July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 12 February 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480212-TC-MAC-01; CL 22: 242-244


Chelsea, 12 feby, 1848—

My dear Mother,

We are delighted with Isabella's last Letter, announcing to us that you are getting round again into your old way. We hope and trust the improvement continues. The Spring Sun will soon shine out, and do good to all weak creatures. We desire to be very thankful for what we have already heard, and will hope the next news too may be good.

Here all is on the way of recovery also, or already recovered. Jane has had a rather wearisome bout of it; never very ill; but feeble, coughing, and quite unable to front the bad season with any freedom. She got out of her room about a week ago; went and had a short walk on the streets one day, as far as John's and back again, some days ago; but has never ventured out since, the weather, tho' bright, having grown a little frosty. She stirs about the house now, and her cough is well nigh quite gone: if the sun were fairly on his feet, she too will be reestablished, I think. John has been very diligent in doctoring her; has come down almost every evening; was here last night, for a long time: his own cold went away again directly, and he has been well, and busy at his Dante, all this time. I also am now getting pretty well; my dirty little insignificant cough lingered longer than I expected; a little while ago I had thoughts of a Burgundy-pitch plaster:1 but it now seems as if the thing were about gone of itself, and as if I should not need that or any other remedy.— I am getting very uneasy about new “work”; that is a greater grievance to me than any sickness I have! That too must have itself remedied, as I rally to buckle with it. I have a great heap of things to write; but on what hand to begin is not clear: I must begin on some hand or other before long; that is now becoming clear to me.

We have heard nothing from Dumfries for a goodish while; indeed Isabella's Letter is our last out of the home quarter. I hope you have got your new Miscellanies, well bound, from Dumfries; and that all is moderately well there.— A Book consisting of my poor friend John Sterling's scattered writings has just come out; edited by one Julius Hare (an Archdeacon, soon to be a Bishop they say, a good man but rather a weak one);—with a Life of Sterling, which by no means contents me altogether. I think I shall send a Copy of the Book up to you, by and by; probably one of my first tasks will be something in response to this work of poor Sterling's,—for he left it in charge to me too, and I surrendered my share of the task to the Archdeacon, being so busy with Cromwell at the time: but I am bound by very sacred considerations to keep a sharp eye over it, too; and will consider what can now be done.2 Poor John Sterling was a noble creature, but had too little patience, and indeed too thin and sick a constitution of body, to turn his fine gifts to the best account.

The Parliament has come back, and the Town, especially our western quarter of it, is getting very loud with carriages and population again; but we hitherto have little to do with all that. There has been, as you might see, much vain controversy about a certain very useless “Dr Hampden,” and his being made a Bishop against the will of some: nothing could seem to me more entirely contemptible and deplorable than the whole figure of that thing has been.3 Now they are for getting Jews into Parliament: for “the Jew Bill” too I would not give half a snuff of tobacco, for or against:—we will leave that too, and much else, to fight its own battle.4 Of Emerson we hear nothing this while; but they say he is coming hither to lecture before long.

Dear Mother, I must go out, and take a walk in the sun while it shines. Will not Isabella or some of them write us another word soon? Take care of yourself, dear Mother; do not venture out except in the sunshine. If I had not been so dark and abstruse of late days I would have written to you sooner. It shall not be so long till next time. God bless you all!— T. Carlyle