April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO WILLIAM GRAHAM; 8 November 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18491108-TC-WG-01; CL 24: 281-283


Chelsea, 8 Nov. 1849.

Dear Mr. Grahame,

Will you have the goodness to call at Scotsbrig, some day soon, and take charge of a small matter which I have for you there.

My Mother's room wants a carpet; you at Burnswark, I ascertained, have lately got from Glasgow a carpet, the Pattern and Price of which are quite suitable: the thing I want, therefore is, that you would ascertain, by inquiry at Scotsbrig, how many yards of the stuff are requisite there; and next, that you would straightway write to your Glasgow man to send the due quantity directly to my Mother, and send his Bill to me here, which without farther trouble to him shall be settled by return of post. This is the weighty matter you are charged with, this and nothing more: pray do it for me as soon as your convenience will allow. My Mother or the Doctor can inform you of the right quantity, which I cannot quite exactly do; and all the rest, I hope you will find to be plain sailing and no mistake.

We are very quiet here, tho' London is gradually getting very populous again. Absurd “Peace Meetings,” with quantities of empty balderdash talked in Exeter Hall;1 the “Trial of the Mannings,” and now in some ten days, the Hanging of the Mannings: these and other equally sublime affairs are mainly what one hears talked of at present,—to which I have no answer whatever to give; naturally nothing whatever, except “expressive silence.”2 There are extensive buildings going on in this neighbourhood, as in all London neighbourhoods, “owing to railways,” they say: sinister memories of Irish famine again, owing to potato-rot; Louis Napoleon venturing towards Emperorship, in rather perilous circumstances; a poor old Pope discovering, but unwilling to believe, that he has got into the wrong time-latitude now, that his trade is almost as good as up in these late times;3 a thoroughly anarchic Europe, after vain attempts at “reformation” by parliamentary eloquence and street-barricades settling lazily into the old malodorous slough-of-despond4 again, not to lie long there:—in all these external phenomena too there is little to call forth one's enthusiasm; one sits rather looking silent at all that; one can think over it, “think and smoke tobacco,” as the better plan!— I am struggling very hard now and then to get some kind of work out of myself again, if possible; but that will be a long story first, I am apprehensive,—terrible quantities of mud to cast away before the first stone can be laid, I fear! Let us ply the carting then; ply the shovel and mud-barrow; the rubbish won't go away of its own accord, no, every shovelful of it will have to be flung out!— For the rest, we are both of us in tolerable health for the like of us; which is a favourable preliminary: in fact there are many things favourable, and as my good old Mother always says, “more than we deserve.

Send me a word, how you are and how Miss Grahame is;—and believe me always,

Your old friend, /

T. Carlyle.

Best regards to Mrs. Johnston of Grange when you go up that way. Among persons beautifully memorable to me she remains always, and will remain.