The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 5 September 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400905-TC-MAC-01; CL 12: 240-242


Chelsea, Saturday, 5 Septr / 1840

My dear Mother,

I have done with my last Lecture two days ago; and all is right here,—except the weather! It has got rainy again; not much to my detriment while on the pavement here, but much to the world's damage, I doubt,—and small invitation to setting out on a journey! I cannot yet tell what to do. You shall hear farther from me in a few days.

I send you this sheaf of Leaves purely for the Portrait of Knox, which seems to me much the best I have ever met with of him.1 The face of a sorrowful, but valiant wise-hearted Scottish man. A twinkle of humour in it too; a most genial significant snarl if you urge it into telling its mind! I believe it must be very like him. My Plan is that you get this Portrait framed well, as you can (at Dumfries or elsewhere), at my charge: then we will hang it beside Luther, as a memorial of several things. The other Portraits you can keep or give away as you like; they will be worth little to you, or to any one. The whole frolic costs but two shillings, and is amazingly cheap.

Our acquaintances are almost all gone out of Town; what we can call friends are all gone “but about one.” The evening goes pleasantly, over a Book; not much company that is as good. The Sterlings wanted Jane with them to the Isle of Wight; but she does not regret that she stayed. She has not been as well for a good while.— Aitken the Minister of Minto with his Wife are here. They have been “travelling on the Continent” these three months: poor bodies, they have a great quantity of money with no work they take hearty hold of, whereby the much money has literally become worse than none!

Jean wrote to me from Dumfries since you last heard: she reports all well, or in the old way.2 You had sent the Letter on to her, as I requested. She does not say much about you, and you yet say nothing about yourself! Jamie's crop promised excellently she said: but the weary weather again, what will it be? Alick and the rest of them I fancy fighting along as usual.

Here is a man come in wanting me! A very fine kind of man, Captain Erskine by name; of the Navy: a cousin of worthy Thomas's.3 They call him “Saint Thomas,” some of the wags that know us both,—and in an underhand way to distinguish us, they call me “Sinner Thomas”: the dogs!

I must go to this Captain. Except another Letter soon, dear Mother. Write one of your own, why do you not?

Jane's love to you all. My blessing on you from the youngest infant upwards.— Take care of wet feet, dear Mother, and other exposures in this failing weather.

Jack writes to me with great brevity of his continued welfare at Oban. He speculates on perhaps coming nearer you; down into Ayrshire. Adieu, my dear Mother!

Your ever affectionate /

T. Carlyle

You may give Alick the Ben Johnson Portrait, if he likes it.