January 1835-June 1836

The Collected Letters, Volume 8


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 1 May 1835; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18350501-TC-AC-01; CL 8:106-108.


Chelsea, 1st May, 1835—

My Dear Alick,

I have learned more or less distinctly that you are actually going towards Annan; that you have engaged a House at the Howes, probably the one you were thinking of a good while ago. I could like very much to hear from yourself more minutely about it: but I know the writing of a Letter takes up time; and you will have business in plenty before you. Only three weeks or so till Whitsunday; and all your goods and gear to get transported or disposed of: roups [sales] (perhaps), settlements, and confusions of all kinds. If you have any evening to yourself, pray write to me: a full free account of what you are in the midst of, of what you see before you. At any rate, I send you this little line, in testimony of my brotherly prayers for you; that I am thinking of you, tho' far enough from the scene of your difficulties and exertions. The Frank will carry the scrap of paper, and it will not be unwelcome.

So far as I can estimate the circumstances, it seems to me you have acted wisely in that selection of an abode. Annan is of all the places in Scotland the one you appear to have the best chance at. Keep up your heart, my brave Brother; look patiently, clearly, coolly out in the business you will see going on round you; consider what thread of it you can clutch hold of, and begin winding. I believe you have abundant faculty in you for doing well; I will hope you are about beginning a more favourable course of endeavour than any you have yet engaged in.

My Mother wrote to me that you had got a new Daughter, and that all was doing well with her and her Mother. She is to be called Margaret. May she resemble her namesake! May her life be happy; or say rather, wise, which is the only kind of happiness one is entitled to look for!1

As for us, Jack's Letter and my Mother will tell you this piece of glad news, that we can hope to be with you in Annandale all together (if God will) before these new Summer leaves grow brown! You shall then hear all our adventures, at full leisure; and we shall have much to question you about in return. Let us be thankful for such expected blessings: many a lot that looks fairer than ours is without such.

Doubtless you have heard of my sorrowful misfortune of the lost Manuscript. It hauds me sair down [afflicts me sorely] for the present; but I will be thro' it; and shall fly all the lighter were that once accomplished. There never in my life befel me any mere “mischance” of a more provoking kind. I am in the Third Chapter again, and getting on slowly (for my head somehow is very stupid), yet as well as I can.— I have hope sometimes that it will really be a good Book,—in spite, literally, of the Devil.

Will you when you go to Annan remember Jane and me to Mary and her household at the Battery. We heard her lassie was ill; but in the way of recovery. There is a new Dumfries Newspaper2 of which I sent her the first Number: if Mrs Welsh send it hither regularly, I can forward it to Mary regularly. Tell me how yours is to be directed after Whitsunday.— I have sent no special compliments to Scotsbrig; but you must give my remembrances to one and all. The good little Jenny has even some claim on me for a letter (clear claim for half a letter); which shall be attended to. I hope Jamie finds the farmer-year better than many a one finds it: there have been few worse it is everywhere said. And [when] is there to be any improvement that one can depen[d] on? [Al]as, it is a tough battle all men have, and hav[e alw]ays had. Stand to it toughly, then! There is no other help.

Tell little Tom he has some new relations to see and welcome in the course of the season. Jane I suppose is grown quite a prudent young woman. Her namesake joins with me in affectionate salutation to you all. God be with you, dear Brother!

Your affectionate, /

T. Carlyle.

We have a cut of the Catlinns Ham generally every morning; and find it one of the best ever eaten. It does not disagree with me.