The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE ; 25 January 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500125-TC-AC-01; CL 25: 8-10


Chelsea, 25 jany, 1850—

My dear Brother,

We last night got sight of your Letter to my Mother; which, you need not be told, gave us great pleasure. You are fighting manfully along, far over the Sea yonder, in a manful manner, with your work in this world. There is on the whole no other “happiness” (tho' so much is talked about that word) conceivable, or to be expected, for a human being in this world. May we all so stand to our work; let us all so stand to it, each in the place where he is cast! There is a meeting for us all,—yes, beyond what it is given us to compute or imagine in the present dim sphere, we will hope,—when our Day's work is once well done! Courage, courage! I often feel myself situated very like as you are in that stranger country: very lonely, I here too, in spite of all my talking acquaintances: a stranger and a pilgrim, emphatically so; striving hard to keep my head above the mud, and get my rough miles of journey finished. We shall then be at rest; rest is none till then.—

Jack orders me to write a few lines to you, as the Letter goes by;1 which I very willingly do, dear Brother,—and could wish only that I had a little leisure to do it more deliberately. For I often think of you; often, almost daily; and have many, many things which I could wish to talk to you about: but the break-neck express-train speed at which all tumbles along in this world of mine generally reduces me to silence;—I often feel as if my silence were a kind of talk with you. Today especially, and for some weeks past indeed, I am especially hard driven;—getting into the Printer's hands again! He has me by the collar even now. After long haggling, and much sorrowful toil and consideration, I have decided to venture out with a set of Reform Discourses, “Latter-Day Pamphlets” I call them, upon the frightful aspects of human affairs, here on our side of the Ocean,—which, especially since I was in Ireland, has lain like a millstone on me. I am minded, perilous as it looks, to tell the people somewhat of my real mind about it;—that is the one service I can do in regard to it. First Pamphlet is just coming out, on the first of Feby; there may be about a dozen in all, following month after month,—if my strength will hold out: but I am grown very feckless in this bad weather, in these bad times; and shall have my own struggles with this job!— If I knew how to send you these “Pamphlets,” I would send them punctually with right pleasure; but I do not. Has the Post-Office, think you, any feasibility for sending such things? I greatly doubt it. At any rate, I suppose they will be reprinted directly in the United States;2 perhaps by your ordering them of some Bookseller in Brantford or Hamilton, you could get them for a few cents each? Try; and, on the whole, tell me what to do, if I can do anything in regard to that matter.

Jack sends flourishing accounts always from Scotsbrig; our good old Mother is really wonderfully strong, and as brisk as ever in her mind especially. Jack is busy with the continuation of his Dante there:3 a much better shop than here, I should say, for such a job.— — Jane has kept pretty well on foot all winter, tho' the winter here, and indeed all over Europe, has been excessively severe. I, as above-said, have been very gloomy, heavy-laden, but sprawling along too, as I best might.— Nothing that I have read this long while so pleased me as that sketch you give of the Boys and Girls. Poor things, they will come up to be useful there; they could never have had that outlook here, as times are and were. Here all grows blacker and blacker; ripening towards—no good! Poor Tom, with his “insatiable appetite for reading”; Oh try to get him good Books,—whatever opportunity of real instruction may lie within your possibilities for him. And give him my love specially; and tell him I expect he will not do discredit to the name he carries! My love to one and all; to little Jane, to Jenny and all the bits of Bairns:4 God's blessing on them all. Adieu dear Brother. Yours ever T. Carlyle

I calculate you will beat down that money-account too, and vanquish it yourself, which will be best any way. But if you cannot, if you find it beating you,—you know always where there is help.