The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 22 April 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400422-TC-AC-01; CL 12: 116-117


Chelsea, Wednesday 22 April / 1840—

My dear Alick,

I sent you off a scrawl of a line or two yesterday, and stuck it in at the Battersea Post-Office as I went out to ride. Tho' almost still more hurried today, I must needs write were it but half a word. The Tobacco is come, my boy! All safe and sound; bottled up in your canister, in my old jug, and set into presses, it stands here, and will keep me smoking for long! The cost I think was just 4 shillings here. Alick Welsh seemed to have addressed it. How it got across to him I do not know; but here it is—all right; and the Lockerby Gauger, and all manner of functionaries like him, may go fiddle!—I had gone out last night to consult with Fraser; and at my return, Jane had opened the Box and there it was.

But another curious thing happened yesterday. When I came home from riding, the Edinburgh Pipes were standing in the lobby! Could anything be more seasonable—since the weed itself was so near arriving? I broke open the box; found the packing excellent, almost no breakages at all; 3 gross as I judge of the same kind of Pipes I used to have at Puttock (you remember), a very good kind.— One “Sam Aitken” a very kind Edinburgh man had taken the trouble to get them: I wrote him enclosing a half sovereign, and here they were.— We shall surely be at rest now for a while on the smoke side! Thanks to you, many thanks;—and congratulations now too, that your friendly pains have not been disappointed of their purpose.

I scribble away at my Lectures; refuse all invitations whatsoever, till the Lectures be done. One can manage without offence in that way. I ride too; I will ride and write: what can I do more? This day five weeks it will all be over, one way or other; and I shall try never to do the like again.

Fraser has got the Book out; a very pretty green Book, in five volumes (“Carlyle's Miscellanies”).1 He had been subscribing it (offering it to the Booksellers, to see how many they would take in the first place); he had begun that process yesterday;—and was all in the clouds, poor Fraser, at the great speed he had come: “above twice as many as he expected,” &c, &c. Poor James is easily elevated, easily depressed.— I hope to send you all copies of this Book (if I can); probably by the Magazine: next month.

Jean sent me a Letter today from Dumfries; our Mother it seems is back again; still well. My continual love to her,—to all of you! She is to write soon herself, as I hear with pleasure.

Two o'clock struck! I have still to dress myself. Not another word!

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle

Jane is gone out; very well now, in the warm weather.