January 1835-June 1836

The Collected Letters, Volume 8


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 16 May 1836; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18360516-TC-AC-01; CL 8:345-347.


Cheyne Row, 16th May 1836—

My Dear Alick,

I do not now know who it is that stands indebted to the other: but as this frank will carry a fraction more of paper, it may take my salutation along with it. What you are about specially at this time I cannot very accurately figure to myself: perhaps going to change your abode for one more convenient in regard to position and cheapness? Or do you stay where you are, now that you know it better?— I easily conceive that your Bacon-trade is all winded up before this; and doubtless I was heartily glad to hear that it had not proved altogether unsuccessful. There is a great stir in everything connected with manufacturers at present, and perhaps this ere long may be found to tell upon the Cattle-trade and other Farm-Commerce. But let no man put faith in its lasting! It will, to a surety, be down upon him; and that with a huge crash in more or fewer months. There is just the same sort of thing going on that went on in the year 1825; and all but blind men may forsee that the issue is not doubtful, but inevitable. Only the day or the month when is uncertain. So if you are meditating any stroke of trade, I pray you keep this in your eye.

On the whole, what wiser can you do than sit still quietly till it appear whether anything feasible will turn up; or even till it appear that nothing feasible will. I am doing, in one sense, the very same here: the only difference in my favour is that I have work to do (tho' no wages for it) in the interim. Keep yourself quiet, my dear Brother; or work cheerfully at whatsoever may offer itself from day to day. It is a long lane that has no turn.1 No: there is not such a lane in this world; but good and evil, success and failure, are offered in certain measures to all men. My brave Alick shall not fail, Heaven helping! Set a stout face to it, Boy, and a smooth brow: we will see what it will come to.

Your whiskey is never done yet, and prime stuff it proves—applauded even by Archibald Dunlop (the great Haddington Distiller once, now a Manager of a Gin-factory here, such are the turns of fate):2 Jack and I occasionally brew a glass of it into good toddy, and drink your health. O how beautiful Annandale seems to my mind this summer; but I must not come, I doubt much. There is rest for me nowhere till this Book end. I will tug it out therefore: thank Heaven, there is now but one volume to do.— I recollect few pleasanter things in my late Life than those arrivals at Catlinns, and the welcome and Jenny's tea. Courage! Who knows but we may drink tea yet, as cheerfully as ever, with water from the wells of the Missouri! One's kettle will boil anywhere; there is a sky over one's head anywhere; and kind nourishing Earth under one's feet.

Jack I rather think will see you face to face soon. He is the old fellow throughout: the same childlike kindliness, brotherly frankness and love, the same fluistering [flustering], and winged incoherence of words; he has made me laugh more, one way and the other, than I had done for years in the same space. A good fellow, as ever broke this world's bread; whom we must just let alone to go his own way, and be what he cannot but be.

My Mother has all my news; which she will impart you without drawback. Give our kind love to Mary: she can tell Cook's people, that their daughter is well again.— I send my blessing to the little Children; J[ane,] I suppose, is a large hizzy by this time: Tom a great talker. Here is my Jane, to whom I lend the pen.— [JWC:] To add only kindest love and a kiss to my little namesake for I am full of business of one sort and another. This laying up of Ann has made a horrid puddle about us, and the chaos must be evolved into order again as fast as possible. We have great reason to be thankful that she did not altogether traik [waste away] on our hands. her [sic] people would never have been persuaded that the poor lump had not “died of neglect” like my Uncle Roberts child.3

God bless you all evermore / affectionately yours

[Carlyle:] Jack is up stairs, writing to our Mother. I dare not shew him this: you must take his remembrances for granted; which I can well warrant you in doing. Probably he will speak for himself soon. And so I terminate, for there is not a strawbreadth more of room. Remember me brotherlike to Jamie: I hope he sees better prospects this year. I guess, tho' I do not know, that the cann [chimney pot] at Scotsbrig is up?4— Good be with you dear Brother! T. Carlyle

Give my kind remembrances to Burnswark: I am out of all heart for writing at present;—but—!