The Collected Letters, Volume 1


TC TO THOMAS MURRAY; 18 June 1814; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18140618-TC-TM-01; CL 1:12-15.


Dumfries 18th. May [June] 18141.—

My Dear Murray,

all is over!— But ‘I will tell your honour the whole story just as I got it.’2 Attend, therefore, and before proceeding further, I must beg your indulgence for many inaccuracies that must unavoidably occur in this epistle; and I am confident, I would obtain it, if I could take up time in telling you under what circumstances I now write.— But this is nothing to the purpose:—and—‘to our tale’.

You must know, then, that after parting from you on Wednesday-evening, I jogg'd on at a round pace, and arrived at Noble-house3 (jaded enough) about the ninth hour:— ‘We have no room here, Sir’ said the maid ‘the house is full of French prisoners—we have just now sent seven of them away’;—‘so then I can't stay?—eh bien!’ said I, shrugging up my shoulders—and turning my face towards Newland-bridge ‘I know the worst of it’. Right wearied, I did arrive at Newland-bridge, a little before ten, and was fortunate enough to procure lodgings sufficiently comfortable. But to detain you no longer with these minutiae— I started next morning at five—and, sp[l]ashing and plunging thro' wet and mud and mire (for it rained the whole day), I arrived at Moffat about five in the evening—procured a seat in the Coach—and entered the purlieus of this good town about nine. I found my uncle's house—and got every thing as I would have had it.

On Friday afternoon, I made bold to call upon Mr. White.4 Figure to yourself a lank, grim, raw-boned Don-Cossack-looking man of about 6 feet in height and sixty years of age—voila M. White. I told him my story, and was very cordially invited to break-fast, next morning. I went, and found with him Mr. Haig Teacher of English here—Mrs and two Misses White:—when my name was announced, I could perceive a smile playing upon the countenances of the company—however, not a single ‘remark’ was made upon Donald and Walsh, and consequently our controversy never came upon the tapis.5 I staied with him till eleven this morning, talking of Mathematics &c—and as far as I could see into him he appears to be a man of great Mathematical knowledge—of much reading—and deep research. He informed me that he was examiner of the candidates for Annan—that he himself had stood trials and that we might depend upon being tenderly and genteely used.

Well, to come to the crisis.— I proceeded, after meeting Mr Dalgliesh, the rector, Mr Waugh, Mr. Hurst &c (Mr. Footy [underscored twice] was not there) to the Globe inn, where I was introduced to Francy Thomson,6 concerning whom I need not say a word, since you know him already. After a great number of professions of candour—justice, honour &c. from all parties the questions, with all due ceremony were produced—and to solve them Francy and I were left with the room to ourselves. Two hours were allowed us; and the Examiner [underscored twice], called upon us repeatedly to see that all things were rightly understood. Not to detain you with many words— White gave in his report in favour of your humble servant, who was in consequence invested in due form, with his office, together with all rights and appurtances thereunto belonging; and had his health drunk (we had already dined) and success wished him by the Directors of the Annan Academy and all the members of the company.— This arduum certamen [lofty contest] is thus you see come to a close— Thank Heaven for it! say I.— I must add, that I enter upon my office on Monday morning, and consequently that I must leave this to-morrow morning. I can't be in Edinr therefore—at this time. Mr. Waugh7 is coming to Edinr, I believe in a week—to teach; and I will likely consign to him the charge of Messrs. Hay and Biddle8— together with the charge of another letter to your worship.

You will readily excuse the egotism of this letter, for it is what you desired— I therefore make no apology on that head.— Neither do I beg your pardon for putting you to the trouble of superintending the conveyance of my trunks; but order you, without scruple, to see them safe off—and also to tell Jack and Mrs. For[r]est9—what has been the result of all this proceeding.—

I proceed now to tell you how I have transacted yours and the bards10 business. I gave in both your letters to the Courier office, on friday— I delivered the poet's letter to Preacher;—and having met Jeffrey11 on the street I gave him his also.— By the way don't forget to tell Mr Irving, that Preacher complains very much of ‘Fair Helen’ never yet being come—and says he could have sold many a copy, had he had them here.

You will see by the hand writing, as well as the substance of this letter, that at present, I'm nae the thing [not quite well]: and as I myself am sensible of that,— I will have done immediately. In good truth I have nothing more to say; but merely that I desire you to give my compliments to Mr. and Mrs Irving—to Mr. & Mrs Forrest—and by all manner of means not to forget Miss J. Merchant among the number of my friends. You can ask her (if you like) whether the large stone of Braid12 is melted away yet—and you can tell yourself if she say no, that there is one boy [underscored twice] in this planet, that does not care three halfpence about the matter.— This is all Greek to you—no matter.

My Dear Tom, write me directly—and regularly; for as I shall have few or no acquaintance in Annan, the correspondence of a friend will be doubly acceptable. You shall hear from me soon—and I will then be able to enter more into detail—at present I have only time to say, that I remain

Dear Murray, / Yours truly, /

Thomas Carlyle.

P.S. Direct to me at Annan Academy—and write directly—