October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 16 October 1833; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18331016-TC-MAC-01; CL 7:16-18.


Craigenputtoch, Tuesday Night 16th Octr 1833.

My Dear Mother,

Supper is past, and the Wife away to bed; and I, if I can keep my eyes so long open, have still another Letter to write. I have sat reading the whole day, and huddled all my remaining duties into a corner. The inclosure that I now send you will make amends for the trifling cover.

Jack, as you will see, dates from the borders of Switzerland a fortnight back; is well and quiet, and we may hope and trust, over the Alps by this time. Let us be thankful for what is come; and anticipate the best we can as to what is coming. A Letter from me will be in Milan probably before now; full of all kinds of details: I trust our poor wanderer may have arrived to take pleasure from it. All seems to go quite tolerably with him; nothing worse than weariness to complain of: all good principles too seem to be confirming themselves in him.

Last week Jamie would get a Letter; the effect of which I could like well to know. I gave him the best counsel and admonition I had; and think perhaps he will see right to follow it. If otherwise, Alick or Jean must let me know, and I will come down directly, and see face to face what is to become of it. As for you, my dear Mother, and the bits of Lasses, be under no discouragement, go as it may: while one of us has a home left, or a sixpence of money, or a grain of invention and understanding, to whom so much as to yourself does it by natural right, by gratitude and justice, belong? If James will form a new arrangement, doubt not but we shall form another to meet it: only there must be fair warning given.

I am longing much to see you all again; but still keep my engagement in my eye. I expect some Books tomorrow to enable me to begin a little Piece of writing, which will not detain me very long: and then! Jane too says she is coming with me: she seems to be considerably improving; tho' the Moffat Expedition has done her no good, I imagine. We expect Alick here before that time.

I lead the stillest life here; fully happier than usual. I have been two raiks [trips to collect something] at the Barjarg Library; the second on Saturday last, when I brought home a box-ful of Books, which busy me incessantly, with profit and pleasure. It is like a good coat of manure at worst, which my mind had need of. I expect to spend this winter as profitably as most: we shall be the readier for whatsoever the Future may offer or demand.

The other Letter I have to write is to poor Glen's Brother: there has some demur occurred about Glen's coming (the Doctors fear he will not stay): his Brother wishes much (and most modestly) that he could see me before settling. I think of asking him to bring his Brother hither, and let us see him.

Mrs Welsh went off to Liverpool, the end of last week. She had received the Scotsbrig Cheese, and was more delighted with it and with the note that accompanied it than you could imagine. At that Time she says a word of affection from you was particularly opportune.

Mary's Letter came here in due course; and we have learned since how Jamie means to keep himself free and on the outlook thro' winter.1 We hope much they may find some suitable place. Is the Orchard-town (“worchat”)2 far too large for them? There are small farms enough advertised about Dalton;3 I think, on Whitecroft property. They will surely get some place[.]

The Paper (which seems to be greasy too) is done: had I had more, I find I should have filled it,—tho' with mere babbles. Good night, my dear Mother. I rejoice to fancy you still holding on with some measure of health and heart; I hope Sandy's or Jean's Letter will make it certain for me. I honour your spirit, an[d] cheerful faith. “God will provide what is good”:4 let us hold by that, for Time and for Eternity.

And so again, Good Night. May all that [is] Good be with you all! / Ever, / My Dear Mother, / Your affectionate, /

T. Carlyle