January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 23 June 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430623-TC-MAC-01; CL 16: 214-216


Chelsea, Friday Evening 23 june, 1843—

My dear Mother,

John's second Letter of today has just come.1 The first arrived at 11 o'clock; tho' I had been expecting the tidings, and had nothing else to expect, it fell upon my heart like a heavy stone!— He says you bore your great sorrow with the firmness we have known in you, “like a Christian and a brave woman.” It is what I had to expect also,—thank Heaven for it! You have had much to suffer, dear Mother, and are grown old in this valley of Tears; but you say always as all of us should say, “Have we not many mercies too?” Is there not above all, and in all, a Father watching over us; thro' whom all sorrows shall yet work together for good?— Yes, it is even so. Let us try to hold by that as an anchor both sure and steadfast.2

What John says of Alick was highly affecting and consolatory to me. “He had recovered all his old energy and manful activity”:—yes, poor fellow, by God's blessing he will yet recover all, and be himself again, in that new Home. I reflect always that it seems to be by far the best chance this world held out to him of that: where he was, and as he was, there could no good be. He will rally himself for a new onslaught; the very solitude of his sea-voyage will do good to him: he will step into a new scene of activity, with added years and wisdom, and see that it says everywhere to him. “As thou art wise in me, so shalt thou prosper!” Even I, who am not much given to hope, have a real expectation that this will be the saving of our poor Alick. May God grant it. A brave man, and a true; but borne down, and torn away by this thing and by that, as I have hardly seen any man.

You may depend on it, dear Mother, it is, as compared with ours, a good Country he has gone to. There are friends there in very fact who will be ready to welcome him. Nay, as I say often, What good hope is there for a working industrious man anywhere if it be not in America, as times go with us? If the course of things here do not alter beyond my expectation, I think the whole kindred of us had better go and quit such a country as it will ere long be! You at the head of us,—for you are a good sailor, and a brave Mother! Courage, my dear Mother; courage, the saddest-looking is sometimes the joyfullest when we see the real end of it! If Alick prosper in that new Country, he may be a real blessing to his whole kindred,—and a double blessing to himself that will be.

I wrote to him today before dinner “Post-Office Liverpool.” It is a comfort to me that Jamie is going over. I hope to write him another word before the ship sail.

In a short time, dear Mother, I think I shall see you too. I long always to go and see you; and soon I shall probably be able,—and if able, surely I should. More about this in a day or two.

At present and till tomorrow night late, I am the busiest mortal I ever before in my days was. I write all day and all night (till near mid-night),—running against time, at a a3 very useless “Article” which I had undertaken; which must be finished, being undertaken. I could have liked it better at another time! On saturday night, however, it has to go to press,—the whole Review Number has to be out on the first of July. I shall soon now have room to consider myself,—with a sharp fight still in the interim, however!

It is now near tea; I have my scrawls of Manuscript to look over; and make ready for the “three pages more” before bed time. My sleep is good enough again. We are all well. A terrible quantity of Americans &c here! I have three or four Notes daily to answer beside my other writing.— That Note for John4 came this morning.

Adieu, my dear Mother: do I not hope to see you soon? Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle