January-July 1842

The Collected Letters, Volume 14


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 4 June 1842; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18420604-TC-MAC-01; CL 14: 198-199


CHELSEA, Friday, 4th June, 1842.

MY DEAR MOTHER,—A letter from Jenny came in the beginning of the week; then last night another from her for Jack, which seemed to have been written at the same time, which also I opened as it passed,—forwarding them both thereupon to Jack. Jack's address is 3 Chester Terrace, Regent's Park.1 Tell Jenny to copy this, and then she will know it henceforth. You must also thank her very kindly for the word she sends me about you and about the rest. I find your eyes are still sore, and I doubt this hot weather will do them no good. Perhaps keeping out of the light as much as possible might be useful. I would also recommend to abstain from rubbing as much as you can. If Jack know any likely eye water, I will make him send a receipt for it. This is a very troublesome kind of thing:—but surely we ought to be thankful that it is not a worse thing too!

Jack was away in the country last week, but is come home again. He was down here on Wednesday night to tea, as fresh and hearty as ever. They are to be in London mainly, I believe, all summer. He will contrive plenty of “jaunts” &c., I suppose. It is, as formerly, an idle trade, but a very well paid one. It was precisely on that Wednesday that the Queen had been shot at. These are bad times for Kings and Queens. This young blackguard, it seems, is not mad at all; was in great want, and so forth; it is said they will hang him. Such facts indicate that even among the lowest classes of the people, Queenship and Kingship are fast growing out of date.2

My poor wife is still very disconsolate, silent, pale, broken-down, and very weak. I urge her out as much as possible; her cheery little cousin, too, does what she can. Alas, it is a very sore affliction; we have but one mother to lose. I speak to her seriously sometimes, but speaking cannot heal grief; only Time and Heaven's mercy can.3

As for me, I sleep tolerably well, and also have now begun to work a little, which is still better! I shall have a terrible heap of reading, of meditating, sorting, struggling of every kind. But why should not I do it, if it be a good work? I feel as if there did lie something in it. I will grudge no toil to bring it out. I go often all day to the Museum Library and search innumerable old pamphlets, &c. It is a nasty place, five miles off, and full of heat and bad air, but it contains great quantities of information. I refuse all dinners whatsoever, or very nearly all. I say, “Well, if you do take offence at me, how can I help it? In the whole world there is only one true blessing for me,—that of working an honest work. If you would give me the Bank of England, and all set to worship me with bended knees,—alas, that would do nothing for me at all. It is not you that can help me or hinder me; it is I, even I.” Pray that I persist in this good course.

Poor Isabella does not seem to profit by the warm weather. I would recommend the shower bath to her. I take it daily here. Tell Jenny that there is no hurry about the shirts. She can go on with all leisure. Did Jamie ever learn from me that in the drawer of their washstand, if he will pull it out, there lies for him a little piece of new stuff for rubbing on his razor strop? I always forgot to mention it. Our weather here is excellent, threatening to be too hot by and by, which, however, I shall not grudge so much this year. Broiling weather to me will be the basis of a plenteous year for all. There is much need of it!

But I must end, dear Mother. I write hardly any letters except to you, so you will accept this as the best I can do at present. The subscription for Burns's sister is doing well, in Liverpool at least (under John Welsh). My affection to Alick and all of them. You will get this when you go to the Preaching.

My blessings on you, dear Mother, and all love.

Your son, /