October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


TC TO ARCHIBALD GLEN; 7 May 1834; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18340507-TC-AG-01; CL 7:144-146.


Craigenputtoch, 7th May, 1834—

My Dear Sir,

I snatch a moment for you in the tumult of Packing, that I may not depart without a word. Tomorrow morning I must set off to London; our arrangements there are like to get into confusion unless I appear forthwith in person. You will excuse any degree of brevity.

William has not changed sensibly since you left us; he is quiet, mild, with an air frequently of sadness, and less rather than more of confusedness mingled in it; spends much of his time in walking to a short distance from home; has seen much less of us than usual, and appears to take well enough with that alteration. He comes up in general some once in the two days; but stays only a very little while, and has seldom any long conversation with me. I have little doubt he will continue to go on with Peter's1 people after Whitsunday as he did before: his Landlady has had the medicinal charge for the last fortnight; and finds him quite tractable, and even thankful for her punctuality. I have some reason to believe that Dr Cumin's Pills2 are not so suitable as the former kind; and have taken order for recurring to these.

[Portion of two sentences cut away. …] more “gigantic spirit,” or indeed. … was hardly anything wrong in his appearances here: but in these moments I believe he keeps himself on his guard; and so it is the best of him we see. The Austin's hear him frequently “speaking to himself in two or three voices”; going on, I suppose, with that old system of “ventriloquism,” the echoes of which have not yet left him at rest.

I was in his room last night; and, by dint of his cross-questionings, was forced to admit that I was to set off on Thursday morning, and there was little chance of our meeting here soon again. He seemed considerably affected, but composed himself very manfully, and I had some of the most rational discourse with him that has occurred between us. He is to be here this evening to tea; and then we take leave; not without sorrow on either side. However, I am of opinion that as matters stand my absence can be a very small evil to him, perhaps hardly any. His deliverance has to be worked out in the struggles and sufferings of his own soul; and with these, in very many cases, it is better that the stranger intermeddle not.

In fine, my dear Sir, it continues in spite of all contradictory prognostics to be my firm conviction, or faith, that your Brother is not born to be always a misery to himself and you, that if God spare him alive some years, it will be to make him a blessing to you both. So be it, in His name! For the rest, feel not impatient at delays, at disappointments: his cure, it appears to me, must be slow, so much impure matter has he to work out of him; but on the other hand who can let himself believe that such force of endowment is lamed without recovery? My word still is: Esperance!

I cannot yet give you our London Address; it is yet to try for whether we shall so much as get a house!

[Closing and signature cut away]