August-December 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 15


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 28 December 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18421228-TC-AC-01; CL 15: 252-254


Chelsea, 28 decr, 1842—

My dear Brother,

Here is a Paper which I hope you will get exchanged for a couple of Sovereigns before Saturday, and give them to our two Namesakes, Jane and Tom,1—from their Aunt and Uncle “at London.” You may safely add as many hearties good wishes, for the New year's season, and for all seasons, as your own heart can dictate! Good be ever with these Two, and with all that belong to you, is and must remain while life remains, your Brother's prayer.— We will say also, and wish, as poor Edward Irving used to do, “May the worst of our years be past.” We have had some rather rough years, but we must not complain.—

I here am in a terrible hurry; writing daily: I hope before long to have something ready for printing,—tho' not the thing I was chiefly meaning.2 I live in almost perfect solitude; avoiding all people, or almost all: it is the only way to get forward with work.

A small Letter arrived from Jenny and Scotsbrig the other night; which I was very glad of. Our good Mother is reported as tolerably well; Jenny's presence with her is comfortable for me to think of in these winter days. I will write to my dear good Mother too before much time go.— Jack was here last night; we had a Poet here, a very clever man called Alfred Tennyson; and Jack, and a friend named Darwin, both admirer's of Alfred's, “came to see.” We had a pleasant little evening. Alfred is a right hearty talker;—and one of the powerfullest smokers I have ever worked along with in that department! Our Welsh Attorney3 had sent a leg of Welsh Mutton, unsurpassable in quality, and a magnificent but to us uneatable Goose: there was a dinner for the party,—a party needed for the dinner.— Jack is in perfect order; as lively and brisk as I have seen him for a long while.

James Stewart of Gillenbie was here about three weeks ago: he had come mainly to see one Jardine,4 an enormous Laird from Applegarth Parish and China, and a very good man; who is understood to be dangerously ill at present.

I have heard nothing special about Ecclefechan or its business; but I fear in general that things cannot be going well there. Perhaps some temporary improvement is not at a great distance now. People here calculate on it as possible that Peel may abrogate the Corn-Law this very year. The next year is the latest date almost anybody assigns it. Very evidently it is fast going now; rushing down like an undermined house!— Yesterday, the Member Villiers,5 a very pitiful little person, whose name you may see in Corn-Law debates,—had called here, and left his address, while I was out. My notion is he means to engage me too in the service of “the League”;6 to “lecture” for him, or the like. I am already engaged for a far bigger LEAGUE (that of the oppressed Poor against the idle Rich; that of God against the Devil); and will answer No to Villiers.

Dear Brother, I have not another inch of room, minute of time. May God's blessing be ever with you: that is my heart's prayer.

Ever your affectionate /

T. Carlyle