The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 16 November 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401116-TC-JAC-01; CL 12: 326-327


Chelsea, 16 Novr, 1840—

Dear Brother,

I send you off today with all brevity the inclosed Letters, to keep you in a kind of entertainment for a minute or two. The American pair you may return.1 They came along with your own an hour ago.

We were longing for this Letter of yours2 before it would arrive. A small word now is better than none. On friday last, which was far the worst day for wind and rain I ever saw here, I often thought how it was with you at Linton, getting it all fresh from the very mouth of the Southwest. Had you still had any occasion for sailing, I could have got into all manner of hypochondriacal suppositions, in the way our good Mother does. I wrote to her on Saturday somewhat at large; you should send off a despatch too, to say that all is well.— The mud is surely a great grievance; I found it last year make all riding detestable here at this season. You will get to Wight I hope before very long: meanwhile the lightening of your charge by the presence of your Patients relatives will be a kind of compensation.

My reading goes on, my stupidity seems to increase with it. More and more I get to see that no History in the strict sense can be made of that unspeakable puddle of a time, all covered up with things entirely obsolete for us—a Golgotha of Dead Dogs! But some kind of Book can be made? That is the question, that we are still looking to.

Jane has had a long negociation with Fraser about publishing the Lectures for a sum of money down; money down is a thing Fraser stands aghast at,—would fain make demonstrations, politenesses &c stand instead of it: the negociation has ended; the Ms. has come back. Saunders & Otley do offer me £50 for an edition of 750! There is happily no haste to publish the thing at all. I consider it a paltry thing; really care not if it were burnt: till some stronger temptation outward or inward arise, we will let it lie there. What a strength it is to have a little sum of money before one's hand; not to stand any more between the great angry tide of Beggary close-flowing in your rear and the open throat of carnivorous Booksellers waiting for you in front!

Today Jane goes to call for Miss Anderson of Stroquhan, poor woman, who seems to live now about Islington (tutoring some yellow or black children of her Brother's, as we understand); a most melancholy wreck of baffled pride,—sullen, bare, ceremonious narrow, like an old whinstone Border-tower! She would call us nothing but Sir and Ma'am; she, at parting, omitted not a stately express remembrance (nay I do believe a kind one withal) of you. How help her? Poor woman! Of Andrew &c there was no hint.3

I will add no other word today. Adieu, dear Brother.

Yours ever /

T. Carlyle

I know Davies on the Chinese;4 readable, tho' a considerable of a blockhead.