The Collected Letters, Volume 2


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 25 November 1823; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18231125-TC-JAC-01; CL 2:479-480.


Kinnaird House, 25 November 1823—

My dear Jack,

After considerable higgling and hesitation, I have at last resolved to write to you announcing the day of my arrival, that you may try to get some accommodation made ready for me, against that event. I am so pressed with want of time, that I must keep by the strict matter in hand and nothing more. This is of less consequence, as you are very soon to see me.

I am to set off from this place on Thursday morning:1 I shall be with you on Friday night, most probably some time after the close of day. I purpose at least partly purpose staying with the “speculative skite,”2 on my first night; and his place is forty good miles (including a ferry) from your city. Any clean and quiet bed-room will do for me; I shall need nothing more, but a clean shirt and neckcloth or two, which you will very easily contrive to supply me with.

You will find me, Jack, a poor heart-worn irritable atrabiliar as melancholy as a cat in rainy weather, and nearly as yellow as saffron. Alick I have just been commissioning to come up for the pony. When we are all three together, we must straitly advise what is best to be done: for it seems very possible that the day after to-morrow, I may take my final leave of Kinnaird. In fact I am to consult Geo: Bell surgeon, and shape my course accordingly. I suppose he will “throw mercury into the system”:3 I fear the system will not care a doit about all his mercury. At all events, I must be rid of this horrible condition of body: it absolutely torments me till my soul is dark as the pit of Tophet. I have had no good sleep for above a week. Judge ye in what a pleasing frame of mind I am!

Frank Dickson is to meet me in Edinr: he may perhaps call before I arrive; you will tell him how it is. I have finished the “Life Part II.” and sent it off to London: the last Part I shall not meddle with till I am settled somewhere. If I were well, how I could dash it off! When ill, how I hang upon it!

I am glad you have taken Duncan4 (to whom my compliments); it is not meet for man to be alone. “One loves company, ” says the German, “tho' it were but the company of a burning tallow candle.” Any letters &c for me you do well to keep. Be of good cheer, Jack! Let us depend on one another: einst werden wir triumphiren [one day we will triumph]!

The post is here. Good night my kind Doil!

I am ever thy Brother, /

Th: Carlyle—