October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


TC TO HENRY INGLIS; 8 October 1833; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18331008-TC-HI-01; CL 7:11-13.


Templand, 8th October, 1833—

My dear Inglis,

This is not an answer to the letter lately sent my Wife,1 tho' I too enjoyed and laughed over that: it is a new call on your benevolence;—such as, in this imperfect fallen state, are seldom wanting among men. The thing I need at present is Books.

After a long period of half-idleness, I have resolved on putting on paper a little piece on the history of the Diamond Necklace: this is a secret which (under penalties) you can disclose to no third party. For accomplishing my small purpose there are certain volumes wanting, which I had in my hand last winter, but must now apply to your influence and kindness for a new sight of. As nearly as I can recollect here is the list of them:

1. Abbé Georgel (Mémoires de);2 the Second volume, I am almost sure: however, you will see by the table of Contents; and indeed by a huge picture of the Diamond Necklace itself, as large as nature, by way of frontispiece to the volume in question. It is in the Advocates' Library; perhaps too in yours.

2. Memoirs of the Countess de la Motte: there are two Books bearing this title, both of which I want; the first in French (one volume); the second in English (two volumes): if you be straitened as to faculty, the latter alone will suffice me; I have a kind of version of the other at home. These also in the Advocates'.3

3. If you will look in the Advocates' Catalogue under the head Cagliostro, you will find some four or five Books mentioned; among others, a certain Mémoire, or some such thing, “for the Demoiselle Gay d'Oliva”; that is the thing I principally want: another somewhat similar law-paper “for the Sieur Villate” (?) is probably (if you look well) contained in the same little volume: nay, at worst, I can dispense with it.4

4. If in the Signet Library, or any other Library, you could by great good luck light upon a certain French Recueil des Pieces relating to this same famous Collier, and despatch the same to me, I should esteem it a real Godsend. Such a work I am pretty sure was published; but I never yet could get eye on it; and dare not hope that you will be more fortunate.5

Now having, by energy and goodwill, collected me these volumes, the next thing to do is to have them tightly wrapped in paper, addressed to me “Care of Mr M'Kie Bookseller Dumfries,” and left with Oliver & Boyd before Monday night next; the next Wednesday I get them, safe and cheap. For attaining this if you will direct the Books to be taken over to Messrs Bell and Bradfutes in Bank Street, and yourself look in there, and ask for Mr Aitken, and mention the business to him, he will for my sake cheerfully undertake to pack and transact what is needful, and relieve you of all farther trouble. A small invoice (of a Letter) from your own hand would indeed still be most welcome.

Finally (for the patience even of a Henry Inglis must at last end for me), if any heavy obstacle occur, if in any way my good Friend and Provider feels his hands tied in this matter, let him without shadow of scruple apprise me of it forthwith; I shall take some other course in this instance, and the more freely apply to him in the next. And now, Laus Deo [Praise to the Lord]! The business is ended.

If you knew in what a wretched state of equipment I am here, for writing, for speaking, for thinking, you could not in charity desire me to say a single word more. We go home tomorrow; I can there write to you, to almost any length you like. There is hardly one of my correspondents, I think, whom I love better at present. Indeed, in looking back over Edinburgh and last winter, scarcely another object but yourself and your environment smiles on me with any heartiness. The Devil is so busy; the flesh so weak! But you, your pretty little household, your good and beautiful little Wife (to whom, pray, lovingly remember me), your whole, reasonable and manful, attitude towards the world: all this is a thing I dwell upon with real pleasure. Glory to Heaven! you have quitted Gigmanity forever: not “always keeping a Gig” (to be “respectable”), but always standing on your own two legs (to be honest), will you front the world. Adhere resolutely to this plan, let the [wind blow?] as it lists; year after year I shall find you better and wiser; strong, manlike, ready for the duties and destinies of Time; and of Eternity, for that too is near at hand to us all.

Remember me to Ferriar [sic] and Colquhon;6 I still think of them as of the hopefullest I saw in Edinburgh.

You are a wicked rogue to write so of poor Hunt. Outwardly the poor youth was but a sick Cockney stranded in foreign parts; for whom Tolerance, of all things, were the needfullest. However, he says you treated him with most paternal kindness; this makes amends for all.

The hour is come for setting off, they say; a most ugly drizzling hour it is!— Believe me ever, / Your affectionate

T. Carlyle.

P.S. M'Diarmid has got three names for Hunt: his own, John M'Diarmid; then Macalpine Leny of Dalswinton, and—Comelin (of the Something-Bank) Dumfries:7 all to be directed to the Courier Office there. As you pass Black's any day, you can mark them down.