The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 14 April 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18260414-TC-JAC-01; CL 4:73-75.


Friday-Night. [14 April 1826]

My Dear Jack,

I have got M'Cork's sheets put in readiness, and also the “further supply of Copy”; but my cares are still very far from being concluded. Where can those German Books be? I shall be done with Meister in two days, I might have been done tomorrow, and then absolutely idle. However, I still live in hope: and at all events, I shall be better at present for a few days of rest; being absolutely very much deranged in the biliary ducts by over close work, I suppose, and the effects of my three weeks in Edinburgh, which our Mother asserts I have never yet recovered. I have the Targer1 too, and he is ready for all schemes of amusement.

From your own brief enough sketches and the Targer's account, I still joyfully gather that you are well. The Targer is loud in his praises, second or first hand, of your Thesis. I shall yet be proud of you as a brother. Faithful diligence will at last prevail: and good days are in store for all of us.

I was about to ask you touching Eichthal,2 when you mention that he is still great with you, and even throwing out hints about a joint expidition to München. Has he said any thing more of it? Take a measureable piece of paper, and tell me fully. My opinion of it is not very indistinct. If he would engage to give you £100 per annum, paying all your charges &c, and in other points to treat you as a companion and friend, then I should say go for a year or even two. You would see much, and learn much; and might then come home to establish yourself under favourable auspices. O my good Jack, and should I lose thee, my Brother! For after all the scolding, we have had, I do not believe I have a truer friend on the face of God's Earth. Yet it would be for your advantage I think clearly: and so if the body speaks of it, and your own mind affects it, I would have you front him, with some such offers as the above. If he do not speak of it, why then let him altogether hold his peace; you can still thank the Baron for his past attentions (they bespeak an amiable mind in him) and say internally: “I can live independent on tha [of thee]”!

Have I heard of Miss Welsh? O Jack! there is the mightiest secret in that matter; a secret which I have yet whispered only to our Mother, and which, when I now commit it to thy faithful ear, must be shrouded in deepest silence. I really do believe she and I are going to be married this very summer! “First recover that, then thou shalt know more.” So soon as I have finished my Book, and the Scotsbrig house is swept and garnished, it is about settled that I am to bring the young damsel thither. The winter, I suppose or partly hope, we may spend at Haddington: for her mother goes to Templand to live; and I have just been persuading them3 not to let their house to Dr Fyffe, but to keep it for Dr Carlyle and Dr Carlyle's elder brother and fair sister-in-law. Dr Carlyle is not in truth specifically mentioned to the alien parties, but the interested parties have him in their mind.

God knows, my good Jack, I look forward, as pears4 said, to this affair with very queer feelings. I am to have a wife whom I have long loved beyond any other woman: but bless your heart Sir! Here are five thousand other things to be taken into account at the same time! Doch frisch heran [cheerily onward indeed]! Who never ventured never won! After all, what do I venture? A precious destiny forsooth, here as I sit! In short, Jack, what must be must be: and so by this axiom, which no logic, not the very gates of Ewart's shop,5 can prevail against, I am to be wedded.

Now supposing you to go or not go to Germany, I think some good may still possibly arise from this event to you also. What say you to practice in Haddington? With a Munich reputation you might do wonders. Dr. Fyffe and all the other Doctors are most entire and acknowledged—quadrupeds.— But alas! we are [for]getting Mrs Glass's6 celebrated maxim in hare-cookery, “first catch your hare.” At all events thou wilt still have a home thy Brother's home: for both the contracting parties are to be equally poor; and so the hearth however faint its glimmer will be mine and mine's. Keep this secret as death! I am done, or rather the paper is. Send the books (as many of them at least as will come without additional expense) by the very earliest chance of sheets. Adieu my good Brother. I am ever thine,

T. Carlyle

[In margins:] I had nearly forgot the newspaper. Some paper for another quarter will be very useful to us. Which I hardly care a straw. As these facts proved.— We are all well; but no news of the Waffler.