The Collected Letters, Volume 1


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 4 May 1821; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18210504-TC-MAC-01; CL 1:356-357.


Edinr Friday evening [4? May 1821]—

My dear Mother,

I have but a very little time to dash you off a few lines; but I cannot resist the temptation to employ it in a way which I know will be so agreeable to you, and which I feel to be so agre[e]able to myself—

That small copperplate I beg you to accept in a quiet manner, saying not a word about the matter to any living soul; but get tea and other tackle with it, and for my sake. Nothing can delight me more than the hope of being able to contribute to your happiness. I entreat you most vehemently to be in want of nothing that I can supply you with. Not rich yet—I have wherewith to meet the passing hour; and I feel that ‘the little which a just man hath’ must be beyond all comparison preferable to the filled garners of the wicked.1 Do you think so also; (I need not bid you): and take this as the widow's mite—not ‘all that I have’—or any thing like it—but given as fervently.

I was in to look at the Synod today. It was very unintelligible to me. I could hear little and understand less. There was a medley of burghers and anti-burghers—all sitting promise[u]ously—some speaking, some listening, some not listening, as usual in such cases. Few of them were known to me.2 Yet there was the withered visage of Walter Bell—the farthing-face of Young; and I saw the creature Brash,3 shaking hands with all and sundry of the brethren within reach of him. It is interesting, very interesting to see the decay of pharasaical principles. I rejoice to behold so many worthy characters—casting off the old man4—laying down their miserable squabbles—and uniting in the good cause with all their heart, where all good men will join them.

Farther than this Synod-meeting, of which I can say so little, there is nothing here almost that you would feel much care about. Dr Lawson on the Proverbs is published, I observe. Tell me pointedly if you would like to see it. I can get it easily.5

I have no time or space to enter upon the state of my affairs at present. They are in a fair kind of way; much as usual. My health is not to complain of (how is yours?): I swallow pills and salts and stuff; and hope great things from the sea bathin[g] which I design to practice soon.

Will you find time to write next opportunity? Give my love to all the little childer, Jenny, Jane, Mary[,] James & Mag. I am ever,

My dear Mother, / Your affete son, /

Thomas Carlyle