January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE; 24 August 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18310824-JWC-TC-01; CL 5:359-361.


Dumfries—Mrs Beck's / Wednesday in the midst of noise / and discomfort [24 August 1831]

My dear dear Love

I have been ‘so vexed and unwilling to wait’—the Barbarian of a Carrier did not call on Saturday—I set off to Nether Craigenputtoch on Sunday—so soon as I thought the people would be come—walked at such speed that Isabella could not at all keep up with me and sat down on a stone by the wayside—arrived breathless at the door to hear Miss Corson simper forth there were no letters—and came home again with my heart so sick as I cannot describe—I was sure that something must be wrong; for you never make even half a promise without keeping it wholly— To be sure I might have supposed that the Carrier simply had not called; but who has their wits in such circumstances— I would have been off by daybreak I believe on Monday morning to have seen into it, had Harry been road worthy—but his sides are still sore—and Alick was leading hay—and so I must wait—wait— This morning however I started at six—was at the post office before the London mail got first the Saturday's letter—and an hour after the other and am now as happy as one can be in Dumfries amidst a plash of rain—and the prospect of retching all the way home— God bless you my darling for your kind long letters they are unspeakably precious to me—and you are unspeakably precious to me— and I should like to tell you so at leisure

I should have had a long letter ready for you to day—but I could not settle myself to write till I knew why you had not written—so you must be content with this scrawl just to keep you easy—till I have time to collect myself and deliberate on all the wonderful things you tell me—let it but be ascertained that it is proper for me to come—and fear not but I shall accomplish the journey and all the rest of it, with the greatest ease—

If we are to be in London in winter it were as well I think that you did not return for all the time—but I must consider calmly on all sides as well as the pleasant one—

Isabella came down with us today in expectation of getting a chance home in which case I shall be quite alone tomorrow— Alick and Jenny go to Scotsbrig— He speaks of returning the end of next week to shear [reap] his patch of corn—he will bring Jane or little Jenny with him if possible—if not he can lodge with us and I have promised to bind for him— The elder Jenny1 will be more a riddance than a loss—she has been quite unsufferable of late with jealousy of her husband—whether with Isabella or me or both I cannot say—but last night that I cut Alick's hair and Isabella sat looking on; she was nearly beside herself—cried till bed time and broke out on me with a bur[s]t of impertinence that filled me with weender and amazement2—poor Alick! I am wae for him—I was vexed after my letter was gone that I told you about the mischance at Templand—but it was uppermost in my head at the time He had been buying cattle that day and I suppose under a necessity to get drunk— I never allude to it to himself nor he to me— I understand Jemmy to be in town to day but have not seen him yet

Who think you preach for Bryden last Sunday but little ‘Chrayst’[.]3 He sent his compliments with William Corson4 but had not time to come up— He is tutor with Stodart of Kergin5 at present— I heard from my Aunts of a gentleman in Dumfries who has been bedridden for some time who reads all your writings and is excessively anxious to see you—we are getting on in our small plain way! But oh this is no place for writing—

Bless thee then till Saturday— I am rejoiced to hear of a prospect of employment for John—and the accounts of him in other respects—

Your own


The seal is very neat—and it is your doing Thank you darling