The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 26 May 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400526-TC-JAC-01; CL 12: 152-153


Chelsea, 26 May, 1840—

My dear Brother,

I wrote to you at some length a few days ago; we have, since that, had a Note from your hand;1 and now, all Lecturing being over, I will send you another word.

The Lecturing business went of with sufficient éclat; the Course was generally judged, and I rather join therein myself, to be the bad best I have yet given. On the last day, Friday last, I went to speak of Cromwell, with a head full of air,—you know that wretched physical feeling! I had been concerned with drugs, had awakened at 5, &c &c. It is absolute martyrdom; my tongue would hardly wag at all when I got done. Yet the good people sat breathless, or broke out into all kinds of testimonies of good will; seemed to like very much indeed the huge ragged image I gave them, of a believing Calvinistic soldier and reformer; “sun-clear nucleus of intellect and force and faith, in its wild circumambient element of darkness, hypochondria, misery and quasi-madness,—in direct communication, once more, with the innermost Deep of things!” In a word, we got right handsomely thro'; and ought not to be in haste I apprehend to throw ourselves into the like again.— It seems they did send you the Tablet; pray send it over hither; either the whole Newspaper, or you may cut out the report, and put it in a cover. The man had drawn up a report of Mahomet (Lecture Second), but I prohibited him from proceeding. Forster is now drawing up a report of them all, for my own behoof; he for love, and also another man for hire:2 I have a serious thought of clapping down the thing in a permanent way, and publishing it farther. Forster's seemed to me far the best report; I saw his First Lecture, and requested him to proceed.

My health is certainly (one would think) better than it was last year; at least I have far more clearness, vigour of mind; but all secondary symptoms seem as bad as ever;—want of sleep &c &c; and today, over and above, I have caught a troublesome cold, and am to go and dine at the Wilsons's moreover! Daily riding, it seems, avails not. I rush out into the solitary woods and green place; the air is all odorous with blossoms, the sight reposes itself on a world of bursting greenness; three times, out in the Wimbledon region, I have heard the cuckoo,—almost with tears! I mean to persevere in riding, for some time yet; dear as it is, fruitless as it seems to be. The Carpenters are putting up sun-blinds too today, in this Library room, which I hope will render it inhabitable. Thank God, I feel as if there did lie a little more work in me,—as if my continued life and misery were not for no purpose.

We are glad you are to try your place still farther. If you do quit it, you will quit it with full knowledge of all the properties it has. A good free insight, a good brave heart, be yours always.

Last night, after long silence, these letters came from Ecclefechan.3 I imagined I had written frequently, to one or other;—but their name is Unpunctuality. I like Alick's Letter better than usual. Write soon, and at large. Yours ever

T. Carlyle