The Collected Letters, Volume 2


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 5 June 1822; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18220605-TC-AC-01; CL 2:127-129.


3. Moray-street, Wednesday-Evening [5 June 1822]—

My dear Alick,

Some portion of monday I spent in writing two long letters, one to my Mother, a second to you; at eventide I diverged with them from my straight path into the Harlot's lodgings—and found that the Knave had been gone since Saturday-night! I partly suspected the hash of a Porter, when he brought me the box in the morning: “Farries” he said “might able [perhaps] gang awa' whanever his cairt was ready.” He had already ganged eight-&-forty hours; and this Rawbones wished to cloak his laziness from me, having already enough hood-winked the poor Waffler. I inspected the Inn-Warehouse, to see if a box were there which I had sent up in the forenoon by the lying Porter; found it safe; and growling audibly at the poor confused moonstruck Cadger1 for his stupidity, I determined to write to you by the Post, that very night, that so you might be under no uneasiness about me when Geordie returned empty-handed. That night, I think, the Bullers kept me later than usual; next night (last) John Waugh detained me with his thousand woes; and I am only executing my purpose even now. I trust this will reach you duly, and find you all—as the last left you—well and moving about in the old way.

I have very little of importance to tell you, now that I have begun writing; except, what I know will be welcome & not unmeaning news to you, that I am still continuing to improve in health & spirits, going my stated rounds of duty, reading a very little, writing still less, and cherishing long projects which fill the future for me as completely as the present is filled. I do not recollect of ever being a very light-hearted character; but I reckon myself about as cheerful at present as I have been for many years. I laugh no great deal, could not sing or dance, but I feel a constant movement in my mind, a sleepless activity half-pleasant half-painful, which I reckon to be the right state for a young man,—at least it is generally my state when I enjoy any thing like health. I know you are thankful along with me for this precious deliverance; and pray along with me that it may be complete: how grateful ought I to be for the sympathy you have shewn in my adversity, and the joy wherewith you hail any dawn of returning fortune. I kept predicting better days when the weather was black enough in my sky: I have something like a beginning of more solid reason now; and I still predict in the same strain, and think a few years will do much for us all. In fact, when I compare the qualifications which all of us without exception in our several departments possess, with the qualifications which serve to get happiness & respectability to others in theirs,—I cannot for a moment doubt the ussue [issue]. We are all to be good men & true, having wherewith to make good our own liberties in this world, fearing or hating or envying no man: what can a son of Adam wish for more? A person of that stamp might “stand before Princes”2—and Princes would get little credit by comparing with him.

But my sheet is filling apace: I must leave moralities. Your last letter was short, and far separated in date from its forerunner. I trust next time you will give me many ample details about the state of affairs at Mainhill; how you are employed, what occupies your minds & hands; what little adventures befal you; what is the general aspect of things in your neighbourhood. No one of these points is without an interest in my eyes, which you would have difficulty in conceiving. I am told the “sacred Bard” Charlie Rae is in the way of passing thro' the Press with a volume of jingle!3 The Genius of our Native Dale has long mourned in sack[c]loth & ashes,4 unsung by Poets unilluminated by Sages: at length, however, let her raise the drooping head, and toss off at least one half-mutchkin of Blue Ruin, not “cursed factory-whuskey” Mark Mackie's disgust—but genuine Farintosh;—for the Fates have at length relented; with Andrew M'Nay, Charlie & myself, old Annandale cannot long remain obscure among the regions of the Earth; these “first three” will of a surety carry her name in radiant colours down to a distant posterity! In seriousness—is the creature getting his metre printed? I can scarce give credit to such an unaccountable business.

But leaving the Literary World, or rather taking it up another side—let me hasten to assure you that I will [shew] myself most prompt in providing those books for the Ecclefechan Library, whereof you give me a list. Knox might already have been in your hands (price 7/—bound—a good old copy), if the Carrier had done his duty: it is now lying in the Box at his quarters, and will surely reach you next time he returns. The book entitled “Shipwreck” I cannot rightly make out. Is it “Raley's”? or whose? You must mention it next time. I do not expect to find them second hand—but I can promise to get them new at as cheap a rate as any one.— When Geordie comes back, you will get me a large packet of letters furbished up, and I shall try to have the books in a state of readiness to send by return. Explain to my Mother how I had written to her at great length, & could not get the letter sent. I will yet send it & yours, if any opportunity occu[r]s. Say to her also, that I find the bathing, which is on a smooth bottom & safe as the Bank of England, to be exceedingly beneficial; and the Stomach, poor fellow, is behaving as well as could be expected from a gentleman of his teachous (litigious) temper. I long to hear from my Father, who is very busy I suppose at present or he would have written me already. I heard of his Sayings at Sharpe's Tenanttry dinner—as far off as Glasgow, where I was some weeks ago, seeing Irving & the rest of them. Give my love to all the Brethren & sisters great & small. To Mag, Jamie, Mary, Jane, Jenny— Why are they all silent—sure the potatoes are all planted by this time! If Shaw5 send out a pair of shoes for me—let me have them by the first chance. Tell Jack he must write. Adieu! My dear Brother!—I am ever your's,

Thomas Carlyle—