The Collected Letters, Volume 2


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 4 December 1822; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18221204-TC-MAC-01; CL 2:219-220.


3. Moray-street, 4th Decr—[1822]

My dear Mother,

It is already past twelve o'clock, and I am tired and sleepy; but I cannot go to rest without answering the kind little note1 which you sent me, and acknowledging these new instances of your unwearied attention to my interests and comfort. I rejoice to be assured that you still retain a moderate share of health: watch over it, my dear Mother, as the first of earthly blessings. It will give you a genuine satisfaction to know in return, that I am daily improving in that point myself. In another twelvemonth, I expect to be completely whole. Disorders which have been accumulating long must be long in curing: but to be assured that one is recovering is almost as good as to be recovered.

I am almost vexed at these shirts2 and stockings: I had already as many as I could set my face to. My dear Mother, why will you expend in these superfluities the pittance I intended for very different ends? I again assure you, and would swear it if needful, that you cannot get me such enjoyment with it in any way as by convincing me that it is adding to your own. Do not therefore frustrate my purposes: when I want any more shirts &c I will not be slack in letting you know.

I send you a small screed of verses, which I made sometime ago: I fear you will not care a doit for them, tho' the subject is good—the deliverance of Switzerland from tyranny by the hardy mountaineers at the battle of Morgarten3 some five hundred years ago.

This is my birth-day: I am now seven and twenty years of age! What an unprofitable lout I am! What have I done in this world to make good my place in it, or reward those that had the trouble of my upbringing? Great part of an ordinary life-time is gone by: and here am I, poor trifler, still sojourning in Meshach still dwelling among the tents of Kedar!4 May the great Father of all give me strength to do better in time remaining, to be of service in the good cause in my day and generation, and “having finished the work which was given me to do”5 to lie do[wn an]d sleep in peace and purity in the hope of a happy rising! Amen!

But I have done. Good night my dear Mother! I wish you sweet sleep and all blessings. Your affectionate Son,

Th: Carlyle—

Give my affectionate respects to all the brothers and sisters; and tell them sharply to write to me. What are they dallying about?