April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 24 April 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440424-TC-MAC-01; CL 18: 24-25


Chelsea, Wednesday, 24 April / 1844—

My dear Mother,

We got Jenny's short letter which gave us great satisfaction. I have nothing to report except that we here also are tolerably well; I am very busy too: but it seems a pity not to scribble a word often, now when they can go so freely.

You have been too frequently ill this spring, my dear Mother; you really must take more pains with yourself! Let me beg Jenny too to be in all ways careful of you. Alas, what can I do? I am far off, and cannot be of help to you myself, which I would so gladly be. Surely it is well the part of one and all of us to do for our good true Mother whatsoever we can: she did faithfully for us what lay in her, while the time was!— Jean tells me she has sent you out a fowl or two; I have earnestly urged her to continue that: a little soup and wheat bread for dinner would certainly be much wholesomer than what you usually dine on. Besides the good weather is now come; that, of itself, will be a great relief to you. Go up to the moor on a sunny day; the sight of the bonny world growing green again will be like a sermon to your pious heart; as indeed such a heart can nowhere want for sermons,—the stars in the Heavens and the little bluebells by the wayside alike shew forth the handiworks of Him who is Almighty, who is All-good. In a bad weak world, what would become of us, did not our hearts understand at all times that this is even so.———

I struggle away here, not always in the successfullest manner; yet trying always to make some progress in my work: “many a little makes a mickle [much].”1 It will be a long dreigh [tedious] and weary job; but I must plod along, keep chopping on, and hope to get thro' it in time. My health is not to be complained of; I should study well to husband what strength is given me, not fret (as I too often do) over what is denied me. Jane too gets better in the bright weather. All is bright here, sunny and full of blossoms: out of our back windows there is an aspect of trimmed gardens, blooming fruit-trees, a whole sea of white blossoms, that almost hides the houses, and is really pleasant to behold. I smoke a pipe there in the evenings, with many reflexions at times. The smoke and stour of huge London lies as if safe in the distance, the westwind blowing it wholly away from us; only the spires of Westminster Abbey, and the gilt cross of St Paul's glittering four miles off, attract one's eye there.— I study to go out to dinner as little as possible; and write refusals to the right and left. Dinners will do nothing for me; only the getting on with my Book will do something! From this season of the year, the racket that there is in the west end of London, all manner of persons gathering into it, gets louder and louder.

Poor John Sterling has had a dreadful fit of illness; burst a blood-vessel in the lungs: within an inch of death, the Doctors say. He is now thought out of risk for the present; tho' like to be at best, for years to come, in a precarious way. Jeffrey is here, also in poorish health; but much better than he was.2 He is nearly of your age; but grows no more serious as he grows older,—at least he thinks it proper to affect the same light ways: to me not the beautifullest in an old man.

Here is a Letter from a poor Glasgow Youth,3 which has affected me: I wrote him a word of encouragement this morning.— I am going to call for Jack in my way up to Town. He is well; not fitted yet with work, but able to go on pretty well without. I send thanks and kind regards to Jenny, to Isabella, Jamie and them all,—designing to write again soon. Adieu dear Mother

T. C