The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 10 May 1827; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18270510-TC-AC-01; CL 4:222-223.


21 Comley Bank, 10th May 1827.

My Dear Alick— … The most important part of my present commission is to direct you to call at Annan on Thursday for Fifty Pounds which I this day paid into the Commercial Bank for your use, the further supplies not being ready yet for a few days. …

I know not whether you immediately require a larger sum; but if you do you have only to speak; for after Monday £100 will be lying at our disposal here: Tait having paid me the residue of my debt, by a Bill convertible (at his expense) into Cash in the course of four days. I was not bound to take a Bill at all, but hard money, the sum being due on the 15th of April; but the poor man put on such a rueful countenance, that I could not in common charity refuse him. My assent to this harmless measure seemed to roll a millstone off his heart; and in the excess of his gratitude he even made me a present of another Copy of the German Romance, which I am about sending off to Mr. Robinson1 of London, who had right to expect one of me. I hope, with this, therefore, that for the present I have done with Tait, and that my next Bookseller may be not worse but better than he. …

My pen is very bad; I am in a hurry too, and can write to no purpose, except as Dr. Ritchie2 said, “on the point—and the bare point.” I have not told you of my journey, which was tedious but safe, and brought me to this “bit hadding o' my ain, fra that” [small dwelling of my own, for all that] before late night. Since then my days have flowed along as quietly as heretofore; after rather too large an allowance of idleness, I again betook me to my Book;3 in which though making but sorry progress, I am determined to persevere to a conclusion in spite (to use the words of Landalls)4 “in spite of the Devil and all his Angels” (Bile included), who I cannot but suppose must naturally be rather anxious, for their own sake, to stop my progress. Of adventures with men or things I have had none worth mentioning: indeed often enough I visit not the town all day; but turn my steps in the opposite direction towards the Frith, where I have already bathed four times, with great brevity; and I hope more profit than pleasure. I wish to Heaven only, I were not such a blockhead, but could either write better at my task, or be satisfied with worse. In the meantime we must just do the best we can, boy.5

… Tell my Mother that we will certainly come and see her, whether the reek [smokiness] is cured or not, though surely it would be no worse if it were. Tell her also that she must be prepared to spin socks at the Craig, otherwise things will not do. Meanwhile I am going to ask her for a box from Scotsbrig the first time Farries travels hither. For she must know our oatmeal went done last night, and there is nothing here of that sort to be compared with yours.

… Jane sends her best regards to one and all: tell my Mother that she had actually made me a waistcoat (I have it on even now) during my absence, and the prettiest in my possession.

Good-night, my dear Alick!— I am ever your affectionate Brother,

T. Carlyle.