January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE THE ELDER; 4 May 1830; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18300504-TC-JCE-01; CL 5:99-100.


Craigenputtoch, 4th May, 1830—

My Dear Father,

Mary is going down tomorrow, and will tell you all our news, more at large than I could do here. However, I write a hurried line, were it only to signify under hand and seal that I am still living, and anxious to hear that you are prospering.

Sandy tells me that you were to pay Robison for that Cart, either at Annan or at Lockerby: I fancy it will be about ten pounds. I learned also the other day that you had never received a penny of payment for that meal, and other etceteras; whereat, as Edward Irving says, ‘our mind was staggered not a little.’ I believe we might raise cash here to clear off all these scores: but, as matters are like to stand for a week or two, it would leave us rather bare. Alick has some three Pounds of mine which he says he can give me; here is another five-pounds, which makes eight; wherewith perhaps, Robison's demand may be stilled a little; and the other arrears shall be brought up, if I keep health, in the course of a little time. I am happy that except some trifle to his Majesty (for taxes) I owe nothing to any man but my own Father.

Mary will leave word that the lad or man Bretton may come up when he likes, and bear a hand at peat-casting and so forth. We are rather sorry to part with Elliott, who seems a very innocent handy kind of body, and might have done quite well here, had he possessed proper Philosophy. I gave him a word of admonition, the other day; and he has worked like a lion ever since. If Bretton do as well, I shall never object to him; seeing, perfection either in man or master lies so very far from our hand as in this world we find it do.

I grieved, for my Mother that wild day; yet, I am told, she got pretty well home. I hope, both she and you are feeling the influence of this fine weather, which is making the whole world smile; and are enjoying more health than when I saw you. A little stirring about, and no hard working, is the recipe for both.

You and Mag, especially you, are the greater strangers here now. Were the crop once in, would it not be easy for you to yoke a cart, and show face here? Nay we would gladly send the man, and the long-legged beast for you, and take you back that way also. Think seriously of this. Mag at least, who is by profession, a traveller (to public markets), and well respected here and everywhere, could have no objection.

Perhaps I shall be down myself to see you, one of these weeks. I am writing furiously; and shall have done with a volume (a dud, I fear it will prove) in some ten days, or a fortnight.— We heard from Jack last when Alick came up; but got a Newspaper from him last Wednesday. He will get a Letter of mine tomorrow, and most likely we shall soon hear again. I do not see his medical course quite clearly in London; but he may readily support himself there by other means; and that will do wonders for him. He is a solid well-built man, body and mind; only very ill to harness. I prophecy considerable things of him.— Now the paper is done, and I must bid you all good night. Every good be with you! The great Father have us all his in keeping! Your Affe Son,

T. Carlyle