The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 23 May 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400523-TC-MAC-01; CL 12: 150-152


Chelsea, 23 May, 1840—

My dear Mother,

You will rejoice with me that those Lectures are happily over. I write you a short word to communicate that pleasant fact. I got thro' the last Lecture yesterday, in very tolerable style, seemingly much to the satisfaction of parties; and the people all expressed, in a great variety of ways, much very genuine-looking friendliness for me. I had been concerned with drugs, had slept very indifferently the night before (in spite of riding 14 miles and walking above 6!), and was but in poorish order for speaking; nevertheless I contrived to tell them something about poor Cromwell, and I think to convince them that he was a great and true man,—the valiant soldier in England of what John Knox had preached in Scotland. It was all right. They continued buying Tickets to the very last,—paying out their guinea several of them for one Lecture, since they had not come at first to get all the six. Mrs Stanley, a braw and beautiful dame of quality here, sent yesterday to advise that I would order the Porter to sell single tickets for half a guinea; but I declined; not wishing to make a theatrical performance of the thing, farther than I could avoid.

In a word, the people seem agreed, and I partly think so too, that it was my best course of Lectures this; and now, you see, I am right handsomely thro' it, and ought to be very thankful,—and also to take care how I get into another! Indeed I have a notion that I will not be in haste to throw myself into such a tumble again; it stirs me all up into ferment fret and confusion, such as I hate altogether: and now I have got some fraction of cash, one way and another, and can wait a while: nay if I write my thoughts quietly down in a Book now, I can actually in the long run, and even thro' Fraser, get some cash out of that!

I mean to have a full week or so of idling and riding, and considering what is next to be done.1 Indeed I have a great many visits to pay, were there nothing more; for I have rigidly refused to go out anywhere these five weeks past, and must go and see a little now what people are about at last. I will keep my horse a while longer, dear as it is, and try a little farther whether there is not some good use in it, worth 25/ a week, yea or no!— We are very busy with the “Public Library” too, and hope it will take effect. You perhaps noticed it in the Examiner?2

I have written some six or seven letters, while these Lectures went on, to various parties in Dumfriesshire; and got no slightest syllable of response from anybody whatever! I leave that fact standing on its own feet. I will beg of you, my dear Mother, to write one word, and put it into a cover for me.

John wrote you I suppose? He sent a short notice hither, and said he would write both to Scotsbrig and Dumfries. You sent him the Tablet newspaper? If there be anything in any other Paper that you get, pray send it the same road. He is to stay where he is “one month more”: it is a curious way of bargaining.

I shall have accounts to settle &c &c: I will write again when all that is over. God bless you all!

Yours ever affectionate /

T. Carlyle

Perhaps you might forward this Note to Jean, after you have all done with it, at Ecclefn & Scotsbrig? Employ the penny post!