The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 31 March 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18260331-TC-JAC-01; CL 4:65-66.


Hoddam Hill, Friday [31 March 1826].

My Dear Jack,

I am just setting off for Annan with this Life of Goethe1 which has held me busy for the last week and more, having swelled under my hand, which hand also was at first grievously out. I will not go, without casting you a word, to say at least that we are all well.

Andrew Smith, the useless weepie mousie, stole a march on us, and went off on Tuesday, after appointing “the middle of the week.” That same day a boy of Geordie Farries', as I was riding past on the brae here, called to me that his father was going off next morning at 1 of the clock. I rode on to Mainhill; and they slew a cock there, and boiled three swine-tongues, and washed three dozen of eggs, and bagged a stone of meal, and wrote a letter, and packed them all into a fir box, and sent off Ned the king of hashes whom they have for herd, with the whole on his back. Alas! the boy had been wilfully and maliciously lying; the Waffler stirred not, and the box was brought home again, and opened there. “There is nothing but a mixture” in this world, mother!2

Tell me accurately how much money you will need to graduate you, next time you write. They are on the borrowing order from me, and I want to put your share beyond the reach of contingency.

Jane and Jenny and Alick and Wightman are gone to Scotsbrig two days ago. They have got three new horses; and all hands are sowing and harrowing, and flitting and tearing; there never was such work seen since—the last farm was taken. By dint of extreme activity they calculate on getting in their crop in time after all.

His Honour3 seems to be in a deadly rage against the poor husbandmen and all connected with them, now that he sees they care not tippence [tip underscored twice] about him. He and I had a dialogue objurgatory and defensive, the other day, at this door. His Honour by the universal testimony came off second-best I declare I from my heart pitied him, and was sorry for the incident. It was about riding thro' the field at the Mains: Particulars next time.

The afternoon is wearing, and I must go. I have made myself extremely billus by writing this Defensio Secunda Pro Goethio Poetâ.4 I have swallowed uilzie5 this day—pah!

I am always thy Brother /

T. Carlyle.

Our Mother started with joy at the sight of “great fall in Tea” printed in the last newspaper, at the head of an advertisement by, I think, one Melrose in South-Bd street Edinr: if you can get a quarter of a pound [pack?]ed in next time (about 1/6 worth) you may send it.