The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO DAVID HOPE; 12 December 1827; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18271212-TC-DH-01; CL 4:295-296.


21. Comley Bank Row, 12th December 1827—

My Dear Sir,

My Mother is arrived here on a short visit to us, and feels extremely anxious, among other purposes, to see her old Friend, your Aunt, Mrs Hope, whom she parted with in Ecclefechan many years ago with very little expectation of ever meeting her again. I think, you once told me the old Lady lived somewhere in the outskirts of this city: if so, it will not be impossible to bring about this interview, in which I myself feel somewhat interested; having still a vivid enough recollection of that disastrous gig-expedition, which I executed under your auspices on the Moffat Road. Will you be so good as send us a note of Mrs Hope's address, and let us try if we can find her? The sooner the better, for my Mother's time is limited.

I daresay you come often to Edinburgh: how is it that you never find your way to Comley Bank? Come hither, and I will show you my little cottage, and introduce you to my little wife, who will receive you with all graciousness as her husband's Friend. Come down, the very first time you visit Edinr! There is a spare bed here, and many a reminiscence of auld lang-syne.

I am grown quite a stranger in Glasgow of late years; now that Grahame and Irving and all have left it: yet the memory of that hospitable jolly well-living city still dwells with me fresh as ever; and hopes that a time is coming when I may behold it again. Meanwhile my true prayer is, in the words of your civic emblazonry: Let Glasgow flourish! and you and all the honest hearts that have your being in it!

My Mother brings no tidings from Grahame, except that he is still at Burnswark, irrigating meadows, salting bog-hay, and striving by agricultural philosophy to make the “desart blossom as the rose.”1 I heard that he had hopes of returning to your City, and resuming traffic. I pray that it may be so; for it is a thousand pities so good and gifted a man, were not working in his proper sphere, where alone he can be happy and wholesomely active.

I have heard several times from the Caledonian Orator2 of late. He does not seem in the least millenniary in his letters: but the same old friendly man we have long known him to be. And yet his printed works are enough to strike one blank with amazement: for if the mille[n]nium is to come upon us in twenty years and odd months, ought we not to be turning a new leaf? Ought not you to shut up your Ledgers, and I my Note-books, and both of us to sit on the outlook, like Preventive-service men, spying and scenting, with eye and nostril, whether there be aught of it in the wind? Alas! Alas! The madness of man findeth no termination, but only new shapes, the old spirit being still the same. To the last, there is and will be a bee in his bonnet,3 which only in every new generation buzzes with a new note!

I am scribbling here with considerable diligence, and not without satisfaction, tho' still in very poor health. In the course of years I hope to grow better; but now, such is the extent of my philosophy, I think I can partly do whether ever I get better or not. My Brother John, the Doctor, is away to Germany; dissecting subjects I suppose, at this very date, in Munich the Capital of Bavaria. He writes to us full of wonder at the marvels of that strange land. Mrs C. and I have some thoughts of going thither next winter ourselves!

But why should I darken counsel by words without wisdom?4 Send us that address of Mrs Hope, as soon as possible; come over to Comely5 Bank the first day or night you are in Town, and believe me ever,

My Dear Sir, / Affectionately yours, /

Thomas Carlyle—