The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 9 May 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400509-TC-MAC-01; CL 12: 138-140


5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea / Saturday, 9 May, 1840.

My dear Mother,

I send you a small half-word of my own today, to assure (you) that all is still right here; that I gave my second Lecture yesterday to a larger audience than ever, and with all the success, or more, that was necessary for me. It was on Mahomet; I had bishops and all kinds of people among my hearers; I gave them to know that the poor Arab had points about him which it were good for all of them to imitate; that probably they were more of quacks than he,—that, in short, it was altogether a new kind of thing they were hearing today! The people seemed greatly astonished, and greatly pleased; I vomited it forth on them like wild Annandale grapeshot; they laughed, applauded &c., &c.: in short, it was all right; and I suppose it is by much the best Lecture I shall have the luck to give this time.1 For really it all depends on what we call luck; I cannot say in the least whether my Lecture will be good or bad when I begin to deliver it. So far it is well enough;—and now, alas, as the price of a good Lecture, my nerves are thrown into such a flurry that I got very little sleep last night, and am all out of sorts today! It is the regular course; I cannot help it.

I have ridden as far as Richmond with Cavaignac the Frenchman today, and am just back again before dinner. I mean to keep as quiet as a mouse, and tomorrow I shall probably be got round again. Two weeks more, and this sore business is done; and perhaps I shall never try it another time. My audience is between 2 and 3 hundred, and grew a good deal larger after the first Lecture. I expect to clear £200 out of it: that is the result; and next year I may hope to be able to dispense with that aid,—since it must be purchased with such a tirrivee [commotion], which I like so ill. Two weeks more, and then!

I had a Letter from John, exactly a week ago: he was well; he seemed to anticipate the probability of giving up Pellipar soon. I wrote to Jean at Dumfries: did she send you the Letter?— If anything about these Lectures be in the Examiner,2 you are to send it round by her (after the rest have satisfied themselves about it), and she will send it on to Ireland.— Jane did not sleep either last night! Our weather is mended by two delightful showers, and wind at last.— I can only hope you continue well, dear Mother, that all is well, and send my best blessings to all.

Ever your affectionate /

T. Carlyle