The Collected Letters, Volume 13


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 11 April 1841; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18410411-TC-MAC-01; CL 13: 92-93


Fryston, Ferrybridge, Yorkshire / 11 April, 1840 [1841]—

My dear Mother,

Just about an hour before leaving London I received Jean's Letter, naturally with great pleasure; and sent it off to Jack at Ryde to whom also it would have welcome news. Another Letter, which I had just received from Jack, was appointed to be sent on to you at Dumfries, and Jane writes to me here that she has done it. She would naturally tell you where I was, and give you some hints about motions and position: but I daresay you are daily looking for some authentic word at first hand; and daily ever since Wednesday, my second day here, have I been determined to write: but never till this morning could I get a chance; and, alas, it is only “twenty minutes” that I have:— Well, dear good Mother, these twenty minutes shall be yours.

My kind Landlord here is a Mr Milnes a Member of Parliament and young literary man whom I have known for several years, and liked much: such a blithe, kindhearted intelligence in him; I have always a real pleasure to see him in the whirl of London. His Father and Mother reside here (it is some twenty or thirty miles off Hull,—or by another direction, it is perhaps some sixty miles eastward of Manchester). Well, “Richard Monkton Milnes Esqr M.P.” &c being, like others at this time, midnded1 to have three weeks of “Easter holidays” as men name them, set about persuading me to get into the Railway with him, and so here I am! We arrived on Tuesday after a very prosperous drive, divided in two by a night at Derby. The Country is different from London country; it is a kind of beautified fertile Annandale;—most delightful to me to look upon at present. The people too are most kind polite people, and Richard is the best landlord man ever had. I am lodged literally as if I were a Duke or Serene Highness: my bedroom, to take only one item is 15 paces (45 feet) in length! Fires kept up all day, troops of flunkies waiting to tie your shoes &c &c, all this goes on to a length that seriously encumbers me. The people live in a great way, have quantities of company; I regret nothing here but that. For I wanted to sleep and be quiet; and my sleeping here is hitherto none of the best,—tho' my bed is some 8 feet square, a perfect sea of down, which you mount into by a ladder. Alas, as Dick of Paddickha'2 use to say in prayer, “What's ta use o' a' their grandeur, when the flames o' Hell come and burn't a'?” That is too like the case of a sleepless man in a sea of down! However, we have now got two horses, and are to ride forth like lions this very day in few minutes; this I have no doubt at all will do me good. I am also about to make certain changes in my diet, and way of management (for they let me take my own way altogether, the good people): on the whole, I hope to have acquired the sleeping talent too before long. It will then be all right.——— Thus you see what I am about, dear Mother; this will serve better than nothing for the present: You shall have another Letter in a day or two, I hope; the instant anything is settled about my future movements, I will certainly endeavour to write. Consider me as admirably well off; a man only too well off!

Jack ought to be arriving at Richmond today, which is within nine miles of London, only seven from Chelsea. His arm still disinclines to write; otherwise he has nothing to complain of: the Letter you got by Jane is the last I heard from him. I wrote yesterday.— Jamie of Scotsbrig will be in great anxiety about his Farm: one may hope he will get it, and be able to do well in it, poor fellow. I send a Newspaper to Alick today from Wakefield (whither we are riding). If Jean would enclose this Letter to him, perhaps—?— Tell Jean how I thank her for her little Note: I will answer before long. Did Mrs Welsh send her the Tablet?3 Here is another review of me in the M. Chronicle, which I despatch for perusal among friends. Jane sent it me this morning; and along with it a slip of abuse out of the chief blackguard Newspaper of England:4 that I do not send you; tho', indeed, it is little inferior to the praise, if you understood it. But no praise I have got is like what Jean tells me, of your greeting [weeping] to read my account of Luther and Knox. My dear Mother! It is you that taught me to lecture in that way;—really so.— No room for more.— Your affectionate, T. Carlyle.