The Collected Letters, Volume 11


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 19 June 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18390619-TC-MAC-01; CL 11: 127-130


Chelsea, Wednesday / 19th June, 1839—

My dear Mother,

Two days ago there arrived this Letter from the Doctor; giving an account of his movements Northwards out of Naples towards Germany.1 He is still well himself; and his household is on the way seemingly to improvement; they appear to have had a great deal of sickness since they went abroad in quest of health. I mean to write to Jack today if I can manage to get as much time; but in the meanwhile I take opportunity by the forelock,2 and make sure of writing a word to you with the first hour of my morning—especially as there is a frank likely to be convenient in the course of the day.

We are all well, and doing well in our way, in spite of the hot weath[er]; nay partly because of it; for hot weather agrees with Jane. I have noticed my name in several late Newspapers written in my Mother's hand; from which I infer that she too is tolerably well. Yesterday came one such Newspaper; I first noticed your hand, and then in the interior an announcement from Alick that he “had procured a gig”! Tell him that it will in all probability be put in action soon; that it seems to be as good as fixed that we are to be in Scotland before many days. Our weather has never yet been above a day together disagreeably hot; always (as last night for example) there comes some thunder-plump of rain, and cools us again. But independently of this, Miss Fergus of Kirkcaldy3 has come and taken up her quarters with us at present; so that we have not been able to begin making arrangements and packings. I have books to gather about me for the “Article” I spoke of; I find them wide-scattered, difficult to get hold of, Jane says she can be ready at any time in about a week after I warn her. She wrote yesterday to her Mother at Templand, to say that we were all coming; the maid and all. It seems unlikely that we shall be here a fortnight hence: this is all that can be settled at present. But you will hear more precisely when we go. Miss Fergus is to leave us on friday, she calculates; I shall do my best about the Books, and there is nothing that need detain us long.

The Cumberland Friends of last year are again very urgent this season to have us visit them; they and several others in that quarter. We do not know whether it will not perhaps suit us best to take them as we come along,—for there is a row of them all the way from near Kendal to Penrith or up towards Wigton.4 Or perhaps we had better come to Scotland at once, and go back on a jaunt to see these people? It will depend on several things. You shall hear so soon as we have got to any decision,—probably by a Letter from Liverpool.

It is needless going into news, in these circumstances; yet there is one fact I must specify, for it will give you pleasure to hear it. A certain Mr Marshall, who has a place about Greystock in Cumberland and lives in great style here thro' winter, a fine old man, modest like a boy, and yet a most intelligent man, who has made an immense fortune (I believe) by the linen-manufacture at Leeds,—this excellent modest old Mr Marshall5 is one of my constant Lecture-auditors, and very fond of me. He had heard that I wanted a horse, that I needed one for my health's sake. Well, the day before yesterday, one of his sons came down here to say that “his father had a horse he had no use for, and would be very glad if I would take it: they could turn it out to grass for me in this neighbourhood till I returned to London; in short, it would be all convenient if I would accept!”6 There was a fair offer I think! Such an offer does one good to hear tell of, whether one accept it or not. But really I think I shall conditionally accept. This is a good man; and I believe has £80,000 a year: it is, as Jane says, like my “buying a laying hen, and giving it to some deserving person;—accept it dear!” The young Mr Marshall is to present himself here, with a servant and the horse, this day at two o'clock; we are to have a ride together; and very probably I may answer that if they persist in such beneficent purpose till I return hitherward, I shall be very thankful to take possession of the gift then.— It is another of the sons, who has a country place some 20 miles from this, in whose fields the beast is to graze till my time come: he is member for Carlisle, and, as I compute, will probably be the franker of this Letter.7

Our printing goes on pretty well; half-done and more: I can get franks for the remaining proofsheets. The first half of the American “Miscellanies” have been in the “Port of London” for a week past (had not got so far as Fraser's yesterday); I hope to bring my Mother a Copy in my pocket. The second half will probably follow in some six weeks. I have had repeated Letters from Emerson lately; all going right there; “celebrated Americans” coming hither &c &c. Yesterday Jane and I went to call for a “celebrated Miss Sedgewick” from that country who had brought a letter to us: a very good woman I believe; she was out when we called.8 A much more famous man called Webster is here too at present: I breakfasted where he was with various English notabilities yesterday before the Sedgewick visit: a large, grim, tauchy [greasy] man; as dangerous a looking fellow to quarrel with, either in argument or by hand grips, as I have met with lately!9 We were all very kind.

I write no more at all today, dear Mother. You see what a pen I have, tho' I mended it! We send our salutations and affectionate regards to all and every one, beginning with Jenny the stranger. Thank Alick for his care. Keep yourself well, dear Mother, and all well; and let us hope to meet soon once more!

Ever your affectionate,—

T. Carlyle