January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


JWC TO JEAN CARLYLE; July 1829; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18290700-JWC-JCA-01; CL 5:18-19.


[Craigenputtoch, July 1829]

My dear Jane

You will herewith receive a pair of neat little bootikins; which tho somewhat decayed may still be of use to you; if they are too small for yourself perhaps they will fit Jenny,1 who I am grieved to hear has been ailing lately. However I hope she as well as Mag is continuing to recover. Thank the latter for her note. You must also thank your Mother in the kindest manner for all the creature comforts she sent along with it[.] The bacon ham I purpose cutting up on my birthday when my Mother and perhaps Miss Stodart is to dine here. All my drawers are perfumed with your woodruff2 which brings me in mind of you every time I open them. I drew the pattern on your collar and Mag finished it— And when I was at Templand last week I presented it to my Mother with as pretty a speech as you could have wished. I assure [you] she seemed greatly delighted with your remembrance over her—and charged me to tell you so and much more which you mu[st] take for granted as I have not time at present to detail it all. For I am going to Dumfries tomorrow and [have] a great many small matters to arrange.

I send a little parcel for your Mother which I hope she will accept in her choicest mood.3 Tell her with my kind regards and a kiss that it was my wedding veil—which will give it more value in her eyes than one of more worth[.] When are you coming? It is your turn next. Jemmy will tell you all about us— God bless [you.]

Ever affectionately Yours /

Jane Welsh Carlyle


From the allusion to my poor Sister Margt and her “recovery” (whh lasted only till next spring) I find the year is 1829; ‘birthday’ brings us to early july of that year. Whether ‘Miss Stoddart’4 (old Mr Bradfute's Niece, subsequtly “Revd Mrs Aitken of Minto”) came to dinner I have no recollectn. But I do well remember, one beautiful summer evg soon after that date, as I lounged out of doors, smoking my evg pipe, silent in the great silence, the woods and hilltops all gilt with the flaming splendour of a summer sun just abt to set,—there came a rustle, and a sound of hoofs, into the little bending Avenue on my left (sun was behind the House and me); and the minute after, Brr John and Margt, direct from Scotsbrig, fresh and handsome on their little horses, ambled up; one of the gladdest sights and surprises to me. John had found a Letter from Goethe5 for me at the Post-Office Dumfries: this, having sent them in-doors, I read in my old posture and place; pure white the fine big sheet itself, still purer the noble meaning, all in it as if mutely pointing to Eternity.—Letter fit to be read in such a place and time. Our dear “Mag” staid some couple of weeks or more (made me a nice buff-coloured cotton waistct, I remember); she was quietly cheerful, and complained of nothing; but my Darling with her quick eye, had noticed too well (as she then whispered to me) that the “recovery” was only superficial, and that worse might lie ahead. It was the last visit Margt ever made.