October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE; 4 December 1832; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18321204-TC-JC-01; CL 6:276-278.


Craigenputtoch 4th December / 1832—

My Dear Jamie,

I wrote to Alick by the Boy M'Whir, and must now send you a few words, on the same subject; a very few, for the cause explained in my Mother's Letter.

The thing I have to say is about our Father's Tombstone: I fully purposed to speak of it, and settle the matter finally, but, not having seen you that night, must now do it by writing. Pray let it be set about without any delay.

The first thing to be done will be to get some respectable Mason, who is used to such things and can work them and judge of them: perhaps R. Brown1 or some of his people will be the best, but you know better than I. Now if this Mason on examining the Stone already there, thinks that by hewing it downwards to the very end, and fixing it (in a secure manner) in some sort of pediment, or under, sunk [sic: under-sunk] stone (such as I have seen) two feet or so of more length could be gained, then I decidedly think it were our best plan to do so, and let the present inscription stand as it is. But if this on trial and examination will not do, then (as seemed to be agreed among us) there will be nothing for it, but to take off the old inscription, and put it on in less room;— using, or not using, the help of a pediment stone, as may seem convenient.2

I will send you what new inscription shall be wanted, in good time[.] The exact date of our Father's birth will require to be sent me. It is on some Bible, I think; otherwise our Aunt Fanny can give it.

The thing to be attended to is to stir in the matter without loss of time. Alick & you can consult; but as you are near the spot, the execution will mainly depend upon you.—— I add no more on this subject; knowing that more is not necessary to be added.


Before Alick come up you will probably have seen him, and among other things, can give us some deliverance about that cart-rake [journey with a cart] to Edinr, and whether it is desirable or not. We here are unable to decide; seeing at but only one side of the matter.

I have done now dear Jamie; and they are waiting for me, to pack up their bags. I will send you and all the rest my best blessings. “Take heed unto thyself and thy goings.”3 Love one another; fear God, and have no other fear.


I will add here another very humble practical advice; But I add it very seriously: It is to get that kitchen vent cleared of smoke, at this very time! Pate Easton's4 plan seemed quite reasonable; he undertakes it for a pound; why, this is not two shillings a winter for the time you have to abide there! Now, my dear Brother, I am quite serious in what I say here. The first part of my Letter related to the honour of the Dead; but this very decidedly concerns the comfort ofthe Living,— not your own comfort, but that of some you value more— And so enough! enough[!] Excuse me, listen to me, love me!

[T. Carlyle]

Mary is to be informed that her Bowl stands as a Drawing room Bowl—with the Basket in it.— Wonderful!—