August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO WILLIAM GRAHAM ; 20 December 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18431220-TC-WG-01; CL 17: 205-207


Chelsea, 20 Dec. 1843—

Dear Mr. Graham,

Two nights ago I received your letter; with much satisfaction to hear that your health stood moderately good for this winter, that you were still holding on with heart and hope, and like a friend thinking of your old friends. My Brother shall know one of these evenings the pleasant news that his prescriptions have been beneficial to you; I miss him sometimes when I call; but he comes regularly here on Sunday Evening. His address is “6. Brompton Grove, Brompton, London”; about a mile from this, by one of our roads up to town. He is in good health; always brisk and alert, studious of other things, I think, than medicine, at present. A letter from you will be a treat to him.

Yesterday that sheet here inclosed was delivered me from Mr. Johnstone of New York; I straightway forwarded the required Autographs to Dr. Sprague,1 a watery popular divine, as I have learned, in those parts;—and now having done with that affair, I will send the Document to you, as perhaps worth your perusal: you need not return it. Poor Nelly Johnstone!2 I well remember her; her and her Father's house, and many good old things and days. The fashion of this world passeth away.

My own course here is none of the most prosperous in late weeks. I cannot get on with my work at all; it was but the day before yesterday I, after deliberation, committed the scribbling of six weeks, at one fell swoop to the fire! I have taken to read the Jacobite Scotch songs since;3 and mean, were the tumult settled a little, to try my problem on another side. Another, and yet another: as my brave old Father was wont to say, “I'll gar [make] myself do it!”— Rejoice that you can lie too long in the morning! The inability to sleep is one of the fearfullest afflictions of poor humanity in this poor world.

Our weather here is dim and warm;—“an open Yule.” Corn-law4 demonstrations, election battlements, and other chaotic businesses transact themselves; but at a safe distance from me; I hear only the faint sough [sound] of them, coming from the far east.5 One has to be indifferent to very many things. We have Scotch Free-Kirkers here too; and the English people are beginning to see they had better have flung the quiet dog the poor bone he was wanting then than have set his bristles up in this manner!6 “The sow's tail to G[e]ordie!” says my old song.7

Pray keep yourself snug, and sound as you can, at Burnswark, till the Sun peep out on you again; remember us both with the kindest wishes to Miss Graham, and think of us always as permanent friends. I remain ever,

Affectionately yours,

T. Carlyle.