October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 4 December 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18451204-TC-MAC-01; CL 20: 68-69


Bay House, Alverstoke, Hants 4 Decr, 1845—

My dear Mother,

This day I will write you a word, however great the whirl of idleness about me; I meant to have done it days ago, and every day passes over without its being done,—till this which is my Birthday arrives! I reflect with great seriousness this morning that I have lived half a hundred years. What thoughts lie in that,—dear good Mother; thoughts that fill one's heart beyond speech! May God continue to be good to us; and guide us by His wisdom into the Eternities thro' what of this Time-pilgrimage remains to us. To be well guided: it lies all there. Whether we have good weather or bad, pleasant roads or painful, is really of no moment at all; but only if we arrive at the right mark. God be gracious to us all!—

We continue here, in a state of perfect or almost perfect Donothingism; otherwise getting on very tolerably well. Jack, I find, forwarded you the Letter I sent him; so you will know a little what kind of establishment it is. We have no fogs or frost, not very much rain; today (Thursday) is bright as summer, and I am writing in my bedroom quite warm without a fire. A fire stands ready for lighting; but I do not care to spend a spunk1 on it. In the way of temperature we do exceedingly well. The people also are altogether kind, pleasant and friendly; we dine at half-past four, and I have a long ride daily: all, in fact very suitable, except that I sometimes fail of sleep a little still:—but, alas, we are all quite idle; that is a state that cannot suit us very long! No day or even week is yet set for our departure; but one feels it in the distance as a thing that must be before very long!

Tell Jamie the Meal came all in admirable order to Chelsea; nay what is very singular the half of it has come hither, and is now in this house,—excellent meal; and porridge and oatcakes have been made of it here, much approved of by the natives! The fact is they had a kind of childish curiosity after these articles of diet, after oatmeal to make them; and we made offer of this. I am sorry they got so much of it, for I perceive it will be but wasted here: however I believe there is about enough for us still at home.

The only other news is that your Cromwell must be almost at Dumfries about this time;2 and you will not lose your place in it now! Here is a Letter I got from Paris about it, the other day, from one Scott of Woolwich (once Edwd Irving's fellow-preacher) a good man;3 whose good judgement will give you pleasure.— — I am called off; even if my Paper were not done! Oh dear Mother, every night in these superb rooms I think of you in your poor little contented corner at Scotsbrig far off, and from my heart send blessings to you. Keep near the fire, dear Mother; you have not such weather as we. Jack sent us Isabella's Letter,4 we were right glad to see such proof of her improvement. Adieu, dear Mother. Blessings with you all T.C.

Jane has had one bad headache here; and for the rest does rather well.