The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 17 January 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400117-TC-MAC-01; CL 12: 17-18


Chelsea, Friday [17 January 1840]—

My dear Mother,

I may as well send you my salutations on a separate bit of paper, as I am writing to Jamie, and have filled his.1

You must get up a new Letter to me without delay. Two words, merely “I am well,” are worth writing now. I wish I saw two such from your hand under this date! I will hope, however, that you got tolerably thro' the frost; that you find the thaw, tho' damp, somewhat softer on you. I have told Jamie all the news; except indeed that I got an American Letter two days ago; announcing that the 500 copies of the F. Revn had arrived safe there, and were expected to be all sold off in some six months.2 The duties they charge on books from abroad are ruinous both here and in America: nevertheless I am to get my own money back out of that speculation, and about £100 to boot, they say; which is as much as I ever expected from it.— I have been writing to Emerson today; that is the reason why I have “the pen in my hand”;—and a very bad pen it is!

Fraser has not given me his account yet, being “so busy.” I expect that after all fritterings and raspings, there will be a very tolerable story to tell about these Miscellanies he has sold for me here.

The day before yesterday, an innocent blithe wise-looking Scotch lad called upon me with a humble petition, which in his blateness [shyness] he could hardly get uttered, That I would come eastward into “the City” (the trading part of London), and lecture on any or on all sorts of things to certain young Booksellers' shopmen and others of the like, who were very anxious about it! The more I think of these poor fellows, I am the more struck with such a request. They have nobody to preach a rational syllable to them on any subject whatever; and they want to hear rational words! I have half a mind sometimes to break out tumultuously, and begin lecturing like a lion over the whole world. But it is better, I do [believe], to stay at home quietly and write. We shall see into both sides of it by and by.— Farewell today, dear Mother; you shall soon hear from me again. Jane's Newyears' wishes, and all manner of wishes! Tell us of Hanning and Jenny, of Mary, Jean and them all.—Ever your affectionate— T. Carlyle.