The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 26 November 1827; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18271126-TC-AC-01; CL 4:284-285.


21 Comley Bank, 26th November 1827.

My Dear Alick——… During the late frost, I very much regretted that you had not taken this Great-coat down with you. I have very seldom had it on since you were here; it being out of date for street wear: besides at present the tailor is making me a new one. I design shortly, if I have no other opportunity, to send this old servant down by the Carrier. I will direct it to our Uncle John's, probably in some sort of box or gray-paper parcel; and if I can manage adroitly enough, you may have it in this way about to-morrow week. It will serve you many a day as well as a better; and for me, at least in this city, it is well-nigh useless.— I have long forgotten to tell you to call at Johnstone the Bookseller's, and order, for my Mother, a certain Religious Magazine (called the “Monitor”1 or some such thing), which you will easily discriminate by this circumstance, that it is published monthly, and costs one shilling per Number. Jack and I tried to get it here, but could find no way of having it conveyed to Ecclefechan. Will you see after it; and pay six months of it in advance, and direct him to give it regularly to Nottman?2 I think it may prove serviceable at Scotsbrig, and it costs but little. Do not forget; for I have already forgotten too long. …

Can you tell me precisely when is rent-day? Now, or at Candlemas? For we wish to be particular; standing on so curious a footing as we do. Has Blacklock come for his money yet? If a loan of twenty or thirty pounds, or even of a far larger sum (for we have now money, like Schmelzle and his wife),3 would be of benefit to you, it can be had without any trouble; so you can let me know. Of course I will pay this rent; for you will have other outlets for yours among Masons, etc. etc., and this perhaps before I see you.— On the whole it is a most comfortable fact for me to find that, sick as I am, and indisposed to insinuate myself anywhere, I can still live, independent of all persons whatsoever. At the Craig, if we stick together as we have done, we may fairly bid defiance to the Constable. Praised be Heaven! For of all curses, that of being baited for debt, or even frightened for falling into it, is surely the bitterest.— If you see the last Edinburgh Review you may read my Article in it, on the “State of German Literature,” some time when you have opportunity. The people here seem to think abundantly well of it: I am in fact becoming a sort of Literary Man like my neighbours, and the people wonder at me more than enough. Jeffrey I saw two days ago; I fear the little fellow is losing his health.— Another long paper I sent away last night to London, where they seem waiting for it with anxiety: and already I am making preparations for a third (not on a German but on an Italian subject) for the next Edinburgh Review. By the blessing of Heaven two good things shall happen: I will get my mind spoken out, and have a trade to follow in this Earth like others! Never fear, my good Alick! Long it is since I have known that life for one man is just like what it is to another; and that neither height nor depth, nor principalities nor powers,4 nor what is more than all—the extremity of biliousness—shall part a wise man from his purposes of wisdom.— Ever your Brother T. Carlyle.

Remember me to the good little Missus;5 and tell her to keep good fires, and beware of sore throats on that wild wintry moor. You will write when the Great-coat comes? I have a thousand things to ask; but you will answer the best of them unasked.— Did you ever see Galloway, the logical Mathematician of Fife?6 He is here in bad health, poor fellow, and without a situation. A very raised7 man!— Jane's best love to you and Sister Marry.8