October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 25 December 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18311225-TC-MAC-01; CL 6:76-77.


4. Ampton Street, December 25th 1831—

My Dear Mother,

I will send you a little word on the Cover, as I usually do, when no better may be. Jane is making some movement towards writing a word to her namesake; so the frank may come to be pretty well filled. These franks are a great “temporal blessing”: Jeffrey comes often about us again, and is always serviceable in that way at least.

The Note is for our Cousin Will Brown, who I perceive is busy at his old trade of seeking Farms again. He sent me a very anxious piteous Letter how he had offered for Linnbrigford,1 and could hear nothing of it: I wrote to the Manager, and got this Note which I have folded anew and directed to Wull; whereby I think it will appear too probable that he is not to get the place, and may as well ‘decline from it’2 without farther vexation.

I wrote to Jack on Tuesday last, a long and very close Letter; perhaps I shall have another from him in some three weeks. It was every way lucky that he got that situation, for nothing waited him here but hardship: I trust this may be the beginning of better things for him. For me there is no promotion in the s[lightest] degree probable; indeed I know not whether it be so much as desireable: [at all] events, I can do without it. I sent your Message faithfully to Jack; and took part of it myself as it passed me: the beginning and end of all wisdom lies in it.

Let Jane not forget to write very soon, and tell me how all goes on with you. I hope my Father has recovered from his cold, and takes care of himself in this ugly weather. Do you also, my dear Mother, be very careful; that I may see you again in Spring, not wasted and sickly, but active and brisk. May we all be ‘not only glad but thankful’3 for such blessings!

I cannot yet appoint any time when we are likely to move from this Babylon. Winter is nastier here than even at Craigenputtoch, so far as weather goes: reek, damp and glar[mud], these are the three elements[.] However, there is much to interest one, much to instruct. I hope I shall not come home no wiser than I went. Few people speak of the Reform Bill; all are heartily sick of such jargoning about it: there will be an outburst soon, unless they get on; yet nobody expects that the business will be got done before March. Grant us patience! This is a frightful empire at this moment; an empire in the death-throes, and must be born anew!

One of the most interesting sights we see is that of some young men struggling to escape from the general baseness: one of the strangest of them is a certain W. Glen a friend of Jack's, born near Craigenputtoch, but last from Glasgow, and now struggling forward here to be an Advocate. He has neither father nor mother, nor kith nor kin, but one young Brother a Clerk in Glasgow. He is almost distracted with the perplexities that have encumbered him; a man of really wonderful gifts, which he can no way turn to use. Perhaps I can do him some good: at all events, he is unspeakably grateful, and looks up to me almost as his Prophet. Last night he was near kissing me!

I must now go, dear Mother. Bid Jane write soon: give my kindest affection to every one from my Father downwards. Remember us always: God is around us all; with Him we are all united. Ever Your Affectionate Son,

T. Carlyle—