The Collected Letters, Volume 1


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 25 December 1821; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18211225-TC-MAC-01; CL 1:418-419.


[3 Moray Street, Leith Walk,] Edinr, 25th Decr 1821—

My dear Mother,

I have a small slip of paper here, which I may as well fill for you as not, before concluding my epistolary operations for the day. Alick will tell you enough about my shiftings to and fro: so I shall pass that sad subject. Notwithstanding all my ups and downs, however, I have not been idle in my daily labours. I contrived all along to finish my stated quantity of translation1 as well as to manage my teaching—and thus to comfort myself by the thought of making the way at least as long as the day. Soon I am to begin some Reviews, and some articles for the Encyclopedia. That is to say, in the evenings; for I do not intend neglecting my good mechanical job of Translation, on any except a very pressing account till it is finished. After these Reviews &c are finished—some five weeks hence—I must begin—the book. Every body2 is pressing as well as you for me to commence forthwith. I wish for the sake of all my friends, and of none more than you—tho' you care little for such things—that I could make this work famous & to be held in estimation. Alas! that the spirit is so willing, the flesh so weak! However what is in me I shall do; and the production must be as Providence will have it.

In the mean time, I am slowly gaining ground here, by proceeding in the usual way. I have a great deal more confidence in myself (which you will say I did not want already) than I had last year; and I find people generally disposed to treat me with more respect. I find no person whom I can love in Edinr: but many whom I can spend an hour of talking with; and that is almost all one gets anywhere. In time I shall fall in more completely.

Tho' my days have been too idly spent since I returned to Edinr, I am still under a promise to go over to Fife to speak with Swan3 about his boy, and see my old townsmen for a day or two. I am going about Friday; and purpose returning next day after the last of this year. To-day, I am to eat my Christmas dinner with Dr Brewster. And after all these things; I must set to business, and work like a galley-slave. What hope have I else?

It will be 1822 before I write again. Accept, my dear Mother, the kind wishes of my heart, that the year now arriving may be happy for yourself and all that both of us love! and that when our allotted span of years is done, we may meet in that far and bright Country, where sorrow and sighing shall flee away!4 Give my love to all of them, My Father first, Jenny last not least. You have forgot to send my Bible; and I, three or four times to write about it. Adieu!

Your affectionate Son, /

Thos Carlyle

I must absolutely insist on the whole people old and young writing to me. I am panting for lack of intelligence. Write! Write