October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


TC TO JANE WELSH CARLYLE; 12 November 1832; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18321112-TC-JWC-01; CL 6:253-255.


Craigenputtoch, Monday 12th November 1832—

Dear Goodykin,

I hope thou art well again, and wilt come tomorrow soon, and “kiss me fairly.” No word came yesterday; whence I flatter myself with the inference that things go not ill at Templand. Grandfather's case seems to be much what I supposed: let your Mother take all care of herself, and matters may soon be in their old course,—to flow there a while; always, or even long, in this wild “Time-element,” they cannot so flow.

We have had the quietest life of it here; no incident whatever, not the death of a mouse. The establishment is not on fire, therefore; nevertheless the Coadjutor's return will bring blessings with it. My Mother is and will be nothing but a guest; so too much charge devolves on me. For the rest we have read immensely, all my odd reading is brought up; I have also satisfied myself abundantly with Ecclefechan Biography; in short have been wholly idle. Come then; but first take these following premonitions.

The Black Teapot (hinc illae lachrymae!1) has fearfully widened its crack, and now leaks to such intolerable extent, that two days ago I must rummage the house for another, and finding none but the pewter Coffee-pot, have put it upon duty; greatly to my Mother's terror, anxious lest it melt. Can you get a new pig [earthenware] one in Thornhill, get it: if not, we manage well enough.

No smell of red Herring have I yet discerned, in spite of my encouragement to profit by the kindess of Providence. The Leddy, on Wednesday morning, must complete her work.

The homebaked Bread will serve till tomorrow; there is another Loaf, they say, lying untouched: on this side therefore all is safe.

Lastly I am like to be short of Drawers! Yesterday there was “a deficiency in the middle.”— I bethink me that it will be best to instruct Shankland2 to make me a pair of effectual flannel ones, till we see farther. He should also make me a black waistcoat? I have sent him an order here to that effect. If you can make any improvement in it, such as buying the cloth yourself, or ordering it otherwise to be bought; or devising any other scheme from the foundation, I, as is my duty, submit: if not, send the Slut off with the Paper tomorrow morning early, and take no farther thought. He (the Slut) has also to get me half a hundred of Thorns for mending the Garden hedge.— In any case, do not thou go peddling thro' mud to Thornhill; let it go any way it likes, rather.

As for the Larder, I learn even now, not without emotion, that a Cock is just slain. The Dumfries mutton remains where it did; all but the flank, which we boiled and consumed, as we mean to do this day with a new section. From these words the Coadjutor's penetrating intellect discerns the whole posture of affairs, more clearly than I myself, who do little more than repeat by rote.

My Mother sends her kindest wishes to yours, and hopes of speedy amendment for all. Let no kind saying on my part be wanting; you know it will hardly be kinder than my feeling thither is. One might grow very pathetic indeed; but that is not the thing wanted for any of us. “Stout heart to stay brae [steep hill]”: repeat this to her from me. All Evil is but unadjusted (unmanufactured) Good.3

I need not keep scribbling all day, and so may as well close here. Come off in good time; by no means later than noon; the Lamps, I see, are still here, besides the chil[l]ness of the Evening air. You will come to dinner, and take your own place again, where a good fire at least (all that depends on me) shall not be wanting.

O Jeankin this is a sorrowful kind of world; but what can we do with it, except wade thro' it in the “hold-of-hands” way? Bless thee, my little “Titian”!

Ever thy own, /

T. Carlyle—

M'Knight4 is not paid: I owed him a penny for the former week.

A flying report came even into this Parlour on Saturday that Betty was to be proclaimed in Church next day with—Wilson the Poacher!5 Whether it took effect I have not learned: our Slut wanted to go down and hear; but the day proved too rainy. Let never a frail one after this to serve the Devil have fear!

Irving of Gribton6 was twice here; an enormous clatter, but you shall hear.— Nichts mehr [Nothing more].

My Mother suggests that she and I can buy the Cloth and Flannel better at Dumfries,—whither she is getting rather instant to go. If you think so (as for me I have no knowledge either of Shankland or Thornhill shops), then burn that order, and let that be the way of it.

Send off the Boy tonight for the Thorns, that there may be no delay about them tomorrow morning: if delay is inevitable, let them lie, and evite it so.— Come soon then.

Noty Bena”!7— Martinmas is Thursday week. Alick and Jemmy are to be here on the Saturday following. Were it not well to leave word with Nancy that she must be home that night, at latest, should she get off two days afterwards?— “I have bakker.”