The Collected Letters, Volume 1


TC TO ROBERT MITCHELL; 11 January 1815; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18150111-TC-RM-01; CL 1:35-37.


Annan. 11th. Jany 1815

My dear Mitchell,

I must send a cover to a long farrago of stuff—and in order to save appearances, and to avert the dire threats of bonds and imprisonment which you so liberally deal out in your last letter1—I have sat down to give you an account of my life and conversation, since I saw you last— Nothing material happened [to] me in town after your parting from me—and except purchasing ‘Campbell's Poems,’2 and transacting quelques petites affaires [some small matters] which it is needless to trouble you with, and getting my lungs well nigh suffocated with the foul air, and the tympanum of my ears nearly torn to pieces with the warwhoops of the Edinr Hug-manae-night3—I might have been said to be stationary. On Sunday morning I left Edinr on the out side of the Coach, like you, in the gayest humour in the world: but before riding half-a-dozen miles the ‘biting breezes’ of the East began to disturb me—and notwithstanding the consolation I derived from a shaggy great coat—and from comparing the dread-nought appearance of our Gaurd (who to a natural obesity of body altogether hyperbolical, had ad[ded] the adventitious aids of 2738.5 cubic inches of solid cloth and [l]eather, in the form of a tremendous impenetrable rouqelaure4—and surmounted the whole of this terror-striking apparatus, with an awful broad-brim'd hat:—displacing as he stood not less than 12 solid feet of air) with the pitiful woe-worn visages of two fell[ow]-travellers—whose livid noses and rattling teeth proclaimed (one would [hav]e thought) that the hour of their dissolution was at hand—not-withstanding all this—by the time we reached Hairstanes5 I was right thankful, that I got into the inside of the ‘leathern conveniency’—where I continued all the way to Moffat. I made shift to fall into a kind of torpor whilst travelling down the Tweed—at least to shut my eyes upon the bleak and barren uniformity of its ash-grey hills—till on our vehicle suddenly stopping, I thrust out my head—and described Tweed-Shaws6— Recollecting your and my horrid circumstances a few days before—I could not help silently ejaculating a fervent prayer, that I might never again be under the necessity of passing a night in the residence of the men of Tinwald7—nor of ever passing another instant of my existence with the Red Cuddy of Moffat.8— But my paper is almost done—and only half my journey compleated— ‘brief therefore will I be.’9 I lef[t] moffat at midnight in the Glasgow mail—and having arrived at home about 4 o'clock—proceeded to Annan on tuesday morning—safe and sound after all my perils and tribulations. If you can draw any ‘soul-comforting reflections’ from this, much good may they do you— Meantime

I remain / your (servant to command) /

Thomas Carlyle

2 o'clock Thursday morning—