October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 30 May 1846; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18460530-TC-MAC-01; CL 20: 196-198


Chelsea, Saturday / 30 May, 1846—

My dear Mother,

I have a little moment today; and will write you a word, which I have owed you for some time now. We are to thank you for the Ham! Dear kind Mother, it is an excellent Ham; of first rate quality,—and far better than that, it is a beautiful proof to us of your care for us, of your affection to us which knows no decay. We eat of it every morning, and many kind thoughts there are to give a relish to it over and above. Thanks, thanks, dear Mother; the very best we have to give!——

John does not speak quite so favourably of your health in his late Letters: I fear you are in a fretted weak condition;—could not John take you down somewhere to the Shore, now that the weather is grown so warm? If there were a good lodging to be had, the Sea air might be of benefit to both of you. But good lodgings, I fear, are scarce on the Solway shores. Surely the warm weather itself will be favourable to you.— It has grown very warm, first fairly like Summer in London this very day. We have had strong sun hitherto, but not till now wind in the West too.

What a frightful tragedy was that at Annan! Poor Dobie, I can remember his first coming there; and now his poor old Father (whom I saw as an old man at the ordination) is left alone without his son there.1 And our Jamie appears not to have been far himself from that fatal article:—there is room enough in it for reflexion to all of us! I am sorry for poor Jamie Ewart too: his miserable thrift has been terribly punished. A very sad affair indeed, in every way: yet as I was in alarm at first that there might be some voluntary agent in the business, I could not but feel how much more horrible that would have been!2

We get along here tolerably well. I have got myself a big crockery tub, or bath in which I can sit; there I wash myself twice or thrice a week, all over, with soap and cold water, which I find does me a great deal of good. The horse too is very beneficial in the hot weather; abler to carry me in the heat than I should be to carry him! Jane has two days weekly of driving, but always takes me with her. The horse performs nobly; quiet as possible, and very good natured and swift; a healthy, nimble, excellent horse.— My Printers are still haggling in the rear of the Cromwell concern; busy just now with the Index, all done now but that. I shall not have a Copy ready for you by the June Magazines, as I hoped; it will have to wait till next month. Nor have I yet got the lazy Painter to go with me for a new Sun-Picture for you; indeed the Painter talks of a Pencil Sketch which (if I will sit to him for an oil-Picture) he will give you: this of course, if it fall to my share, I will by no means neglect.— Emerson had tried the3 sun at Boston, but not succeeded (so he writes me yesterday); but is to try again, or send me a Drawing of his countenance if nothing else will prosper.4 E. had not yet got my Picture; or seen farther into those Bookseller Bargains he was managing for me.5 So his Letter is not worth sending.

I have been busy all this while revising all those Books that are to be reprinted in America or here. I have now got thro' them all but the Miscellanies,—and this, after some consideration, I decide to leave standing exactly as it is, and trust altogether to the Bookseller Printer,6 for it seems quite correct, and he is himself an extremely accurate man. Christie is doing an Index for the F. Revolution: as soon as that is done, I fling the thing off my hands. I shall then be, I think, at liberty for some time; I do not mean to go into any new business all at once. When the weather grows too hot, we can fly if we like.— I really care little about what mostly goes on here. The other night they got their Corn Bill (or Anticorn Bill) read a second time in the Lords with a majority of Forty-seven:7 so that it is now perfectly sure to pass, and we shall get rid of that sad jargon at last!

Dear Mother take care of yourself; endeavour to get into at least your old degree of strength again! Bid John write to me punctually how you are, how himself and they all are.

Tell Jenny she need not in the least hurry about those shirts; they are not at all wanted here: I wish I had told her this some time ago.

My affectionate regards to Isabella and Jamie, and all the rest; Jane joins me. Tell John to write. Blessings on you all, dear Mother.

Ever your affectionate

T. Carlyle.