The Collected Letters, Volume 4


TC TO THOMAS MURRAY; 31 May 1828; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18280531-TC-TM-01; CL 4:376-377.


Craigenputtoch,1 31st May 1828—

My Dear Murray,

I write as usual only to give you trouble. In the confusion of removal, the inclosed highly essential piece of Paper was by mistake stuffed into a trunk, and packed before it was missed into the very centre of a cart overloaded with luggage. The Forbes Bank has no Agent in Dumfries; and the cashing of the Receipt thro' any other Bank seems to be a matter of difficulty and some expence. The consequence of all which, you see, is that I apply to you, as the most punctual, trustworthy and obliging man whom I have left behind me in Edinburgh; and must request you to take the trouble of helping me out of this difficulty. I have indorsed the Receipt; you take it to Sir Will. Forbes' Bank, and draw the whole cash (£300, with the interest first of £460, then of 400, then of 300, for the times therein specified); which having done, you pay the said cash into the Commercial Bank, with the direction that it be handed over to me on Wednesday at their Office in Dumfries. Whether any document from the Commercial Bank may be needful I cannot say: I understand that they are always ready for such negotiations, whereby their own Notes may get in circulation; and transact these things punctually enough by means of private orders communicated once a week: but if a stamp is essential, get one, deducting the cost of it, and of this postage (which I am striving, tho' with uncertain hope, to make single); and send it down to me, so that it may reach Dumfries on Tuesday night, and the business be transacted next morning. Otherwise write to me (without enclosure); and tell me that you excuse me for this application; that you have done the business, and how you have done it. Doubtless you will excuse me: and I shall find your Letter out and dry awaiting me at the Post office on Wednesday Morning.

This is “the needful” at present; and with this for the present I ought to stop; since to describe the chaos out of which we have come, into which we alighted, in which all and sundry of us have as it were been swimming for life, these last weeks, would [small tear: be no] easy or useful task. Painters, carpenters, masons, smiths, are thundering and splashing on all sides of us; and it is only with difficulty that we have established a temporary lodging in two upper bedrooms, from which we sally forth vigorously enough into the Empire of Night, thro' which, however, only the faintest dawn of Order can still be discerned to glimmer. God help us! And keep all mortal sinners from flitting! However, the time of Arrangement and Peace must come; and when all this is swept and garnished, a man will be able to sit down and smoke a pipe under his own Elm tree, and none to make him afraid. [O Mur]ray! how we poor sons of Adam are shovelled to and fro! Do you r[emem]ber when we walked together, you escorting me, to the fifth mile-stone on the Dumfries Road?2 Two young pilgrims; yet even then the Future looking stern and fateful in our eyes! How “many a weary foot”3 have we had to travel since that hour, and here we are still travelling, and must travel till the Sun set, and we get to our inn. Well, let us travel cheerily, for after all it is a brave journey; the great Universe is around us; Time and Space are ours; and in that City whither we are bound, it is said, there “are many mansions.”4

But why do I moralize and meditate when that red horse is scraping at the door? I am bound to Dumfries for the purchase of grates. You will write to me, and help me in that Difficulty: and one day you and your[s] will see us here, all green and clear, like an oasis in the wold. Remember me in kindest regards to your lady. I had arranged to call and say farewell; but we went a day earlier than had been counted on: and then the very night before we left Town, when I still meant to call with Mitchell, strangers came in, and letters were to write, and I could not get away.— By and by I mean to trouble you about Books.— For the present enough!— I am ever your old Friend— T. Carlyle.

The single postage speculation is an entire failure! I should not have written a word on the last page.