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594

CARLYLE

love for his mother, and was the best of brothers. The able familiarity. Many of his contemporaries were awakennarrow means of his parents were made sufficient by strict ing to the importance of German thought, and Carlyle s frugality. He was sent to the parish school when seven, knowledge enabled him before long to take a conspicuous and to Annan grammar-school when ten years old. His part in diffusing the new intellectual light. The chief pugnacity brought him into troubles with his fellows at object of his reverence was Goethe. In many most imAnnan ; but he soon showed an appetite for learning which portant respects no two men could be more unlike, but, induced his father to educate him for the ministry. He for the present, Carlyle seems to have seen in Goethe a walked to Edinburgh in November 1809, and entered the proof that it was possible to reject outworn dogmas without University. He cared little for any of the professors, sinking into materialism. Goethe, by singularly different except Sir John Leslie, from whom he learned some mathe- methods, had emerged from a merely negative position into matics. He acquired a little classical knowledge, but the a lofty and coherent conception of the universe. Meanmost valuable influence was that of his contemporaries. A while, Carlyle’s various anxieties were beginning to be few lads in positions similar to his own began to look up complicated by physical derangement. A rat, he declared, to him as an intellectual leader, and their correspondence was gnawing at the pit of his stomach. He was already with him shows remarkable interest in literary matters. suffering from the ailments, whatever their precise nature, In 1814, Carlyle, still looking forward to the career of a from which he never escaped. He gave vent to his irritaminister, obtained the mathematical mastership at Annan. bility by lamentations so grotesquely exaggerated .as to The salary of £60 or £70 a year enabled him to save a make it difficult to estimate the real extent of the evil. little money. He went to Edinburgh once or twice, to deliver the discourses required from students of divinity. He does not seem, however, to have taken to his profession very earnestly. He was too shy and proud to see many of the Annan people, and found his chief solace in reading such books as he could get. In 1816 he was appointed, through the recommendation of Leslie, to a school at Kirkcaldy, where Edward Irving, Carlyle’s senior by three years, was also master of a school. Irving’s severity as a teacher had offended some of the parents, who set up Carlyle to be his rival. A previous meeting with Irving, also a native of Annan, had led to a little passage of arms, but Irving now welcomed Carlyle with a generosity which entirely won his heart, and the rivals soon became the closest of friends. The intimacy, affectionately commemorated in the Reminiscences, was of great importance to Carlyle’s whole career. “ But for Irving,” he says, “ I had never known what the communion of man with man means.” Irving had a library, in which Carlyle devoured Gibbon and much French literature, and they made various excursions together. Carlyle did his duties as a schoolmaster punctiliously, but found the life thoroughly uncongenial. No man was less fitted by temperament for the necessary drudgery and worry. A passing admiration for a Miss Gordon is supposed to have suggested the “ Blumine ” of Sartor Resartus; but he made no new friendships, and when Irving left at the end of 1818 Carlyle also resigned his post. Thomas Carlyle. He had by this time resolved to give up the ministry. (From a photograph by Elliott and Fry, London.) He has given no details of the intellectual change which Irving’s friendship now became serviceable. Carlyles alienated him from the Church. He had, however, been led, by whatever process, to abandon the dogmatic system of his confession of the radical difference of religious opinion had forefathers, though he was and always remained in pro- not alienated his friend, who was settling in London, found sympathy with the spirit of their teaching. A period and used his opportunities for promoting Carlyle’s interest. of severe struggle followed. He studied law for a time, In January 1822, Carlyle, through Irving’s recommendabut liked it no better than schoolmastering. He took a pupil tion, became tutor to Charles and Arthur Buller, who were or two, and wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia to be students at Edinburgh. Carlyle’s salary was £200 a under the editorship of Brewster. He occasionally visited year, and this, with the proceeds of some literary work, his family, and their unfailing confidence helped to keep up enabled him at once to help his brother John to study his courage. Meanwhile he was going through a spiritual medicine and his brother Alexander to take up a farm. crisis. Atheism seemed for a time to be the only alternative Carlyle spent some time with the elder Bullers, but found to his old creed. It was, however, profoundly repugnant a life of dependence upon fashionable people humiliating to him. At last, one day in June 1821, after three weeks’ and unsatisfactory. He employed himself at intervals upon total sleeplessness, he went through the crisis afterwards a life of Schiller and a translation of Wilhelm Meister. He described “ quite literally ” in Sartor Resartus. He cast out received £50 for a translation of Legendre s Geometryj and the spirit of negation, and henceforth the temper of his misery an introduction, explaining the theory of proportion, is was changed to one, not of “ whining,” but of “ indignation said by He Morgan to show that he could have gained and grim fire-eyed defiance.” That, he says, was his spiritual distinction as an expounder of mathematical principles. new-birth, though certainly not into a life of serenity. The He finally gave up his tutorship in July 1824., and for a conversion was coincident with Carlyle s submission to a time tried to find employment in London. The impressions new and very potent influence. In 1819 he had begun to made upon him by London men of letters were most un study German, with which he soon acquired a very remark- favourable. Carlyle felt by this time conscious of having