candlestick

1824- 1825


The Collected Letters, Volume 3


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TC TO MRS. WILLIAM JOHNSTONFor Mr. and Mrs. Johnston and the visit which Carlyle and Jane soon paid to them, see JBW to TC, 2 Sept., Carlyle's note.; 26 August 1825; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18250826-TC-MRSWJ-01; CL 3:371-372.


TC TO MRS. WILLIAM JOHNSTONFor Mr. and Mrs. Johnston and the visit which Carlyle and Jane soon paid to them, see JBW to TC, 2 Sept., Carlyle's note.

Hoddom Hill, 26th August [1825].

My Dear Madam,—

I have appeared dilatory in sending these books, because my father had lent one of them, and it was a process requiring more time than might have been expected to get it back. I must also plead guilty to keeping it about a week in my own possession after it was fairly returned to me. If the contents please, you will readily forgive me all this. I am still as indolent as ever, or very nearly so, a mere spectator of the “tragi-comi-pastoral farce”2 of existence, or at best but a candlesnuffer, snuffing a few German rushlights, to let the actors see better how to bear themselves. In time, I doubt not, some “secondary part” may be given to me too, and I shall strut and bellow like the rest. For the present, the will of fate be done! If it were not for the genius of sloth I would visit Grange about twice a week. As it is, I mean some day to make a desperate pull, and try to get so far beyond [t]his thraldom for a little while. I have yet had, as it were, no talk with you at all: nothing but the mere preliminaries to talk. Meanwhile I beg of you to think of me sometimes, as kindly as you can: and to believe that at all times, absent or present, I am, with much respect, my dear madam, your sincere friend,

Thomas Carlyle

Make my kindest compliments to Mr. Johnston; and do me the justice to believe that necessity, not choice, made me use this dandy paper.3