The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 24 October 1826; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18261024-TC-JAC-01; CL 4:154-155.


21. Comley Bank, Tuesday-Night [24 October 1826].

My Dear Brother,

I write this tonight for two reasons. The first is: I have made Tait pay me £50 of my stipulated money,1 which sum I forthwith delivered in to the Commercial Bank, with directions that it should there be delivered out again to “Mr Alexander Carlyle.” Scott will have word to that effect to-morrow morning; and Alick directly after that, will have nothing more to do but show his trusty face at the office, and be repaid his magnanimous advance to me, the nature of which I never think of without affectionate regret. Tell him not to delay in this (you yourself know from experience the way of managing it); then to write to me very largely soon, as he promised; and to believe that I am his true brother while I live in this world.

My second reason is: that I would give sixpence to see you here yourself at this very moment. I want to speak with you about many things, ut cum fratre, ut cum medico [both as a brother and as a doctor]. When will you come? Jane will be delighted to see you; and for me your presence would be as a lamp in a dark place. Little Jean she does not want for some weeks yet: but there is room enough and to spare for both. You perhaps might walk for economy's sake, and Jane could come in the coach.

To this hour I dare not let myself out about my matrimonial views; for I am yet all in a maze, scarce knowing the right hand from the left in the path I have to walk. To complete the matter I am still billus, and imperfectly supplied with sleep: no wonder therefore that my sky should be tinged with gloom. I cannot explain matters yet; but by and by I doubt not I shall see it all. Meanwhile tell my Mother that I do believe I shall get hefted [adjusted] to my new situation, and then be one of the happiest men alive. Tell her also that by Jane's express request I am to read a sermon, and a Chapter with commentary, at least every Sabbath evening to my household! Also that we are taking seats in church, and design to live soberly and devoutly as beseems us. Our Mother also, Jane says, is to come and see us, and we are not to be divided in heart, tho' separated in place. On the whole this wife of mine surpasses my hopes: she is so tolerant, so kind, so cheerful, so devoted to me! O that I were worthy of her!

Why am I not happy then? Alas Jack I am billus: I have to swallow salts and oil: the physic leaves me pensive yet quiet in heart and on the whole happy enough; but next day comes a burning stomach, and a heart full of bitterness and gloom; for I feel well that with health far more than ever my happiness is connected. Will you come and see me, and let us take counsel together? My little wife will do every thing and all; and surely thro' the strength of Heaven something reasonable right and happy may be made out by proper regulation among us. Certainly at this moment I should be among the happiest of men, if I were not among the unhealthiest.

In addition to all this, I made a vow some days ago to give up my tobacco for three weeks, a piece of abstinence that afflicts me not a little, and of course still farther darkens my views.

Here are Murray & Mitchell come to drink tea with us, and Jane & they are struggling for talk. I cannot say another word. Come if you can—riding or walking. May the great Father bless you all every one with his own blessing! Fear not for me; for I shall soon feel otherwise. Come, or tell me at least whether you are coming. O Murray Murray!

Good Night Jack! / I am ever thy Brother, /

T. Carlyle

Tait's Book and mine is to be out in a month—without any farther addition at all. He knocked under when I saw him, and seemed to admit that in very truth he knew nothing either about Goethe or Richter or any thing connected with them. He is keen for new engagements.

If you cannot come pretty soon, write to me when you are coming. After all it makes little matter; only the sooner you come I think it will be as well and I shall be the gladder to see you. Adieu I am in better spirits already, and shall be still better tomorrow.