April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 5 December 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441205-TC-MAC-01; CL 18: 279-280


Chelsea, 5 decr, 1844—

My dear Mother,

I suppose you to be about the Gill at this time, for I have seen two little Notes of Jenny's and Mary's to that effect. At any rate they will send you the Letter on, if you have returned to Scotsbrig. So I will write a word to you, dear Mother; better late than never. It is long since you have heard a direct word from me; you always like right well to hear, and you never complain of not hearing—my dear good Mother!

Yesterday which was my birthday, I meant to have written you: I said to myself, “It is the least thou canst do on her behalf for bringing thee into the world!” I right fully purposed and meant: but just at the time intended for that pious object, an impertinent visitor was pleased to drop in, and my hands were tied! I reflected that you could not have got the Letter any sooner at any rate; and so, decided to write today.

Dear Mother, many thoughts, sure enough, were in my head all yesterday! This time Nine-and-forty years I was a small infant few hours old, lying unconscious in your kind bosom; you piously rejoicing over me,—appointed to love me while life lasted to us both. What a time to look back, thro' so many days, marked all with faithful labour by you, with joy and sorrow! I too could weep over them: but we will not weep, dear Mother;—surely we may say withal as the Old Hebrew devoutly did, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!”1 Yes; for all our sorrows and difficulties, we have not been without help;—neither shall we be. Your poor “lang sprawl of an ill-put-together thing,” as you once defined me,2 has grown up to be a distinct Somewhat in this world; and his good mother's toil and travail with him was not entirely in vain. Much is come and gone; and we are still left here:—and ought not our true effort, and endeavour more than ever, for the days that yet remain, to be even this, That we may serve the Eternal Maker of us; struggle to serve Him faithfully, Him and not the Enemies of Him! Even so.— My ever-loved Mother, I salute you with my affection once more, and thank you for bringing me into this world, and for all your unwearied care over me there. May God reward you for it,—as assuredly He will and does: I never can reward you!——— ———

Alas, here comes in another visitor;3 who falls to my lot, Jane being out: so I have to break off abruptly while my tale is but half told! I will write again before long.— I have been curious this while to know what winter clothing &c you had got; how you were provided in all ways for the winter;—pray do take all care of yourself in this bad weather. We hope poor Mary is a little better (Jack always reports her so) and that you will be able to get to your own inglenook again, which I believe is warmest for you.

I wrote to Alick two days ago; Jack also adding a little Note. I am as busy as I can be: I doubt not by and by but something will come of it.——— I sent Jenny's money to Dumfries; and Jamie's of Scotsbrig, what I owed him. We are all well. The Doctor has a really nice place to live in, within a mile of us; one of the quietest, I think, in London. I go up sometimes in the evening; give him a cigar, and he attends me smoking in my walk before bedtime.— Adieu, dear Mother. My regards and blessings to you all. Ever your affectionate / T. Carlyle