January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 29 January 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590129-TC-JAC-01; CL 35: 13-15


Chelsea, 29 jany 1859

My dear Brother,

Here are two small Books, for the Post along with this: One the Baron Munchausen1 (whh I never read in my life till the other evg) you will give to John,2 with my compliments, and wishes of “much good may it do him”;—young creatures did all read it, in my time; and it is a Book that will survive many! I wanted, in fine, to know what it was. An English production I now find; date a little before my birth;—who the author?3 Shd have been known; but is not. Intended as a Satire upon Bruce,4 I perceive; and upon things in general.

The other Book5 Larkin also picked up for me: I have in Ms. an English Translatn all my own, shd it ever be of use to me. You will find it worth reading,—one of the most flagrant gentn that Zimmermann;6 just going off into ultimate real insanity when he did this feat, and that of the still madder Fragments on Fredk whh followed.7

I haggle along here, in my old way; much like a man doomed to cobble shoes (the dreariest of enterprises, hope nowhere in it, except the hope of getting done with it): my progress is exceedingly below my intentions; in fact, is exceedingly bad; but I still persevere, tho’ falling on my nos[e] so often. Gee ho! Chick-chick!—

It wd be an omen of much hope to me if Jamie8 and you did find Whitecroft9 a thing worth buying! I know the place very well,—these thirty years, from the “Ten-Mile Stone” Road to Scotsbrig, that is. I was there last summer too occasionally: and found the Bog n[ear]ly conquered since I was formerly used to it. I forget whether the House is visible; but I suppose it is a good House, not bad. The present Laird10 got (by an illegitimate Niece of the late Robert Welsh's,11 daughter of one May a vain Glasgow merchant)12 all the money Robt [Wel]sh had been calculating on for his children:13—and it appears the youth has wasted too much of it upon those Bogs or otherwise. It stands in a cheerful country; centrally for friends,—close by, are no enemies at least! I could live there, it seems to me, as well as in any other locality; much better than in many. Housekeeping too, if once started, goes on, by little daily touches and pushes, just as other forms of life do: ce n'est que le premier pas qui coûte [It is only the first step which is hard]. But the starting affrights one;—like getting into the water to swim.—— Tell me what comes of it. Of advice properly so called I have, alas, none to give; can only say, whh I do with my whole heart, May the wise course be followed! You can keep the Zimmn for me, no hurry abt it. I have got another superfluous Book (duplicate or nearly so) of Anecdotes abt Fredh;—seems to have been done at Liverpool:14 a Gift Book “to Wm Watt,” my Copy,—can it be yr Boy's Grandfather!15— Adieu, dear Brother. My kindest regards to all at Scotsbrig. Yours ever T. Carlyle