The Collected Letters, Volume 11


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 7 June 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18390607-TC-MAC-01; CL 11: 124-126


Chelsea, Friday, 7th June, 1839—

My dear Mother,

Some days ago these two Letters from John arrived. They contain little that is new, nothing but what is satisfactory; I send them off this morning, a morning later than I had calculated, having been busy of late days.

I have been writing an article for Fraser's Magazine, but for my own behoof, about a business connected with this new edition of the F. Revolution now printing. You remember that story of the French Ship of War that refused to strike to the English, and went down shouting vive la République, and firing its guns? The story turns out to be an entire falsehood: I had some considerable correspondence about it in winter, and have made it out satisfactorily to be as false as anything need be. I am accordingly to contradict it in this new edition, and have put the documents concerning it into a shape for publishing beforehand in some Periodical: this was the Article for Fraser; I finished it and sent it off last night.1 That is one thing done. My other Article on the Condition of the Poor will be a work of considerable time and trouble; I have not got it begun yet; I have not even got any of the Books or Pamphlets for it: but I persist in meaning to do it; there seems a kind of call on me that way. I will put it in train now without farther delay.

The Printers go on very irregularly,2 and not so fast by far as they ought. They are printing the second and third volumes both together, they have done with the first. Their “steam-engines” break down, &c &c. But it is a pretty enough Book, and they will have done before long.

Emerson writes to me again from America, about the “Miscellanies,” about their 500 copies of the F. R. Book. I find I shall not make so much as I wished by that last adventure; but I must go on with it; the result will still in the end be profit, perhaps some £70 or £80. I sent off, thro' Liverpool, a completed sheet of the new edition, to this kind friend; that he might shew it to his Booksellers, and make the best bargain for me he could.— But the grand thing that seems to animate Emerson is the speculation that I shall go to America this back-end [late autumn], and lecture! His house, he says,3 is all brightened up into brilliancy at news of it: they will nurse my wife and me, they will &c &c: in fact nothing can be kinder than these good people all are. If I knew how much cash I could earn by American lecturing. I should see the whole business. But no one can tell me that. It is easy to go over, in these Steamers or other ships, and easy to get back again;— but unless one earned money, to do one benefit for after years, it were of no use. One would need to set off, he says, in September; and lecture in October, November, December; ending at Washington the Capital. You think it a fearful thing, dear Mother; but it is one of the simplest things Nor is it more dangerous than the average of what one does daily. A stock of spare cash, to keep the hawks out of my eyes a little, would be a decided convenience. We shall see, we shall see. It is all very vague yet; I perceive only that if I do not go, I must fall upon a Book, and decidedly find myself some new work for this season.

Jack, you will observe, on the other hand, wishes me to come and meet him in Germany; and has even sent me £30 of cash, to bear my charges, if I will but come! Poor fellow, it is very kind. Jane says rather, I ought to go, and stir myself up; she will go to Scotland without me, or stay here, where she likes to be much better than I. Perhaps I ought to go? Except a sight of Jack, I have simply no wish to wander at all without solid business; I am far past the years for freaks of that kind, which indeed I never at any years indulged much in.— Mrs Welsh is got to Templand now, tho' she has not written to us yet. She seems to have been in much worse health at Liverpool than we knew at the time, and was actually in serious alarm for herself. She is clear that we should come to Templand.— For the rest, the weather is generally cool here yet, and not unattended with rain: one week of right hot dusty weather will set me running out of this place, in some direction or other, fast enough!— — In short, my dear Mother, I have resolved only on one thing: that I will shortly have a horse to ride on, live where I may. It is unsuitable to go on longer without one, in such obstruction of health as I suffer, with such supply of means and hopes as kind Providence has furnished me with. If I could b[e] in health in London, there is no place in the world where I am so well. I will try it with a horse; I ought decidedly to do that. What is the horse Alick bought now doing? Did he get a gig? There came a Newspaper from him yesterday, addressed to Jane (tell him her address is “Mrs Carlyle” simply): but no letter. I see today since I began writing, your hand, in pencil, on the Courier that has arrived: whence I am to infer that you are at Dumfries, and therefore not out of your usual order? I am right thankful for it. But what a convenience it will be when our Universal Penny Post comes into action!4 It seems there is no doubt but it will be in action next year. Every writer then will frank for himself; and I will forgive nobody for not writing to me that has half a word to say.

But I must end, dear Mother. You will hear soon what result we arrive at as to our summer movements.— Jane gets on better and better as the Summer advances; she affectionately salutes you all. If you are at Dumfries, we shall, without word spoken, be naturally remembered there. I will address this Letter thither, in the persuasion that you are. James got the Puttock sticks sold, I suppose? Thank him for it. I wrote to Jean, I think by Jack's last letter. No answer yet from anybody. This evening is my last dinner from home, that is on my papers yet. It is with Sir James Clark, the Queen's Doctor, a very good man (in spite of the Tory Newspapers);5 one of those mainly instrumental in getting Jack his situation. We have dined with the Bullers, with the &c &c: I do not want to dine any more with anybody for six months to come!— Adieu dear Mother, for this day. I hope to write again before long; I still trust to see you before long!

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle