The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 21 January 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410121-TC-MAC-01; CL 13: 20-22


Chelsea, Thursday, 21 Jany. / 1841—

My dear Mother,

Having a minute of time, I will write you half a line today; merely to keep you in peace about us! You did hear very lately, I believe; for Alick and Jenny both had bits of Notes from me: but I know you have a great appetite for Letters, and can never hear too much!

Jenny's own Letter arrived, I think, on the same day with one from Jamie. I was glad enough to see poor Jenny's hand, after the late fighting she has had. Jamie's account of himself is also very interesting to us. Poor Tom's leg does seem to be getting better.1 It must have been a singular bout that of Jamie's reading the French Revolution! His observations on it were solid Annandale observations, well worthy of the paper they took up, and altogether entertaining to us. We heard somewhere that the Murrain had been among his cattle: but he does not mention it, wherefore we hope there was nothing serious in that.

My chief anxiety now is about you, my good Mother; for loss of sleep, anxiety and fatigue during Jenny's distress cannot but have hurt you more or less. Yet you would have been uneasier at home! It is simply a misfortune, for which there was no help. What you can do now, dear Mother, is to take double care of yourself; especially while this wild winter lasts. It is the severest season I remember since 1819–20; it must be dismal for many a poor unsheltered, unprovided creature.2

We had thaw since I wrote; plenty of soft wind (which you too had it) on Saturday night; our snow and frost all gone, and nothing but mud on the morrow. Some three days of warm mud, such a degree of mud as London alone knows; and now we have Northwest wind and once again frost!3 First it blew, as the American said, then it snew, then it friz, then it thew, and then it friz again!4

Jane stays in the House almost close, except when a gleam of warmth comes. She certainly holds out much better this season than in several past ones. She bustles about the house, when not out, and dresses warm.——— I have had two bits of Notes from Jack out of the Isle:5 he was in good sound health, I thought, while here, and seemed to get along wonderfully well. Little petty confusions from day to day, the wise quenching of these: this seems to be the main work he has. A kind of hope that he is doing his patient good withal prevents him from entirely wearying of it.

I am on a kind of bargain with Fraser about the printing of my Lectures:6 but the dog will not come up to my terms, I doubt. We shall see soon now. I have been, and am still, reading much; very stupid stuff mostly! I keep a close mouth; will see what comes of it.

Now, dear Mother, if you like to send me the scrape of a pen!— Yet do not plague yourself; I will force myself to believe nothing ill, till I do hear. Keep in the house, till the weather mend!——— I saw a paragraph about Mr Tait your minister in the last Courier.7— Ever your affectionate / T. C.