January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO [JOHN A. CARLYLE] ; 7 June 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590607-TC-JAC-01; CL 35: 106-107


[7? June 1859]

in the Country. The first scheme was towards Bourne Mouth1 (a place you perhaps know), nor has that yet been quite condemned; nay I think of going to look and examine there, from “Friday to Monday” next, an extremely “cheap train” offering inducements.2 Jane says she will herself go, if I don't!—We shall then say Yes or No to Bournth: & there will remain the Scotch eligibilities to be tested.

Jane does not like the idea of Nithsdale at all (so many half-acquaintances &c &c); and I must not rashly contradict her notions (even if I had difft ones) in the present state of matters. There was never any finis abt Bonshaw, abt Annandale generally?3—In the meanwhile some Miss Liddel4 or other set Jane thinking about a “Farm House with Lodgings,”5 where Lord Somebody6 lived one summer,—close by the sea some 4 or 3 miles from Auchtertool;—whh looked, and still looks, rather seductive. Maggy7 has been giving acct of it,—of it, and of some Furnished Mansion8 close by the Manse, “whh is not to let now, but can be had” (I do not well understand how),—in considerable disrepair, as to furniture, I guess. My notion about the whole matter is very dim; and perhaps you, if you have a day of leisure, cd throw light on it to me,—going over to Auchtertool, looking pointedly into everything with your own eyes, and reporting upon it candidly. The Farm House and its capabilities seems to be the really promising matter: if the essentials there were satisfactory, little Charlotte (who is an excellt clever little creature, & looks well after Jane) cd cook, clean &c to the wholesomest perfection; and with my Horse there (whh I shd bring up in a steamer, and certain Books), and a little pony or ass for Jane (or a Bath-chair, if there be roads, and be a procurable man to draw it); with these and other attainable &c we shd probably get a great deal of good of the Forth Sea-water and fine sea-sands and pure air, in summer weather and on country diet. In case you should be able to go (whh I have no right to expect either) I will ask you to take an approximation to a foot-rule with you (stick notched to the length of a yard, for instance), and to tell approximately what the dimensions of the several rooms are,—height, length, breadth,—what kind of furniture, what &c &c; above all what kind of people. Whether they wd take Care of one's Horse; furnish unexceptionable farm-produce (butter, eggs, fowls, milk), and be reasonable to live with. I mean my Horse to fill his insatiable belly with grass (nothing can equal his appetite for it just now), and I wd give him 2 feeds of Corn per day,—to keep him in heart (better than he has been for years past, till quite lately) is a most essential matter to me. If in luck, I am to start printing9 on my return hither; and ought to be in a far other state of health than has been constant with me since I last left The Gill!— Jane wd need to negociate too about some Pony, Bath-Chair, Ass, or means of moving, as above-said; having almost no strength at all to walk. But that of course cd not be difficult to settle in any such place.— The delicacies of sleeping, question of cocks &c &c, all these and other such points you are alive to, without hint needed. In short, exercise your judgement and your eyes; and say what result they yield. I have been interrupted; “dinner ready,” then “ ’oss ready”; and have missed the afternoon's post. It is now night 10 p. m.— Jane, at dinner, read to me a new Letter of her Cousin Maggie's which gives a much more precise account of matters. So that, if it should be inconvenient to you, do not mind this Commission at all: most likely I shall have to come down myself, and take my luck of the thing, in case we reject Bne Mouth,—as is likely enough: “too hot,” people tell us. Ah me, ah me. Henry Watt10 has just been here: brisk and well. I am glad you got good news from Woolwich.11— Yours ever T. Carlyle