October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


JWC AND TC TO JAMES CARLYLE; 22 May 1832; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18320522-TCJWC-JC-01; CL 6:163-165.


Craigenputtoch 22d May [1832]

[JWC writes:]

Dearly Beloved Jamie and Brother

In the first place I have to say that I wish you well, and my affection for you continues unabated! in the second that our potatoes are near done and my valuable Husband (for whom I can never be sufficiently thankful) informs me you have some to dispose of. That being the case it occurs to an ordinary mind that a stock adequate to supply the wants of my Husband, domestics, hens, and self might be conveniently brought up in Alicks cart on Wednesday. Also eight stones of oatmeal will be highly acceptable being reputed very superior. That quantity I think in addition to what is already in the barrel will carry us thro' with an honourable thro'bearing1 till the new arrive. Carlyle is of opinion you could further furnish me with a stone of pot barley—in case I should take a notion at rare intervals of boiling the pot for my Boy. Have you any Barley flour that would diet him at a cheaper rate than oatbread—cheapness you know is the grand object to be aimed at in his keep—if so a few stones might perhaps be forthcoming by the same opportunity—

Moreover I charge you as you value a sisters blessing to instruct Alick or your Mother or both (to make assurance doubly sure) to bring me up with them from Mrs Montgomery in Dumfries—a stone of her best fine flour and another stone of what she calls second flour.—secondly a stone of coarse Beef to salt for the said Boy.

Thirdly a hindquarter of blackfaced mutton for ourselves—and some flounders if there are such a thing in the market—and fourthly and for the comfort of all lastly two pence worth of Ye[a]st from Mr Dick.

O no I have still another commission expressly for your Mother— To provide me if money or money's worth can accomplish it with one whole laying duck. The duck department here is fallen into a condition lamentable to contemplate— The females two in number are both maimed for life, and the drake naturally brokenhearted—an egg were little short of a miracle with them now—and to feed them “for naething” is out of the question in these hard times for literary and all sorts of men. Here “thees morsel is missed”—tho at Scotsbrig “among sæ mony” it might be otherwise from all which considerations the practical inference to be drawn is “feed them off” and start a n[ew s]tock.

And now I am really done. When [are] you coming up? I need not say that I will welcome you in my choicest mood—and wash you a shirt “with my own hand” if better cannot be— My love to all the rest— Tell Jenny I was lately recommending [her] in a matrimonial point of view to a youth who I think might make her a good Husband— Tell your Mother to see that she fail not when it comes to the point— Ever your loving Sister—

Jane Welsh

[TC writes:]

My Dear Jamie,— I have still to add that you must charge Alick to buy me three things as he passes thro' Dumfries: a secondhand bridle and secondhand crupper (for the Boy's saddle) the coarser and stronger the better; thirdly a new good Crupper for my own saddle, which is and was always without one. This third article, indeed, will be chiefly wanted on the supposition that you and he have purchased me a Horse; for as you well know, a crupper without horse is worth little for riding on. However I hope you have got me some sort of quadruped: the Water-of-Milk galloper, or Farries's runner,—or some one.

I sent my Mother a London Newspaper last Wednesday; then the Examiner by a chance we had to Minnyive on Friday: along with the last went a Dumfries Courier for Alick, marked “with care” (Catlinns, Lockerby). I hope, they all came to hand.—— I have had a Letter from Jack; a long one: all is well; the Doctor full of speculation: I may as well inclose it; only my Mother must bring it back for I have scarcely got it rightly seen into yet. I wrote to him this forenoon. Keep my Mother to her promise; she must get Alick off in time.— God be with you all, and keep you always! Your affectionate Brother,

T. Carlyle—