October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 18 April 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460418-TC-AC-01; CL 20: 171-172


Chelsea, 18 April, 1846

My dear Brother,

Having again got a Note from Jack just last night, which in a rough way conveys the latest intelligence from Annandale, and an account of your Letter to me as received there,—I will send it off, and a hasty word of my own to go with it. I did the like by last Packet: we should use the benefits of the Post-Office, when for a little coin it will carry friendly news in never so rough a state.

Your Letter by Boston came about a week ago,—not conveyed, I think, by steam: but right welcome when it did come. The “price,” which you ask after, was 8 pence: a very cheap price! Do not neglect to send us the smallest word when you can, whatever the price be.— — Your Letter pleased me much; and your new name of Bield,—“better a wee bush than nae bield”;1 across the Water too, the same great sky envelopes us all! I am very glad, and very sad both in one, to figure you toiling like a man, in your vocation, far away there. Brother Jack seems to lament that you are not merry of humour or of situation: alas, there is not any “mirth” for any of us any more! A serious heart can hope to be calm in this most serious world; but need not long to be joyful: joy is not our portion here; grim battle is; and some victory,—and what of peaceable and good the Great Father, in the Eternities, has appointed for us, after battle! Courage, my brave Brother. We will try to work well and wisely, whether sad or cheerful, each in his task here; and look not to changeful Fortune, but to something far beyond that, for our blessedness.— And withal let us not be sad, but quiet, clear and free; prepared for all things.

I also liked little Jane's Letter immensely! Poor little creature: it seems but yesterday when I first saw her on your knee at Scotsbrig, with little hands like her Father's; and now she is growing a young Canada lass, full of sense and spirit I see; and will do a pretty part there, I hope! The Letter is to be returned from Scotsbrig for Jane's (my Jane's) especial perusal, who being in the Country still has not yet seen it. She comes home now in two days; and that is ended. I have sent little Jane a Newspaper today, or kind of three-halfpenny Journal, as memorial of me.

The Irish are starving; there will be bad work before the new food of the year can come! Our Parliament meanwhile goes on debating its Anti Corn-Law; perfectly plain that Peel must prevail,—so that few people read their jargon: nevertheless there it goes on, and will go, it is said, throughout the whole Session.2— I am very glad you got the Book on Oliver, tho' it cost you enormously. An American Copy can be got for half a dollar! You shall have some way or other a Copy of the Second edition free of cost: you can then give the First to Brother John if he care for it.3 I go still fagging in attendance on my Printers: I think it will be a month yet or more before we end. I have got my Horse back from his winterquarters, which does me good. Our Spring is very forward, but very wet: you will see how Jamie and the rest go on.— Poor Robie Irving the Fiddler,4 you will see his death in the last Courier; all have to go!— My kind affection to Jenny and all the young ones from Jane down to the new one still in arms.5 Poor little Suckling may his new Country be propitious to him. May all prosper at the little Bield that is far away! I still think to see it yet some day.

Adieu, dear Brother. T. Carlyle