The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 15 August 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400815-TC-AC-01; CL 12: 227-229


Chelsea, Saturday, / 15 Augt, 1840—

My dear Alick,

This morning there has arrived a Letter from the Doctor, which I may as well along with half a word from myself send forward to you. It contains nothing; but you will see by it that he is well, and that there was nothing to send. I got a Letter from Jean also, two days ago, with an American Letter which is yours from our Half-Brother in America:1 this I have safe by me, and will not neglect to send back to you. I despatched the last Dumfries Newspaper to poor John in Canada, according to this address: I hope you will write to him soon all the news out of Annandale; which are naturally the most interesting of all things to him. He seems to be doing very tolerably well, after all his tumblings. The only distracted thing I hear him talk of is that scheme of his wife's for coming back again. Alas, there is nothing here but hunger and hardship, growing ever feller [more dire] for the poor working man: he should in no wise, for his children's sake, decide on coming hither again. I suppose, it is his wife mainly, who was an impatient kind of woman.2

My Letter this week to Jamie would give you all manner of intelligence about my wayfaring, about my safe return from that “rural ride.” I went off with my horse on Tuesday last about twenty miles, to the residence of Mr W. Marshall, son of the Giver of this animal, and left her there for him to sell or do as he liked with. I had before that, offered him the gift of her; not being willing to sell a creature I had got in that way: but I could not get him to accept; he had no use for the beast; said he would sell it for me, if I liked. I took it accordingly (came home by railway again), and there for the last five days it goes at grass or I know not how;—I at least have done with it. The expense contrasted with the benefit was decidedly too high. I feel it a great ease to be rid of such a daily outlay, and shall so feel it for some time!

My Lecture does not get on nearly so fast as I wished. My whole wish, this week, has been to sleep, or sit like a man asleep doing nothing! Hardly till today could I get myself roused up again,—into a right fuss for doing any work! There is not the fourth part of my Lecture on paper yet; but perhaps better than half of the real work is done. I design to write the following Lecture too without stopping at all.

Our warm weather is entirely gone these three days; nothing but wet and wind again! It suits me, but suits no other mortal. There will be a bad harvest this year again; and none knows what result from it.

I have always forgotten to tell you what good I have got of the axe and sickle you sent me long since! The axe operates successfully in splitting timber and all such jobs. The hook hangs, by right, on a branch of our old scrag of a cherry-tree (which grows large quantities of cherries, mostly eaten by the sparrows); I mow the grass with it, hew down the superfluous vine-branches with it; and many a time thank poor Alick's brotherliness. Many thanks, to you, Boy, for this and for many things!

I have not another word today. My Mother must have the next Letter. I hope the Lecture will prosper better next week. My love to my dear Mother, and to all the rest of you young and old!— Ever your affectionate Brother,

T. Carlyle