The Collected Letters, Volume 1


TC TO WILLIAM GRAHAM; 15 December 1821; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18211215-TC-WG-01; CL 1:412-413.


Edinburgh, Cusine's Lodgings, / 5 College Street, / 15th Dec., 1821.

My dear Friend,

There seems to be something peculiarly untoward in your movements & mine, of late, as viewed on connexion with each other. You had left Annandale about a fortnight before my arrival; and you returned to it just out of time to let me know what might have been the very joyful fact of your presence there. The kind note1 containing this latter piece of intelligence only reached me, in the regular tardy mode of conveyance, about three weeks ago. I was ignorant of your “whereabout,” or I would have written to you forthwith. Nay, before leaving home, I had begun a most heroical epistle intended for your perusal, and proceeded so far as the third page in completion of it, when the sad thought struck me that the whole tenor of my observations would too probably but aggravate your feelings, in place of alleviating them, and I wisely committed the unfortunate sheet to its natural destination, the flames. Thank Heaven! you are once more upon your own feet, your resources unimpaired, your character unsullied, or rather more deeply hallowed in the sympathies of all that know you; in a short time, when freed from the many abstractions that have for years so gallingly cramped every effort, you will have it in your power to act with all your natural vigour and sagacity; and Willie (if I may name my friend so) will yet rise and waur [defeat] them a'.2 Yes, and soon: neither I, nor those that know for better, doubt it for a moment.

I write at present merely to solicit your address, and beg you to let me have a letter immediately—that is as soon as possible. Irving (alas!) is now in great part lost to both of us; at least the daily visitations of his benign friendliness must be denied us for a period of indefinate length: and does it not behove the survivors to stick even more closely together on this account? I hold that there is no finer thing in Nature than to pour out the feelings of one's heart into another heart that loves us; to sit down to a fair sheet, when distance forbids the tongue its office, and take up your pen with a determination to put out all kinds of matter—nonsense or sense, no matter which—with the certainty that whatever comes from that quarter, nonsense or sense as it may happen, will excite some pleasing interest in the quarter whither it is going. I beg you will adopt this opinion and act upon it towards me permanently and without delay. I will tell you all my outgoings and incomings, my translations, and compilings and composings, all the poor things I do and the great things I intend, with the utmost punctuality if you give the proper encouragement. You know what is proper encouragement in such a case; and need not be assured that I remain,

Yours most sincerely, /

Thos. Carlyle.3