January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 1 July 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420701-TC-AC-01; CL 14: 213-215


Chelsea 1 july, 1842—

My dear Brother,

Matters go on very lazily with me today, and I am very far from having accomplished anything like a day's work yet: nevertheless I will not omit, before going farther, to send a line of answer to your Annandale news of this week. There was a Letter from you, one from Jamie, and a beautiful little drop of utterance and intelligence from our Mother. A blessed spirit reigns in what she says; it is touching and beautiful, that way she has of looking at the world. I like to hear her, to think of her far away in the little room at Scotsbrig yonder. You shall have this little Note to read to her when she comes to the Preaching next.

Nothing new occurs with us here. Jane is still altogether weakly, but she grows better; Time alone can alleviate that kind of sorrows. She is left very lonely in this world now; her kindred mostly gone; very few of the people vaguely called “friends” worth much to her! It would be better for her, also, if she had more imperative employment to follow: a small part of the day suffices for all her obligating work; and the rest, when she cannot seek work for herself, is apt to be spent in sorrowful reflexions. Her good cheerful little Cousin is still here. We must hope for gladder days.

I know not if I ever mentioned to you that the Wine from Leith was all found right; and the two bottles of it we have tried were of satisfactory quality;—wanting nothing but time to make it excellent; which want it is likely to get supplied, for we use very little of it, or of any drink whatever. The carriage of the Templand things, I ought to have told you too, amounted in all to something above £10; Jane thought it cheap; I knew not whether cheap or dear, for the accurate weight never was specified to me. Let me add that I yet hear no farther word from His Grace; and am determined to let him have his time: I regret only that I had not flung the whole matter at his feet straightway, and thereby saved myself an infinitude of vain clatter and fash:—but that would not have been right either. All will be right by and by!

Jack comes to us, as usual, once a week; he seems altogether well and in good spirits: he is growing fast rich in money, but has little other possession, poor fellow. He does not kick against the pricks1 too much. Perhaps for him too better things are in store.

As for me I keep within doors very much; in the warm blazing days I do not stir out at all till nightfall, and then make a long solitary excursion. I have never suffered much from the heat yet; tho' this summer is called one of the warmest,—and I hope will bring a good crop for one thing! However, for the last three weeks we have veiled weather, and sometimes (last night, for example) pretty free showers of rain.— The distress of the country appears to mount higher and higher;2 London I believe is freer of it than most towns: what the issue or the remedy is to be no mortal knows. Alas, it is needless accusing Peel; we are all to blame; we have forgotten what was right and reasonable, seeking after Mammon, vanity, and our own lusts; we have travelled long on that path, and it leads us towards ruin, as the like has ever led all men, and ever will lead!

My work makes no appearance at all on paper yet; but perhaps it will some day. I do not give it up, I wriggle and struggle along after it, endeavouring the best I can: it is not a pleasant stage of labour, to see nothing above ground: but the pleasant stage will perhaps come yet! Let us try.

I have got into the way of always sending off the Dumfries Courier to poor John Carlyle in Canada; I suppose it may be a kind of benefit there. I myself hardly ever spend 15 minutes over it,—mere froth and clatter not worth reading.

Tell my dear Mother I will write soon to herself. Remember me to your own Jenny, to little Jane and my faithful Postman Tom. Good be with you all; I wish and pray for your good! Adieu, dear Brother; God keep you and assist you in all things. Your affectionate

T. Carlyle