The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 1 February 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400201-TC-AC-01; CL 12: 25-27


Chelsea, 1st Feby, 1840—/ Saturday.

Dear Alick,

Take a single word from me today, to signify that Jack is actually off. He went this morning at 8 o'clock; was to breakfast with his man up in town, and then go by the railway at ½ past 9. They are, if they have prospered as was natural, about Birmingham at this hour. They are in the Mail-train. It was uncertain whether they would not go right on with the mail-bags over to Dublin this very night: a first-rate steamer is always waiting for the mail; leaves you just an hour to get into her; and then dashes off. It would depend upon their own humour on arriving at Liverpool. They might wait if they liked till tomorrow morning, and then go with the other mail steamer: in that latter case they would arrive at Dublin tomorrow evening; in the former (which Jack seemed to prefer for his part, and think not unlikely) they would be there tomorrow morning. Tell our good Mother not to be in the least uneasy about the sea passage over to Dublin: they are the best steamers and the best navigated in the Port of Liverpool, immense strong ships, these Post-office Dublin steamers; the voyage I suppose is not farther than to Annan, and certainly attended with less risk.— Jack was to write to her from Dublin, so soon as he could find paper and ink; on Wednesday or perhaps Tuesday, you may hope to hear from him at Ecclefn that all is right. They were to stay some three days in Dublin; to which place Jack had procured numerous introductions. He was, on the whole, in good spirits this morning, and for the last day or two. He was to have his expenses borne; to look at the thing for a month; and have £50, if he did not like to concern himself with it farther; £500 with every accommodation if he chose to engage with it for a year. Better wages need not be desired. True it is not possible for a man with his hair so grey to be comfortable when he has no fixed home, or constant work: but this is a thing our Doctor, as I often told him, can alter now whenever he likes. If the situation please him ill; it will possibly be no disadvantage; for it may set him more decisively on seeking some permanent up-putting. He talked of Ryde in the Isle of Wight1 as a place to settle at; he and I talked of many places—but nothing whatever could get beyond the length of theory with us.

Poor Doil, he has left me very dull; as dull as anybody in London need be. I think how I could give him no shelter, but a most imperfect one; how he could find no home with me either; no home anywhere now, but must go and seek one for himself, as is the lot of man! Good go with him, the true Brother,—whose very faults are parts of his guileless innocent character; a man whom I scold often, but whom I love well!

No farther word from me today. We hope your household has got round again to health. Be thankful in these sad times for a small shelter; do not discourage yourself if your trade do fall off a little: how can it do otherwise in the saddest year this country has seen for long?— Thank my dear Mother for her kind word. Tell Jamie I had his Letter and, will answer it.— That Note came from Jean this morning;2 perhaps even round by London news from Dumfries may now be new!

I want you to get me a Stone more of Tobacco. Pray set about it without delay. I will say afterwards how it is to be sent &c.

God bless you all. Jane's love with mine.

Ever your affecte /

T. Carlyle—