The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON; 14 May 1827; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18270514-TC-HCR-01; CL 4:223-225.


Edinburgh, 21. Comley Bank, / 14th May, 1827—

My Dear Sir,

May I beg of you to accept this copy of my late Compilation,1 in the furtherance of which you more than once showed yourself so ready to assist with Rath und That [advice and deeds]; a service which I would willingly convince you that I have not forgotten, however unable to do more than remember it. The Book has been out for some time, and your copy should have been sent sooner; but Late is better than Never; and I still hope you will accept the little gift in good part, and sometimes think of me with favour when you see it in your shelves.

I have got some Spanish Books of yours, a Don Quixote and a Quevedo,2 which I still keep in spite of the reproaches of my conscience, now really getting rather loud on the subject. The truth is, the volumes are not by me at this moment, but in Dumfriesshire; and my only consolation is that they are safe, and that your need of them is not pressing. I am ashamed to say that I have yet read far too little of them; or indeed of any spanish work, tho' some late German Translations from that language (particularly one of Calderon)3 have not a little strengthened my wish to become immediately acquainted with it. One is so busy, so laboriously idle! It will be long before I write aught worth reading, and yet I must not let my pen grow altogether rusty, and so my reading is too much curtailed.

I have got wedded since I wrote last: my wife also is a reader and a lover of German; and we have a pleasant Cottage here with China roses and the like, and the towers of Edinr peering thro' the branches of our tree, at a safe distance. Would not the best way to get your Books be to come hither in vacation time and seek them? I am sure it would be the surest; and we could form as pretty a bureau d'intelligence for the discussion of aesthetic matters here, as you would wish to see. There is a spare bed too, and coffee worthy of King's Bench Walk4 itself.— Oh I would give a shilling to see one other Sally Lunn!5 But the Temple with its reverend alleys, and good inmates, is become a reminiscence; and London, huge monstrous London itself, looks beautiful by distance. Surely I shall once more see it, and the chosen men that make it worth seeing.

A letter from you, full of news of all sorts, would be a treat to be remembered. Some sultry noon, when your streets approach the first degree of Wedgewood,6 and you cannot stir abroad for being broiled, who knows but you may favour me? I really should receive it as a most kind service. At all events if I can assist you in aught here, or in any way manifest my sense of obligation to you, I shall expect to be applied to.

Believe me always, / My Dear Sir, / Most faithfully Your's, /

T. Carlyle.

I have more than once meditated inquiring of you about that “London University” of yours.7 I learn from the Newspapers that the people have advertised for Professors; but never having seen the advertisement itself, the offers they have made, the persons to be applied to, in short the whole aspect of the matter is unknown to me. If you know or can learn aught throwing light on it, I should be thankful to hear you; for certain of my friends are clear that I should make application for a post in that new Seminary; and indeed to myself it seems that some Moral Philosophy or Rhetoric Professorship there would be no such unhandsome appointment. I can teach Mathematics also, and Physics (Physic, alas I know practically!), and touches of Metaphysics, the oddest mixture of Scotch and German, Dugald Stewart and Immanuel Kant! But the fittest place for me would be that of “Jack of all Trades,”8 in case they wanted such a hand.— Seriously, I should like to know.