The Collected Letters, Volume 1


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 9 August 1821; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18210809-TC-AC-01; CL 1:376-377.


Edinburgh, 9th August 1821.

My dear Alick— I have merely a few minutes to write you in; and my head is turning sadly during the operation—for I have been dining and gaffaaing [laughing] with one Nichol,1 a Mathematical Teacher here. But half a minute would suffice to say all my say; which is only to tell you that I design to come home forthwith, that is to say, on Monday next, the 13th of August, in the year of Grace eighteen hundred and twenty-one. I shall mount the Dumfries mail-coach about eight of the clock on that important morning: and I expect to be in Moffat (no miracle occurring to stop me) about four in the afternoon.

Therefore, my dear Alick, you will proceed instantly, on receipt of this, and attach the quadruped Dumple to the rack, giving him what corn and hay he is able to consume; that so on Monday morning that famous charger may be strengthened to undertake the journey to Moffat, and transport my carcass down to Mainhill upon his back. …

Within the last three weeks, I have written almost as much as I had ever written before in the whole course of my natural life. Not only my own two stipulated Articles, but another, which the very shifty Editor called upon me not to write only but to manufacture, the proper Author, one Erskine, a Laird, having fallen sick,—or gone stupid (I should say stupider), and not being able to finish what he had already begun and even got printed.2 It was such a job. But I have done it all now; and spite of that wretched bog, I am merry as a maltman. They are printing it even now; and if you but saw my table; how it is covered with manuscripts and first copies and proofsheets and pens and snuffers and tumblers of water and pipes of tobacco! But no matter.

On Monday morning then, you will start about nine o'clock and meet me pointedly. If you cannot come, even Jamie3 would do; but you would do better. Should circumstances prevent you, however, do not mind it: I shall wait till eleven, and then ascend the Glasgow mail—appearing, in that case, at Mainhill before duck-rising. …

I was going to bid you call for this letter on Saturday; but I am a Scot and no Irishman to produce bulls;4 therefore I trust to Fate that you will get the news on Sunday at farthest.

Good-night, my dear Alick! I am amazingly sleepy—but notwithstanding always, your affectionate Brother,

Thomas Carlyle.