The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 3 February 1828; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18280203-TC-MAC-01; CL 4:321-323.


21. Comley Bank, Saturday Night [3 February 1828]—

My Dear Mother,

I have just got a Frank for the poor Bonnet-woman, at Myer,1 to tell the honest housewife news of her Bonnet; and I think I may as well throw you a word or two at the same time, tho' I have nothing new or old of the slightest consequence to say to you. Honest Janet Graham, however, has got a prize of five pounds for her Bonnet; and will not grudge carrying this note over to you.

I have been stirring all things to the right and left in this matter of St. Andrews: I sent off my certificates three days ago, and expect some kind of word that they have arrived in safety about Monday; tho' nothing definite can be known about the matter of the Election for perhaps many weeks. I think, I may flatter myself with having the best testimonials that any man will show here, or has shown in such a case for a series of years. I have been recommended by Leslie, Wilson, Dr Irving &c, men of the most opposite parties and opinions, yet all testifying warmly in my favour; and Jeffrey writes me such a certificate as I could hardly have composed for myself had a blank sheet been laid before me with instructions to fill it in my own praise. The Newspapers also, I know not well how, are talking about me, and my bits of Articles in Reviews: this at the present time may have its uses.

On the whole, I am not without expectation of being elected: unless some old-established Stipend-lifter or other come in by a backdoor, and forestall me, every one seems to think that my chance is fair. For myself I have all along professed, and do still profess, to care next to nothing about the issue, be it what it might. I have done all I could to help myself; and the rest—must be left to a higher guidance. I am going to drive the whole thing out of my head, and begin writing my two Papers, which, I am sorry to say, are still in an altogether rude condition. If these were done, I intend to start for Nithsdale and Annandale!

I wrote, the day before yesterday, to Jack; it will be a fortnight before the sheet see Munich. The Baron's Books &c are not provided; but must be attended to forthwith.

Today I got a large unwieldy Letter sealed in black; inviting me to attend the funeral of Willie Carlyle's wife tomorrow. So the poor soul is dead! And he himself seems in no enviable case. I will surely go. He talks in a down-stricken manner about “what it has pleased the Lord to lay upon him,” &c &c.

I hope my Father is recovered completely, and overlooking the ploughing concerns, and all proceeding as it ought to do. Will not Mag or Jamie write me a line? But here is Jean, with her pen in readiness; I must give her a line or two:

[Postscript by Jane Carlyle (TC's sister):]

My dear mother.

There hath been nothing particular going on since you heard from us; but I know by experiance that letters never come wrong to home, from Comley Bank be they never such shadows. I wish much to hear from Scotsbrig; tell Mag to write fearing no one and tell us all that is going on black and white. I hope you are no worse for your journey which I am sorry to hear was in the end, coarse enough; was all well at Hewic[k] [Hawick].

What is Mag and Jen[n]y [doin]g[?] they must give an account of them selves; tell Jen[n]y to take my copy of Paul & Virginia as her her own and read it faithfully to Mag I find it better than any school I will write them both by the first chance for my space is done here; give my best love to my father and Jamie. how are they getting on with the plowing and how ar[e] the servants like to do. No more room my dear Mother

Yours /