October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


JWC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN; February 1834; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18340200-JWC-JCA-01; CL 7:93-94.


[February 1834]

My dear Jane

We have been to Templand and are returned; and again must preparation be made for the nourishment of these frail bodies—1

Could a couple of cocks be procured—they would prove perhaps the most acceptable dainty[.] Austin could dislocate their necks according to scientific principles, and suspend them by the heels till the moment of departure—after which process they could be transported quietly and safely— In default of cocks recourse must be had to a leg of mutton— And here, my dear Sister suffer me to whisper it in your ear—that the two last bits of mutton were desperately hard to chew—what went before was excellent—so that if the last were got from a new merchant, one may draw the practical inference, and act upon it, that the first merchant was the man for our money—

If there was such a thing to be had as an eatable pound of butter (fresh) I would willingly pay down hard money for it—our stock of salt had a too severe run on it—and a little further on in the season the whole milkness will be polluted with beastning [milk of the newly calved cow]— I think you have a correct taste in your mouth[;] pray exercise [sic] it this time gaurding [sic] your judgement against the seductions of arrinetta and grated carrots.

Two quarters of tobacco complete the necessities of the Week—

You will get a surprise on Wednesday (if Andrew Watson do not break down) which I wish you joy of—

Will you pay the frame which pleased me very well—and pay Watt a shilling for mending the coffee-mill and MacKie something (I am not sure precisely what) for book parcels (three that came last week) [.]

—We are in expectation of two boxes from Liverpool[.] One was to be sent to the care of Robert Thomson who is connected with the sloop—the other either to the same or to MacKie— Pray send Robert to make inquiries at both places whether they be come yet— If they be I suppose they must just lie till next week when it is anticipated Peter Austi[n] will have a cart down unless Robert could get one or both sent up tomorrow by Sund[a]ywell[.]

—There was a letter you would observe from the Dr last week—well and [the rest is missing]2


Sister Jean helps in Dumfries busesses. ‘Cocks,’ i.e. young chickens are naturally a great resource in such a locality, so plentiful on the vegetable side withal: I never have heard of 20 or 30 chickens (all ‘cocks,’ hen-sort too precious for market!) coming gradually on;—and nowhere have I eaten such soup.

We had no man servant during our last twelvemonth in Craigk (Boy was dismissed after our visit to Edinr. Rob Austin (Farmer Peter's youngest son) rode weekly for us on Harry to Dumfrs; that was our one channel of communicatn with the world—sound of his hoofs, as he passed the house-corner, Wedy 10 pm[.] ‘Andrew Watson’ Thornhill carrier, ‘Notman’ Ecclefn one, need no commenty[.]