January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO MISS ANDERSON; 9 May 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18310509-TC-MISSA-01; CL 5:273-274.


Craigenputtoch, 9th May, 1831—

My Dear Madam,

I return you the two Newspapers; in which, as you predicted, I have found much vehemence with little sense; an unseemly mixture too common everywhere in these tumultuous days.

As it is not probable that we shall meet again before your departure, may I write, what I have already spoken, that melancholy word Farewell! It is seldom indeed that I have parted from Friends, so lately made mine, with such feelings as you and your worthy Mother leave with me.1 But after all, sorrow is unreasonable as it is unprofitable. What is the whole of Life but a parting one by one, suddenly or slowly, with what was dear to us; a changeful Pilgrimage, which, were there not hope of a Rest and final higher Reunion, would be too toilsome for us? Nay, I often think, we are already United, could we but see it; they even that sleep in their narrow bed, from us all hidden, are they not WITH GOD, as we too are, perhaps nearer us than we think?

For you individually, my Dear Madam, it is not pity that I feel, but something far more honourable. Your Life has been and is a heroic self-sacrifice; painful indeed, yet enviable; for what blessedness is there in the world, except that same which you enjoy, the blessedness of labouring and suffering in what is our Duty, of helping those that love us? Go forth then on your noble course, persevere in it steadfastly to the end; admired or not by idle mortal onlookers, your silent lonely struggles, be sure, are not unseen, and no one of them will remain unrewarded.

We desire a kind place in your remembrance, as you must ever retain in ours. Let us hope too that Time may not always be so unfriendly; that we may yet meet often, perhaps lighter of heart than we now are. Your Moffatt Address, at all events, you will send us: this is my Wife's particular request. Say to your Mother all that is kind from us, all that we feel. God ever keep you both!

Your affectionate, /

T. Carlyle—