The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 21 November 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18401121-TC-MAC-01; CL 12: 331-333


Chelsea, Saturday, 21 Novr, 1840.

My dear Mother,

You seem to be pretty well supplied with Letters from the Doctor at present; so that perhaps this, which arrived some hours ago, is a superfluity. Nevertheless, now that you can have it for a penny, why should I not send it to you?— Jack is coming eastward to the Isle of Wight; to set off on Monday. If he were once over the Devonshire Hills, it is all a plain sheltered country, and travelling may be still almost pleasant,—especially if you have cash enough and a carriage of your own! Wight is the pleasantest place in all the British Isles, and has a winter milder than any other. I wish Scotsbrig with all the etceteras could be flown away down thither!— But why do you not write to the poor Doctor? Why do you not write to me?1 Even Jean complains that she does not hear of you. I had a letter from Mary2 this morning; she mentions that Alick and Jamie were there very shortly before; that all was “as usual”; that you and they were “going to drink tea with the Minister.” From which I thankfully infer that nothing had gone far wrong.

We are rejoicing here in the possession of excellent materials for eating and wearing, which came in the Barrel. The meal makes admirable porridge. Butter and cheese, tell Isabella, give perfect satisfaction; especially the butter, the most important article of the two, far excels any that we can count on here, and indeed is itself not to be excelled. The Newcastle rag-stone deserves an especial word of thanks: I suppose it was Jamie's act the remembering of that! Tell Alick we have tried the bacon now, and pronounce it of first quality, many thanks to him. Finally, dear Mother, I have had on the stockings; I daily wear a pair of them when I go out to walk; they are as good as can be woven,—better to me, considering where they came from! It is curious enough that I was specially in want of thin wool stockings; not of thick: I wear the thick only within doors now, and find it answer better for the feet. I will announce to Jack his share of the booty. For my own part, taking my choice, I have preferred the lavender-grey sort; leaving Jack the six pairs of blue-grey: if he complain, I will tell him he ought to have been on the spot, looking after his own interest! Again and again, dear Mother, I give you thanks. It was a pity to lay out money to such extent;—but what can I say? Probably you too got more good of it that way than in another.

Our weather is incessantly blustering and broken at present: nevertheless we hold out handsomely. I believe I am really rather better this year than of late years; better at the heart of me,—tho' on the outer surface there is still biliousness &c &c in sufficiency. But I can walk farther, and the like: the other week, by way of a right spell of exercise, I walked to Hampton Court Palace and back again, a distance of more than twenty miles, one day.— What a pen!3 My time too is done, and more.— I want to know what is becoming of poor little Tom and his leg.— I commission somebody to write me a Letter. Take care of yourself, dear Mother, in this wild blustery weather; never go out without effectual wrappages; a good fire within; and study your diet more minutely than you are wont. This last is an important precept,—as you, if you were advising me, would know right well, tho' you heed it too little for yourself.

Jane salutes you all with kind thanks. Good be among you. When you see Jenny, tell her to be a good bairn, and not suspect me of forgetting her! Adieu dear Mother; not another word.

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle