October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 19 February 1832; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18320219-TC-AC-01; CL 6:133-135.


4. Ampton Street, London— / 19th Feby 1832—

My Dear Alick,

I know not accurately where you are at present; except conjecturing that you are not at Craigenputtoch: but send you by way of Scotsbrig a little Note to tell you of my continued remembrance, and excite you to give me forthwith some more precise tidings. I am transmitting to our Mother a Letter from Rome; of which doubtless you also will by and by get sight: so for the present I mention only that poor Jack writes more and more like a sensible man; is well every way, and seems to be every way doing well. I sent him, in answer to his questions, all the news I had about you; and hope I shall soon have more.

Jane (of Scotsbrig) said you had promised to write to me: why do you not? I hope, it is only the pressure of Business that hinders you, and that no new evil has befallen. We must not get parted; tho' the one is to be in Nithsdale and the other in Annandale; least of all now when the Head of our Household has been taken from us, and each of those that are left ought to be dearer and closer to the rest.

We are coming home, as was already said, as early as possible in the month of March. We are busy, very busy; and in our usual health; Jane, tho' still complaining, rather better than she has long been: I do not think she is to be strong again, till she have got into her home, and native air; which of course will quicken our motions the more.

We have both of us determined to take better care of our health, were we once home again: I feel it to be a real point of duty; were it only for the greater quantity and better quality of work which good health enables you to do. We are also minded to try if we cannot be a little more domesticated among the moors at Puttoch; to take a greater interest in the people there (who are all immortal creatures, however poor and defaced); and to feel as if the place were a home for us. Such as it is, I feel it a great blessing that we have it to go to. For the whole Summer and onwards to winter, I already see plenty of work before me: how we turn ourselves afterwards, need not yet be decided on.

Under the “health” point of view, it sometimes strikes me as a pity that I had not a horse to ride on, one for myself (for Jane too I will make ride, as the wholesomest medicine I know); and one that would carry me more sharply than Harry can. Thro' the Summer, I could keep a creature of the kind without any expence: in winter again I should not like to be troubled with it. Thus it stands. As yet, however, I can see no clear light thro' it; and have no precise instructions or request to communicate on the matter. Merely, you can think of it, till we meet; and perhaps have some counsel for me then. I do not so much as know (till we see farther) whether I shall quite conveniently have money enough to spend in buying a Horse for the Summer[;] neither indeed is the whole business of essential mom[ent.]

I was very glad to learn that you had promised to my Mother to keep up Religion in your house: without religion constantly present in the heart, I see not how a man can live, otherwise than unreasonably, than desperately. I have another advice to give you, my dear Brother; which I shall enforce with brotherly earnestness when we meet: It is to cultivate, in all things, the virtue of PUNCTUALITY. There is far more in this than you suspect. To the want of Punctuality, I trace most part of all the evil I have seen in you. I think you do really in heart wish to be a good man, “as the one thing needful”;1 also that you will more and more “lay aside every weight,” and be found running the race faithfully, for the true and only prize of Manhood.2 This is my hope and trust of you, dear Brother: God turn it (for both of us) more and more into fulfilment!— Write soon, then: give our kindest wishes to Jenny, and little Jean3: believe me ever your faithfully affectionate Brother—

T. Carlyle—