October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


TC TO ALEXANDER CARLYLE; 21 December 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18311221-TC-AC-01; CL 6:74-75.


4. Ampton Street Mecklenburg Sqr / London 21st December 183[1]

My Dear Alick,

Having an opportunity, as Jane is writing to Mrs Richardson1 under a frank, I will steal a minute or two, and send you my greeting. I have received a letter from Jane of Scotsbrig, wherein among other news I hear that you are busy with your Catlinns speculation; actually preparing to break ground there. To it with all might! Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, see thou do it quickly.2— She told me also that you were all well; which I hope and trust still continues true.

In return I will now tell you (what perhaps you have heard already) that a Letter has come from Jack, and must be a week ago at Scotsbrig. He is in the once Capital of the World, in Rome itself: quite well to appearance; and every way getting on well. Many inquiries he makes about you among others; all which I strove yesterday to answer in the longest and closest Letter my hurry would permit me to write.

For ourselves, I am sorry the accounts are not wholly so pleasant: in this one respect chiefly that my dear little Wife does not seem to take with London; but continues still weakly, tho' not in bed, yet some days (as this) in her room. However, I reckon her now to be getting stouter again; and hope next Letter to tell you that all is well. Nay, at worst, I believe nothing else but a sickly turn could be expected after the toil and uproar she underwent in getting ready for her departure from Scotland.

I myself am in my usual state of health and heart, or in the latter respect rather better than usual. The world's mad whirl does not confuse me; nor its midnight darkness blind me: daily and hourly I say to myself in respect of it: Go thou thy way, and I will go mine.— I have finished a strange Article for the Edinr Review; tho' whether Napier dare print it or not, is still uncertain to me. We shall soon see: I wish he may for several reasons; he shall then have more of the like, and both the world and I may be the better for them.— There is still not the faintest outlook for Teufelsdreck, more especially till the Reform Bill get out of the way: indeed Literature, like all earthly things seems to have got into a state in which it cannot continue; either it must improve, or altogether disappear from the world. Meanwhile, one had need to be wary, for the road is stony enough, dark enough. However, for the present I have quite a choice of work, quite a superabundance: no fewer than I think four new applications have been made me within the last ten days. They are mostly of the Dud sort, it is true; yet the offer made respectfully, the wages tolerable: on the whole, the best outlook one c[an] count on in these circumstances. On the whole, let us fear nothing, so long as we are wise. Do thou [work] diligently, Boy; let me do the like; each in his [way, ho]w disheartening soever: above all let us think ever that God's eye is upon us, to pity, to help us. This is the everlasting Truth; tho' so many forget it and deny it.

Wull Brown writes me a most confused Letter abou[t] ‘Masterton Ure Esqr’ and ‘East Linbrigford’ and his woes [and] cares: I have actually sent a Note over to Masterton Ure,3 and if I get any answer, will very speedily communicate it to poor Wull. My own idea is that the ‘lease business’ is not yet completed; and that Wull by his eating anxiety has eaten himself into an astonishment at ‘hearing nothing,’—where there was no room for astonishment. Poor fellow!— If you have any opportunity send my kind thanks to Jean for her Letter, which both of us here thought excellent in itself and still more so to us; also tell her that I will not long delay answering it, and her.

My Goody, who lies on the sofa [here] by me, sends her love to you and your household from her Namesake upwards. Take a sheet, and write me soon at large. Take care of yourself and of your goings, and fear nothing on Earth or under it.

Finally I promise that we will smoke a peaceful pipe together again ere long; and that together or apart we shall always love each other. God bless you, Dear Brother!

Ever your Affectionate /

T. Carlyle

Remember us kindly to my Uncle John,4 if you see him.