The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 17 March 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400317-TC-MAC-01; CL 12: 76-78


Chelsea, 17 March 1840

My dear Mother,

A Letter is going to Jamie; but I will write your salutation on a paper by itself. You did not hear from me all last week: I was too busy to write; the rather as there was absolutely nothing out of its usual routine; nothing new at all, except that my horse had come, and the promise of brisker health along with it!

Our Printers have got into the last volume now; Heaven be thanked for it: we shall hope to have done in some two weeks or so. I am also revolving and tumbling about among my projected “Lectures,” tho' I have made no public announcement of them yet. They will do, I think, better or worse.— One has such a quantity of tumult and additional uproar at this season; the very streets with double and treble whirlpool of carriages are an agitation to look upon. After refusing several dinners I had to go to another, last Saturday night. Wonderfully “high people,” among the highest in the land, wanted to see me, it appeared! Lord Holland Lady Holland, Marquis of Normanby,1 Lord Morpeth,—Lords and Ladies as thick as blackberries! Old Lord Holland alone, who is a nephew of the celebrated Fox,2 very like him, and a brave old man, pleased me somewhat. His wife Lady Holland, who has sat here as a “queen of lions” these thirty years, is a stern-looking proud old dame, with an air of considerable character too.— On the whole I paid for the honour by a decisive headache, and broken sleep. But my horse carries me better thro' than my feet could have done. This weather is good for galloping, if bad for many things; I buckle an old rough coat of Jack's about me, and dash into the country daily with great pleasure and profit.

Poor Jane has taken a kind of cold at last; yesterday she had headache as well; the headache is now gone tho' the cold continues. I hope it will not amount to much; but go its ways shortly. Indeed I too began to feel the constant east-wind detrimental to me,—till once the horse came.

You, dear Mother, how do you contrive to fend against the blasts? I hope you keep mostly within doors; wrap yourself from head to foot when you venture out, and walk as fast as you can!— I sent your good little Letter over to Jack; who has sent it back to me again, as he was ordered to do. I have no Letter for about a week. He seemed to expect some settlement of his scheme about the 20th of this month. Fraser and I are to meet finally for a settlement tomorrow night: he is very loath to offend me at present,—poor man!

My tobacco is entirely done, tell Alick; and I am smoking perfect rubbish at 4d an ounce! I hope the other is near me now.— We had a Box from Mrs Welsh last week; containing, among other things a brave new dressing-gown for me;—also a bit of excellent bacon! She seems to be well enough this winter; going on altogether in the old way.— Our Fife potatoes are come, safe.

Jean wrote to me from Dumfries not long since;3 she seemed to be expecting you there before long. Mrs Welsh, a while before, had described her as well, tho' looking thin.

Jane, not altogether on a sofa today, sends affectionate remembrances. We had Aitken the Minister of Minto here yesterday; looking oorie [gloomy], old, unhappy.— My blessing with one and all of you.— When will you write again?— Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle

I had folded up your Letter, and was just sealing it in a special cover when this Half-sheet came from Jack!4 I tear off the cover, and enclose you in this. I will answer him straightway.