October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 3 March 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460303-TC-AC-01; CL 20: 131-133


Chelsea, 3 March, 1846—

My dear Brother,

This is American Post-day; and tho' they are probably writing you from Scotsbrig where Jack still is, yet I know you will like to see a short line from me also; and so here I send one,—tho' my time is literally measured by minutes, and you must put up with merely a word.

We got your Letters here last month, directly after they had been at Scotsbrig: your reply to Jack's Letter (which was very kind, but I think not very wise) affected us deeply;1 filled us with approval. Your resolution on it is manful; good and genuine; and you will not fail yet to reap the benefit of that piece of virtue. No:—in fact, my dear Brother, it grows with every Letter more apparent to me that you are doing well and nobly in your new place; and, in spite of all your sorrow, are prospering much more than many who count their gains by much larger figures of arithmetic than yours! Never mind a whit what ‘monies’ you make or fail to make: that is not the question at all. So long as you stand on your own feet by your own industrious toil and the bounty of our common Father alone, no man is richer than you in the money sense; many are not half so rich. Wretched slaves with big bags of dollars or guineas; and not a thought or a purpose within the skin of them that can make a man rich! Plough the Earth, my Brother, and comport yourself like a wise husband, father and man; and never mind all that.—

I have to observe also how very much your writing is improved. You spell now nearly with perfect accuracy; write currently in a clear excellent fashion—and really tell one a good clear story about all things. I want you farther to get some blacker ink, and some good paper: you will then send us many long pieces I hope, of which we shall all get enjoyment and benefit by and by. Your descriptions of the Country and its ways are far the most intelligible to me I have ever read.

I have to gratify you by news that our friends in Scotland are all reported well; our good old Mother “better this winter than she has been for a number of years.” The good old Mother!— Jack as I said is still there; very gratifying to her, I have no doubt; in spite of the considerable racket he will keep up.— Jenny has decided on removing to Dumfries at Whitsunday; has got a small commodious place to live in, “looking out upon green ground,” somewhere in Maxwelltown. We all think she will do better there: be on her own footing at least; perhaps get some sewing work, and be in nobody's way. She has behaved herself to perfection all along, poor little Jenny. We judged that it might be best not to tell her what you had seen of the wretched Scamp she is connected with.2 There has never come any profit from mentioning his name to her: and by a kind of tacit accord all mention of him is avoided by all of us. He will probably write himself to her; and on the whole, it is on her own sense that she must depend for forming a judgement of him.

My terrible hurry with this Second Edition of Cromwell will not last so very long now. Perhaps in two months the things will be quite finished. There is new matter going into it; and my fash [bother] is reall[y] enormous at present.— I could like well to hear that you had ever got your Copy from Montreal. But if you have not, never mind over much. You shall at any rate have a Copy of the new Edition sent by some good conveyance,—and that will be better. They are making a great noise about it here; which seems to me somewhat strange. Dear Brother, my paper is done; my time is more than done! Jane has come in here from her walk; she sends many kind loves to you all, especially to her namesake Jane the Second. Blessings be with you and yours, dear Brother!— Ev[er] your affectionate T. Carlyle