April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO MARY CARLYLE AUSTIN ; 30 April 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440430-TC-MCA-01; CL 18: 28-30


CHELSEA, 30th April, 1844.

MY DEAR MARY,—We seldom hear directly of you and it is a long while since you have had an express word from any of our hands here. You are not to suppose that we forget you on that account. Far enough from that! You are many times in my thoughts. I fancy you and James struggling along in your diligent, industrious way, struggling to fight your battles in these bad times, and from the bottom of my heart I affectionately bid you God Speed. Struggle away, my dear sister. We must so struggle and we must not be beaten. Assure yourself always that I am not less brother-like in heart towards you than in old days when you saw me oftener and heard from me oftener. Today I send you a little slip of paper which will turn into a sovereign when you present it at the Annan Post Office and sign your name “Mary Austin”—from me “at Chelsea.” If you be not there yourself, James can sign for you if you sign it first, but the thing is in no haste and will lie till you go. Buy yourself a bit of a bonnet or anything you like with the piece of money and wear it with my blessing, sometimes thinking of us here.

No doubt you hear duly about us. You have heard I suppose how Alick is gone over to Canada, to our brother there, not into the deep Western regions of America with Clow, which Canada arrangement of Alick's we like better than the other. It seems to me Alick may do well there now. He will get a piece of land and every year that he tills it faithfully it will be growing better for him.1 Labour is labour, not joyful but heavy and sore in any part of this world, but if a person see any fruit of his labour it is always an encouragement to him.

Our dear old Mother seems to have been rather weaklier this last winter than heretofore. Jack had a letter yesterday from Jennie at Scotsbrig which represents her as being pretty well at present. I think Jenny should stay much with her and look after her. Good old Mother—the spring weather will grow gradually into steady summer and then she will have a better time of it, we may hope.

Jack was here last night. He talks of going North to “the country,” probably toward Annandale, before long, but his movements are very uncertain. He has not yet any fixed employment here and would be much better if he had. He does not seem to like medicine and is hovering among a great variety of things. We always hope he will fix himself on some specific object by and bye. As for me I am very busy but making very bad progress. I have nothing for it but to bore along mole-like; I shall get out some time or other. Our spring wind has turned round tempestuously into the North of late and brought cold and dust, with the glare of sunshine, not so pleasant to the invalid part of us. Jane, however, is tolerably well and growing stronger as the sun grows. She sends her old love to you and kind remembrances. Give my regards to James—he must be planting his potatoes now. Love to you.

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