male Oliphants, harmless healthy animals, accompanied us in the adventure. St. Andrews is all changed; new-paved, veneered over with white ashlar; full of a bathing and gallivanting population,—of Bell's Madras Schools (1000 scholars, the “examination” just going on that day), and of quite modern unacademic Berlin-wool shops, omnibuses and distractions. We saw the Ruins, the Colleges, the Library; saw a Professor Alexander (very deaf and dull but very good otherwise), called on Brewster whom happily we did not find;—tell my Mother, I saw Haliburton's grave and Samuel Rutherfords,3 two ancient headstones with long inscriptions, which are kept clear and in a safe painted state beside the old Cathedral:—finally at 5 o'clock we reimbarked in our railway; and got safe home, well enough content, and in tolerable time for dinner. I have no more expeditions that I know; nothing but a walk daily to the seashore for bathing (especially while the tides continue good), and all the morning to myself and my books.

Nothing yet is hinted about departure; but of course my ten days are nearly done, and we must not forget dates. Do you remember Gordon's address?4 I do not mean to stay above a few hours in Edinr, but would see him if he is there.— Tell me specifically what is going on at Scotsbrig; and above all how my Mother is.

Shearing, they say, has begun in the Carse of Gowrie;5 and all hereabouts it will start next week: one of the best crops ever seen.—Give my love to my Mother and them all. Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle