January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 19 May 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430519-TC-AC-01; CL 16: 172-173


Chelsea, 19 May, 1843—

My dear Brother,

I have waited this good while for some leisure moment, wherein I could write to you deliberately; but there seems none such to lie near me yet: so I must write in haste, rather than not at all. I must at least pay you the Tobacco Merchant's account; that is a plain matter! Here is an order for two sovereigns which I procured yesterday: what residue there is over, after satisfying the Tobacconist, you are to divide equally between Tom and Jane,1 as a gift from their “Uncle in London.” And so, many thanks for your care in this matter, dear Brother. The tobacco is excellent; and came in good stead to me here, the old supplies being out or nearly so. I have begun heartily smoking it now.

I forget your Leith Wine & Spirit Merchant's name.2 We are nearly thro' our Brandy here; and can take a little more Wine from him too. We will say two dozen and a half of Port, two dozen of Sherry, and three gallons of Brandy; that will make six dozen bottles in all, and will perhaps be sufficient for one Box. Let the Account come along with the Articles, and it shall be paid when they arrive. There is no special immediate haste, if the people have not a set of articles they can recommend at the moment: the last were found to be satisfactory, and if they stand at the old price and quality we may deal satisfactorily again. I daresay you will give the necessary orders for all this, and set it in motion for me, with great readiness. And so no more of it at present.

Many a time, in these days, do I think of Whitsunday, and the important resolutions and inquiries my Brother must have in his mind at present! You are certainly wise to have done with Ecclefechan at any rate. What is to follow next may be obscure and doubtful enough; but it cannot easily be worse than the certainty was there. Alas, dear Brother, I can do nothing for you at this stage of the business; but be very sorry, very anxious for you,—yet still with good hope. If it please God, a better day shall yet come! Let us press on, nothing daunted: if we can grow wiser by our past errors, they too will not have been in vain! Of the son of Adam there cannot in this world be more required, on the whole, than that he do grow wiser by past mistakes; and be always learning while in this School of Life. It is not in one of us to direct his steps; but in all things we fail and err continually.

You will have a roup [auction] I fancy in about a week; all will be bustle round you already. The Dr, I suppose, has given you all his ideas: do not adopt them, if they seem unwise to you; the great thing is that your own inner heart went along with the undertaking whatever that were. His reports about you are more cheering than I expected. May God turn it all to good, my dear Brother; may God direct you towards what is wisest, best, and strengthen you to do that however difficult it be! I will not continue farther,—even if I had more paper and time. I send my heart's blessing to all of you; and wait with anxiety to hear the result. Ever your affectionate Brother

T. Carlyle