January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


JWC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 15 December 1829; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18291215-JWC-MAC-01; CL 5:38-40.


[15 December 1829]

My dear Motherinlaw

We have got a fall of snow here which I would not walk in, at the rate of a guinea a mile; and nevertheless Jane is clear for being off tomorrow morning; having a firm conviction that Scotsbrig cannot stand, should she stay away another week. But we will not suffer her to run such a risk; as if she failed to lose herself in the snow, she would certainly catch cold. So you must not blame her, for it is no fault of hers that she has not kept her word with you. Next week we expect will be better weather for travelling—and even if she should be snowed in here for a longer time; you will consider it is long since she had any vacation.

If it were a little warmer and the days a little longer, I would fetch her home my self: but I shall be with you before long, some day when you are not looking for me. I find it is my best plan to come alone, or with some of the womankind. Carlyle never dreams of asking me to go with him, never even looks as if he desired my company.

He is over head and ears in business to night—writing letters to all the four winds—there is a box to be despatched for Goethe—containing all manner of curiosities—the most precious of which is a lock of my hair!! there is also a smart Highland bonnet for his daughter-inlaw—accompanied by a nice little verse of poetry professing to be written by me but in truth I did not write a word of it—

Scotland prides her in the “bonnet blue,”
That it brooks no stain in love or war;
Be it on Ottilie's head a token true
Of my Scot[t]ish love to kind Weimar.1

No word from the Dr2 yet—we hope to get a letter tomorrow.

— I am dreadfully hurried, or rather dreadfully confused with other peoples hurry—so you must excuse this scrawl which will have served its purpose if it keeps you from be[ing] anxious about Jane.

We like Elliot3 very well as yet. Nancy tells me “he has a great word to gee [give] o' the mistress at Scotsbrig.”

Ever affectionately yours /

Jane W Carlyle

My kind regards to all the rest.


Goethe's Letter in reply to all this is still safe here, cd I but find it.4

The ‘Elliot’ is our new (indeed first) man-servt,—an ingenious jack-of-all-work, known at Scotsbrig before.

The Maid ‘Nancy’5 from Dumfries,—privately called “Piggie” now and then (as Jeffrey called his Wife's Lapdog),—was curious; happy, smiling, rather good tho' draggly. One morning while I breakfasted alone, her Mistress being ill, she said to me, “Fixie” (Pig Fixlein) “'s no weel the day, either!”—