January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 14 July 1830; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18300714-TC-JAC-01; CL 5:120-123.


Craigenputtoch, 14th July, 1830—

My Dear Brother,

Your Letter is just come; and having an opportunity tomorrow, I write in great haste to say more explicitly what I am sorry you have not understood already, that there is no necessity for your coming home at present;1 the only case you could have done any special service in being now quite taken out of our hands. Go forth then, take Lodgings, and commence instantly like a man.

Our Mother went home on Friday, with Alick, and got your Letter next day. You must write her a longer one next time; and begin in time. I am very sorry for her, poor Mother: she is sickly in body as usual, and will long, long be sick at heart. I am to see her again, when I have got a little work done. Our Father has cured his cough by paregoric and time; but still complains that he cannot eat and has no strength except to sit about the fire and read. I think, the disease lies chiefly in his spirits, rendered dull and despondent by a decay of the digestive faculty. He is but an impatient patient, as you know; were he worse he would perhaps be better. On the whole, however, he is much fallen off at present;—not so much thin as loose in flesh; and never till this summer has been an old man. One knows not what to fear: but I still think there is no danger of him for a long time. Worthy old man, with all his fractious habits! The noblest statue still encircled in this extraneous marble! Let us trust that he will long be spared us.

We are all sad and dull about her that is laid in the Earth: I dream of her almost nightly, and feel not indeed sorrow, for what is Life but a continual Dying?—yet a strange obstruction, and haunting remembrance. Let us banish all this; for it is profitless and foolish:

Thy quiet goodness, spirit pure and brave
What boots it now with tears to tell?
The path to Rest lies thro' the Grave:
Loved Sister, take our long Farewell!2

We shall meet again too, if God will: if he will not, then better we should not meet. Enough of this.

Mr Fraser and the Whittakers have done me, heedlessly enough, considerable mischief. Of the former I think and can think nothing but well; only he shall have as little more to do as possible with my affairs: for the last ten months, I have been driven out of all true reckoning, and kept in the paltriest embarrassment.3

I agree with you that it will be good to take that Book out of his and their hands; and have the pleasure at least of wrapping string about it, and laying it in one[']s drawer. One or two other openings there are, which I will previously try. Pray desire Mr F. to take no farther trouble or concern with the matter; but to give you the Manuscript; which do you lock carefully up, till farther notice. I write off to a new merchant about it this very night; for which reason also I must write no more to you.—

This is a dreadful season with wind, wet and cold; and for the poor has a most threatening aspect. There is a North-East thundering against this chimney-top (the dining-room, for Jane is gone to Templand, and I am quite alone), and battering on windows and sky-lights—that might do honour to December.— Here, however, we have grass in plenty, and a promise of crop far above the average; the soil being dry.

Many thanks for your punctuality in regard to the Newspaper, which never disappoints us. Thanks also for your news electioneering and other: only why have we not four times as much. The whole household begs you to write on Sunday, or even Saturday, and fill your sheet. We are in the dark about much. Yet grateful for the smallest glimmering. Therefore rather write in fractions than forbear or even delay.— Alas! it is half past Eleven and I have still a business letter to write (about that Book!);4 about which I will tell you all if it come to anything—or nothing and I had time. I care scarcely three farthings about this or aught earthly: but will travel on so long as I have legs, let the ways be dry or muddy, the entertainment for man and horse good, indifferent, or bad.

Cochrane the Treuttel & Würz Editor wrote me a Letter the other day, wanting stoof [stuff] for his Review: I put him off with soft words.5 Eheu! Eheu! But good night, dear Jack, and God ever bless you! Your affectionate Brother— T. Carlyle.

I am writing at my Second Volume, and try to do my task daily; have done it today. I would give gold that I had Finis written to the whole blether [nonsense], for it is and will be no better. Write soon & long.