The Collected Letters, Volume 1


TC TO THOMAS MURRAY; 24 June 1813; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18130624-TC-TM-01; CL 1:3-6.


Ecclefn 24th June 1813

Dear Murray,

I return you my sincerest thanks for the kind letter, you favoured me with & for the punctual manner in which you executed my requests. In fact I don't know how to write to you, for shame at not writing you long ago: I can assure you however, that every day, since I came home, I have intended to write you, and every day, something has prevented me from putting my intention in execution.—

Brunton, 1 I hear, has got the Hebrew chair notwithstanding the good Dr.'s recom[m]endation [of] Scott;2 aye! aye! “Kissing goes by favour”3 [is] true yet, I see.

Johnston 4 is a-teaching at present, that same school of which he wrote, you know, has £26. per. an. and meat; in my opinion he has exchanged a bad for a worse.

What in the name of wonder is Clint5 doing in Edinr ha? The debating society of which Clint has informed you, is in good health, tho' yours, I believe is no more.

July 2nd

Laziness, business &c. set upon me to such a pitch, that I have left off finishing my letter till now. About a week ago, whom should I meet, think you, but Mr. Henning!6 I was terribly surprised to see him present his “smokey duds & reestit giz.”7 The poor wretch had walked from Jedburgh without a grain of sleep & I'm afraid with very little meat. He had lain 4 days ill at Kelso & so spent all his money: and here was he overcome with hunger & fatigue!—some victuals were immediately set before him & I soon perceived their effect on his spirits.

“Poor wretch”! thought I, as I surveyed his furrowed cheek and bald crown, “Poor wretch! poverty has seized thee in her icy grasp, old age is upon thee & here thou art a stranger and knowest not where to lay thy head, poor wanderer[;] thou hast seen better days[;] it is my duty and I will assist thee to the utmost of my power” such were my reflections as I surveyed the wayworn visage of this unfortunate. I had considerable difficulty in procuring him a bed, as people all thought he had a suspicious appearance; I got him one at last & after breakfast next morning, I set him on his way to Dumfries, tho' not before he had extended on the merits of my two benevolent friend[s] Mr. Murray & Clint & promised me a superb shaving box when he got to Lun'un.

I was surprised with a visit from Clint who arrived [?] here yesterday, & brought me a letter from you. I must own my dear Tom this is kinder than from my conduct I could have expected & I certainly will never be such an ungrateful dog as to run so far in your debt again. You accuse me of want of friendship! O! how little do you know of my disposition;—when I meet a kindred soul, I (like Hamlet) “wear him in my heart's core aye in my heart of hearts[”;]8 distress me then I beg of you, no more with such unjust suspicions. I am happy that you have such success at teaching: & let me tell you if I thought I could get an hour or two I would think nothing of coming & walking with you again.— Do send me immediately the history of your adventures & let me have your poems too[;] you know I like every thing that comes thro' your hands.— But to my great astonishment I am on my last sheet and must conclude & am

Dear Tom / your affecte friend /

Thos Carlyle.

[In margins:] The post is just going out[.] I had thousands of things, which I will say in my next. does the ephimerides continue? I have begun it wrong for never was fellow so stupid.