January-September 1845

The Collected Letters, Volume 19


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 17 June 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18450617-TC-AC-01; CL 19: 81-83


Chelsea, 17 june, 1845—

My dear Brother,

John, who is gone Northward as his own Letter will explain, has appointed me to add a few words for you by this Mail: I take a little minute before going to bed tonight, as tomorrow there will be no leisure at all, and send you my brotherly salutation accordingly. My time at present, as it has been for these many months, is hardly any minute of it my own: I never in my life was held busier; and now the hot weather too has come to lame me still farther.

We were all much gratified with your last Letter; a clear healthy tone breathes thro' it, and we see you busy, and what we can well call prosperous in your new enterprise,—for a man that embarks himself on any enterprise in that spirit, and perseveres so, may be said to be prospering in it. Go on, my dear Brother; and every year will add its little stock of fruit to your store of good manful possessions, and you will gradually grow rich in true wealth.—— I have had one little Note out of Scotland since Jack went away: it was from Jenny at Dumfries to say that Jean had just been safely delivered of a little Daughter, and that both she and it were doing well. They have called the little creature Margaret: Jenny had been there waiting for the event for some weeks. Our good old Mother, pretty well in health, was in the interim waiting at the Gill. She will now very soon be home at Scotsbrig when she hears that Jack is coming. Jamie's Isabella is said to be still as poorly as ever; “unable to speak except in whispers”; really a very heavy handful for poor Jamie and for herself. Except Ben Nelson's death,1 of which I get no particulars hitherto, there was no other news from Scotland. Poor Ben, I believe, was falling into drink besides all other miseries: perhaps it is a mercy that his days were not prolonged in this world.— I might mention also, what is only like a piece of country news to myself, for I could take little or no hand in the operation,—that Craigenputtock is let to Macqueen, and Macadam is fairly out of it;2 which is a result I am glad of. James Stewart and the Factor Adamson did the whole without troubling me about it; for I absolutely had no time at all for such a business. The rent I think is £180, big house and all. But I do not well know;—and really cannot much care at present: the place and its concerns are not lovely to me.

I have got a horse according to your advice! Often I thought of you, when this business was on hand: I had no Alick to buy a horse for me now! A benevolent friend3 of these parts undertook it for me:—a very smart horse, a gelding of six years, black, long-tailed, high and thin,—swift as a roe; reminds me of poor Larry in some of his ways, tho' better bred than Larry.4 the price of him was £35; would be very dear in Dumfries. I ride two hours every day; and really hope to get benefit by and by,—tho' the effect hitherto is rather an increase of biliousness; which I am told is common in such cases. I really have been kept terribly busy and much harrassed all Spring and Summer; I long very sincerely indeed to be thro' this affair, and out into the Country again!

But alas we are still a good way from that. The first volume is fairly done and printed: but we have hardly the fifth part of the Second ended yet. I think it may be three months almost before I am fairly off. However, the Book does prove a little better than I expected; and will perhaps be of some use by and by; which is a kind of consolation. Did you get a fraction of a leaf of it, with some little Note of mine? I think I sent you such a thing: I did not see in your last Letter any notice that it had arrived.

Jane has recovered greatly since the weather grew fairly warm. We have it now hot enough, after long months of barren cold. The people are all mowing, a heavy crop of fine natural hay, as I ride abroad thro' the field lanes here: the smell of it is sweeter than any perfume to me. I ride alone; strive to keep out of people's way as much as possible.

Dear Brother, you too I suppose are broiling away at field-labour in the Canadian heat. I am very glad to learn that you are got more moderate; violent working was always one of your faults. And the little Bairns are at their schooling; and Jenny is busy within doors; and you, as head of the house, have many cares;—and God's fair sky bends over all. May His blessing be with you, dear Alick, you and all dear to you! And so good Night.—Your affectionate Brother,

T. Carlyle

Jane sends her affectionate regards to you and all of you. When little Jane takes the pen in hand, I do not see why she should not write a line to her Namesake here.—