The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 12 May 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400512-TC-AC-01; CL 12: 142-143


Chelsea, 12 May 1840—

My dear Brother,

I write you a word this evening to say that my third Lecture1 is also tolerably over; a thing I feel extremely thankful for. You will tell my dear Mother about it, whose anxieties after what I wrote to her last time are not likely to be wanting. I was upon Poets today; and got thro' not in an extraordinary way, but fully as well as I could expect. My audience had considerably increased; they sat very attentive, and seemed well enough content with me. I can assure you, I was right glad to get thro' on any terms! My former Lecture, which they call the best I ever delivered, was far too good; it shivered my nerves all in pieces; and I have lost about the fourth part of my sleep ever since. Nobody but one that had tried would fancy what a misery that is: Last night I seemed as if I were not going to sleep at all; I do not remember a more anxious feeling, about any such thing, than I had all this morning. And now it is over; and the half of the business, the far worst half of it, is over. I calculate, and Jane too is of that mind, I shall not try the thing at all again, unless I see myself in greater want than I was in this year.

No reports appear in the Newspapers; you would notice the vacancy in the Examiner, with a small sentence to account for it.2 I understand, reports are coming; but the far best part of the business is we get along now excellently well without them. My audience is about a third more numerous this year than it ever was. The second day it has increased 40; this day it has increased 20: deducting all expenses, we shall net a good sum,—fairly round above 200 guineas, I think.— I ought also to add that there is a reporter there for me; I have seen his sketch of the First Lecture,—a very poor affair: I think more and more, I shall make the thing up by myself, and promulgate it as a Book. We shall see what strength is left me.— I wish you would get some express word sent to Jean and the rest of them: you can enclose Jean this Letter for that matter; I have no heart or leisure to write in these weeks.

I cut a small hole in a card, and send one of the half-sovereigns the man gave me today as a present to my Namesake Tom:3 let him buy a hat with it, or what he likes, and wonder how London Lectures put a hat upon his head!

I have had out my tobacco to dry it; it was all begun moulding,—you had packed it so fiercely down into that canister! I gave it above twice as much room. It is excellent stuff when I get it to the right pitch of dryness; which now is not difficult to do.

Remember my Mother! You are to send her word directly. Be all well, and thankful with me.— Your affectionate Brother

T. Carlyle