The Collected Letters, Volume 2


TC TO JAMES JOHNSTON; 18 February 1823; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18230218-TC-JJ-01; CL 2:287-289.


[18 February 1823]

My dear Johnston,

It was a curious coincidence that just at the moment when your letter was handed in to me, I was busily engaged in scribbling one to you. The state in which the Cupar affair stands at present was better than my hopes:1 I forthwith laid aside my scrawl and wrote down a certificate, which I have now transferred to the other side of this sheet: if it can aid you in the smallest I shall feel exceedingly happy. In fact I do think the matter looks rather favourably at present. Do you exert yourself like an indefatigable man to bring it to a fortunate issue; get testimonials from all and sundry, go down to Cupar if you can conveniently, and stir the waters in every direction. Were you once fairly seated in the chair of that Academy, I should cease to fear for your success in life, for [the] obtaining of that modest and genuine happiness which your own [heart] longs after, and to which your merits so well entitle you to aspire. Indeed I do not fear, at any rate: you have only to persist in steadfast patience, and many situations quite as enviable as this will lie within your easy reach. Be of good cheer, then, whatever happens! Let no effort be wanting in the mean time, and if all efforts will not gain the object, say with Frederick the Great: Another time we will do better. Have you written to Mitchell? If not, lose no moment. About ten minutes ago I received a letter from Irving: he is flourishing like to a tree near planted by a river:2 I will make him send the paper you require—if possible—but he is lazy as ever man was, or busier by far than I should wish to be. Have you heard of his Sermon-book?3 It is coming out presently. I doubt not it will cause the ear to tingle.— We have no news here or have heard none from Annandale worth mentioning. Our poor Aunt Agnes has at length ceased her sufferings and complainings: she died rather suddenly about a month ago: I felt more on the occasion than I could have expected. She was a harmless tho' most unhappy soul. Since newyearsday I have been very inconstant in regard to health: at present I am weak, weak. But the Bullers purpose going to Largs in Summer; and I entertain the grandest hopes from quietness and country air. It is a cursed thing this want of health; but one cannot help it. John is well and busy: he desires to be most kindly remembered by you: he would write if he had aught to say—or time to say it. Duncan4 also is well. When will you write to us? Do not linger so long as you did last time, else—! Be busy in this matter of Cupar, and let us know regularly how it proceeds. I am always (My dear Friend) Most sincerely your's Th: Carlyle