The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 7 March 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18260307-TC-JAC-01; CL 4:49-51.


Hoddam Hill, Tuesday [ca. 7 March 1826]—

My Dear Jack,

I have now got over my five sheets; and before packing them up, I must send you a small “scrape of a pen” to signify at least that I am alive and well disposed to you; however little either of these speculative facts may be available in practice at present. Macorkindale is the King of Typographers: he goes on like the diurnal Sun; and it were cruel in the extreme to extinguish his light by my idleness. I must hurry therefore, and you as usual must be patient.

I have read these leaves of your thesis;1 and really I find them very far beyond my expectation, which had satisfied itself with ranking your Latin (I now discover) far too little above the usual Grinder Latin. Some of these sentences are quite good. The sense too so far as it extends in these few lines is clear and flowing; and I have no doubt, if the rest in any way correspond to it, your Essay will be very far above the average. Get Mitchell to look over the paper for you, if you find him so disposed: his judgement may throw light on many points. If not, the Immortal will suffice. My perusal of these sentences has been very cursory; and my re[marks] need give you little disturbance: I am rusted in my Latin, which was never of the clearest; notwithstanding, I think between us two we could write a very moderate Thesis, without farther help from any one. Send me the whole whenever it is ready; and I will give it a more deliberate perusal.

When you take this book over to Tait, tell him that I am rising into higher favour with the Book (or rather it with me) as I advance farther: my only terror is for the want of those German works; I shall be out of work in 4 weeks if they do not come; and M'Cork in three weeks more. Ask Tait if there is no inkling of them. I believe I shall write this very week to Julius of Hamburg: of this also you can forewarn Tait, calming his raven [ravenous] spirit at the same time with information that for Julius' books I shall pay, requiring only of Tait that he be my agent in transmitting the cash to the Hamburg Bookseller.

Farm-taking proceeds here with its wonted vigour. Geordie Irving has by dint of Hypothecation now fairly renounced his task: and the farm of Scotsbrig is to be relet tomorrow. Carlyle of Waterbeck2 has recommended our husbandmen in the handsomest manner; nay has even volu[n]teered to become their caution for the first three years. The Slipfit (acquainted with the Factor) has also written; Alick was at Dumfries last week; and to crown the whole, our Father & he are off this morning, wet tho' it was, in the highest hope, to make a bold stroke for this patch of his Majesty's dominions. Had you seen the two when they pricked off, and turned their faces to the wide world! Alick on Larrey, with the old dreadnought, and caprioling as if in Astley's Circus;3 the goodman on the outside of a dirty tawlie [tame] shelty which he had borrowed from Murray of Cowthwaite; a thing no bigger than a Bamborough ewe; and so thin that the Head of the Family declared he felt as if he were riding on a fir deal!4 There they went; and at this very hour, I doubt not, they are wriggling with factors and trying if they can possibly bid and low to proper purpose, which they had good hopes of doing. On thursday-morning we shall know: I will send you word most probably straightway if they do not prosper; for in that case, nothing will remain for me that I see but a cottage in Edinr. I have been at Scotsbrig myself; and am by no means so highly taken with it, tho' for a summer residence it might do, and farther than that I do not at present contemplate using it. Next time I write, you are sure to know how all things stand.

Our Mother sends you her best love: and declares that the very next time Farries goes northward, you shall have butter and eggs and puddings not a few. Swineheads also shall not be wanting. On this you may count with some certainty. I told the Mainhill bodies of your wishes for news; and they promised, but have not performed. The way of the world! They are in truth “top needlewomen,” but bottom penwomen: so you must forgive them.

What is become of Constable? Sir W. Scott has [found?] his heart again, or he could not write Malagrowthe[r.]5 [These] Letters are first rate favourites with us all, our M[other not ex]cepted.— For news here I may tell you that Waugh has advertised “his property” for sale, and then adjourned the day (which was to be last Thursday), because—the advertisements, stuck up over all Annan, were then discovered to be wrong-printed! Also, Will Carruthers, of Breckon-hill or Howcleugh, has taken “Callender Jardine's” old house in Ecclefechan, and at Whitsunday it is said is to commence there as—Drapier! “God bless me, what a substantial genius!”

I must now to my tasks, and wish you good b'ye. Write, as liberally as you can: and believe me ever

Your affecte Brother, /

Thomas Carlyle.