July 1836-December 1837

The Collected Letters, Volume 9


TC TO JANE WILSON; 15 January 1837; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18370115-TC-JWI-01; CL 9:114-115.


Chelsea, 15th January 1837

My dear Miss Wilson,— Mrs. Carlyle was to have written to you yesterday that we would come: but she was taken with a cold and coughing, which she apprehends to be this Influenza. I hope not; and that our purpose will still hold: I at all events, unless I be thrown down too, will attend you.

My misérable [wretch] of a book is done;1 I could almost have returned thanks audibly to Heaven with tears. Now comes the unbending, the collapse into dull wreck, but that also is only for a season. Then aux champs [into the field], again,—in some good direction; in which one yet knows not.

I inclose you Hayward's response about the Lecturing Business.2 There lies small guidance in it. If I had before me the probable results of the thing, or say even the pecuniary result, in the best and then in the worst supposable case,—I should see how the landmarks lay, and whether my kind friends ought to trouble themselves farther in the business, whether I ought to bend thitherward, or altogether turn my back on it and bend elsewhither.

For on the whole the getting of a place to lecture in is not the difficulty: the getting of a subject to lecture on, and of a heart and impudence and general disposition to lecture at all,—that is the difficulty. That once conquered, ‘you had only’ as I often say, ‘to turn up any tub, and get upon it, and open your mouth’!3 We shall see.

Pray signify to your Brother that I follow the Apostle Paul's advice to Timothy in his bilious state; tho' I question whether Timothy had any Madeira like that.4

Yours with great regard, /

T. Carlyle.