The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 3 October 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401003-TC-JAC-01; CL 12: 272-273


Chelsea, 3 Octr, 1840—

My dear Brother,

Your Letter, which I had begun to long for, came yesterday; I sent it off in a small Note to my Mother, lest perhaps she too, short of intelligence, might have begun to have apprehensions in the late rough weather. I must send you a word today, tho' in the worst of all conditions for doing it (the old story, bile &c): to wait till Monday might perhaps fling us out of Stirling Post Office, and then we should not know w[h]ither to address.

This short Letter from my Mother is all the news I have had out of Dumfriesshire. I sent off a Box, chiefly of clothes new and old, this day by Pickford. Pray do not you neglect to send news of yourself to Scotsbrig. I could like much that you got a glimpse of Scotsbrig in passing, for our poor Mother's sake: but I fear that is very doubtful.

You lead a most nomadic life! If one were in moderately good health, and had a taste for seeing the country (as at least everybody ought to have for seeing his own Country, at least), such an existence would have pleasures and advantages. I recollect nothing farther noteworthy in your present neighbourhood, if it be not the battlefields of Falkirk (Wallace's and the Chevalier's),1 Carron Iron-works,2 Bannockburn3 (but probably you have seen all these things); then Montrose's localities would to me be notable: his old manorhouses about Keir &c, his two battle grounds, Tippermoor (3 miles from Perth), Kilsyth on the other side of you, &c &c.4— But the best news of all is that you are coming to Ryde for winter: almost next-door to us, thanks to the railways! We can hope to meet face to face in no great length of time.— You did not see Erskine I conjecture, or you would have mentioned him. Did you go and look at my old Schoolhouse in Kirkcaldy? The Kirk-Wynd would name itself to you.5 Ay de mi!

My Reviewer in the Quarterly is understood to be Sewell, an Oxford notability of the Puseyite Sect. He is a very “curious specie this by [sic]6—!” A well-disposed, not stupid man, who has got it into his head that the Shovel-hat is after all no earthly felt, but a thing that has descended out of Heaven: I praise him greatly for understanding, as he seems to do, that if it be a merely earthly felt, it is travelling rapidly to the devil. That he and the like of him are now bringing it resolutely to this crisis seems to me the fatallest phasis poor old Church-of-Englandism has ever exhibited. Let them be doing; let us be doing. Fraser, I suppose, will find his account, as you say, in this Critique:7 it is all right.

Jane en[g]ages herself in selling my Ms. Lectures to Fraser! She can do it better, she thinks. I incline to decide that if I can get no money for them, I will not print them. Cui bono [to whose good]? To loose the jaw of all the gomerils [fools] in England! Adieu, dear Brother.

Yours ever truly /

T. Carlyle