January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 15 March 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18310315-TC-MAC-01; CL 5:246-248.


Craigenputtoch, Tuesday Night / 15th March [1831]—

My Dear Mother,

Jane would explain to you last week how I fully purposed to write, and could not get it accomplished. She says, her Letter was excessively hurried, owing to Alick's having failed in his appointment to meet her at Shaw's: she expected that he also would have sent you some news; however, it appears he did not. I now scrawl a few lines to say how matters stand.

With regard to Alick, you will have learned already that he is to lose his establishment here, the whole matter having been settled without advice of ours being asked: and as for the Annan Mill, there could be nothing learned about it last Wednesday, and we only expect that it will be decided tomorrow. I leave this Letter unsealed that Alick may tell you himself (at Dumfries) how it goes. We hope and pray earnestly here that he may get it; in which case I shall calculate that for him his leaving these Dunscore moors may prove a real blessing. He himself seems not to be so very anxious, and has also good hope.

Thus you see, My Dear Mother, our little colony here is to be scattered asunder; it has again been decreed that we are not to live longer together. With the way in which this has been managed I cannot profess myself much charmed: however, in itself perhaps the arrangement may turn out for the good of all parties. Alick at least, I am convinced, will be far happier somewhere in his own district than he has ever been here: I reckon that in this Mill he were likely every way to do well; but indeed almost anywhere a situation equal to that of a Moorland Grazier may be met with, for in this, as matters go, there is hardly any prospering, unless you either have great capital, or little honesty, and can without reluctance become bankrupt.— As for my little Wife and me, who are to be left alone here, we shall do the best we may; and care not tho' Craigenputtoch were washed away into the sea-bottom; from which I think it is little matter if it had never risen. Of our new Neighbour we know nothing or next to nothing; and mean only to rail up all Marches betwixt us, clap a lock on each door; and so let every tub stand separate on its own bottom. Nay, it often strikes us as if we should not be very long here; as if in fact, I ought not to lie so buried in these times. We shall be on the outlook, and do if possible what is best and wisest.— I am very happy to think that Alick leaves this place without blot or fault, and as I think, a better man than he came. Both he and I have had various things to try us, and might easily have made a burble [tangle] of it, but have not done so.

Meanwhile you will rejoice to learn, my dear Mother, that I am actually working with all diligence at that same Book I have talked so long about! Ask no account of it, for it is indescribable: however, I think it may do, and be not altogether unworthy of doing. I mean to finish it, and much more, if strength be lent me, this summer; and try London with it in the beginning of Winter. The thing I was sending with Alick (last time he saw you) was a long Paper on some German business for a new Review (I mean new to me) in London; the Editor whom I reckon a worthy man, writes me that it is to be printed; and signifies plainly enough that he ‘desires my acqwantance’ [sic]. For money matters, therefore, I shall be partly at rest for some time. I have a busy summer before me, and no unhappy one: the iron is on the stithy and hot, if I can only hammer it.

From Jack we expected to hear last Saturday but did not, most probably the letter is lying at Dumfries.1 I see by the Newspaper Advertisement that the Magazine people have printed all my stuff; so that he will be in no immediate want of money. I told him that, if possible, I would see him in the beginning of winter: we shall then thoroughly understand what his outlook is. Has Jean written to him yet? I told him I had sent [the rest of the letter has been lost].