The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 9 November 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401109-TC-JAC-01; CL 12: 316-317


Chelsea, 9 Novr, 1840—

My dear Brother,

Your Letter arrives by the morning mail; opportunely, according to my hope, to announce that your travel is safely accomplished. One word from me must suffice at present: my time is out, my hurry great; take this one word, and the accompanying blockhead of a Letter, to amuse you for a minute, then to burn. Of course I made no answer to it; of course—the man is a wellmeaning ass;1 let him live and graze there.

I am in my usual state of biliousness &c; sunk almost to disappearance in heaps of the stupidest folios that ever were composed by man. Whether any thing, or what, will ever come of that Cromwellean business is all chaotic dubious as yet. Grains as of metal hid under mountains of dust, cinders and sand: whether they can be gathered, can be fused into a figure? Most part of those Books deserve only to be burnt, and forgotten to all eternity: that is what they want of a reasonable man. Voyons [Let us see]!

This morning Sterling sends me a huge horrible Manuscript Poem in four thick copy-books: to be criticized, to be read!2 I will never read it; that is certain. He adds a small Note, wherein is honourable mention of you, as of a man whom “he likes greatly.” Cunningham's match does not seem to be of the most brilliant; may it be of the happiest. Mrs Strachey, as I find, has taken to the writing of Theological Books. Did you see or hear of her Book—on St. John (I think)? We have not seen Maurice, hardly heard of him, since the German Tour.3

I have to write a short Note to Mary: James Stewart, writing of Craigenputtoch, whh he does not seem to have hope of selling, praises the management of Austin and Mary; this is what I have to tell her.

No farther news from Annandale; except indeed a short Note from Alick, announcing that all is well, that a certain barrel of meal is under way for us.

Write quam primum [as soon as possible]: how you settle at Linton, whither you steer next. Adieu, dear Jack!

T. Carlyle

I had a Letter from Grahame of Burnswark; full of affection, gratitude and Sadness. I will send it next time.4 You are to write first.