July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 22 March 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480322-TC-MAC-01; CL 22: 274-276


Chelsea Wednesday [22 March 1848]

My dear Mother,

I had a Note from Jean yesterday, which gave us much satisfaction, assuring us that you and the rest were still in a tolerable usual way, all of you. Welcome truly is such news,—Oh we do not know how precious and worth welcoming it is!—

Today I am very cold (the fire having gone out), and my time for walking is already struck: however, I write you a word to say the like of ourselves; we too are all moderately well. Jane indeed still continues weak; but she is getting steadily a little better: she goes out whenever it is bright weather, without damage: today she is down stairs making marmalade;—she kindly salutes you all. Our weather is very wet and clashy [messy]: I hardly remember here so wet a Spring as we have. Jack continues busy and well; I too am fully as well as usual, and certainly not idler. On the contrary I think I shall again get very busy by and by.— Emerson is come back to Town; but he is in a lodging of his own, a good way off us: he came here last night, accompanied by Jack, of whom he is very fond. I am to dine at the Barings's tomorrow in honour of E.: most other such proposals I have rejected.— — And what a time of Republics and Revolutions it is! The whole world, with hardly the exception of one Kingdom but our own, has started up into a kind of insurrection, and said to its Kings, “Better Laws or —!” People here are in a great emotion about it; the incrediblest rumours are rife every day; and tho' all are rather in the laughing vein as yet, I imagine all of us may get to be very serious before we see the end of it yet! Of late days, I have been reading some of the Books these new Parisian Kings had written, which I should not have read otherwise: Louis Blanc, for one, I find to be a truly convinced and sincere man; but his head, I take it, is none of the biggest, poor little fellow!1— — Jean asks, What has become of the second Article for the Examiner? Alas, it was found to be unpublishable: it ope[n]ly approved of at least the attempt by France to do something for the guidance and benefit of the workpeople: and our poor Editor2 (really it was a necessity with him), after struggling all he could, was obliged to suppress it. For which indeed I was heartily obliged; and indeed the poor man did it with the uttermost reluctance, being infinitely desirous to get me to write for him. But the truth is, it will be better if I try to write a whole Book on the subject? A Book of my own: there I have elbow-room enough; and no master over me, except (as I hope) One in Heaven! We shall see.

Let me not forget altogether to tell you of the Peel Dinner.3 It took effect duly last Saturday Evening: a handsome Party, C. Buller Richard Milnes (the Yorkshire friend), Sir James Graham, several Lords &c with Ladies, finally Sir R. Peel and his Wife.4 Peel is a capital-looking man; five feet eleven or so, with a fine head thrown slightly back, straight as a plummet, yet altogether a mild and friendly expression, especially a fine low-toned mellow persuasive voice; and a “bonny eagle-eye” when he is interested. To me he was very kind: I sat next him (by favourable arrangement), and we had considerable talk together, in a very friendly vein but not on any deep matter; about the new French Government, about the old French Revolution &c; on all subjects he spoke like a man of sense and kind gentle manners: what pleased me best of all however (for little could come out of a man in such a scene) I found in him a decided sense of fun, a real laugh in him, such as one does not often meet in the artificial circles his lot has been cast in.5 On the whole, I decidedly liked Peel; and could not but hope some real good might yet lie in him for the Country. He is clearly by far the likeliest public man I have ever spoken with; seems to me incomparably better furnished both with talent and disposition than any other we have at present. Before eleven o'clock he went away, to attend a thing they call “the Speaker's Soiree” (a House of Commons thing), and by and by Buller brought me homeward in his little carriage (for Buller has now got rich promotion,6 and keeps a bit carriage), and so I ended this Adventure.— Before very long, it is thought by many, we shall have Peel prime minister again.

Dear Mother, I am scribbling at no allowance;—and the main errand of my Letter is like to be forgotten! Along with this, comes a roll which will surprise you very much: let Jenny open it carefully, not slitting too deep,—and you will find a Picture: tell me what you think of it; or bid Jean tell me.

They cost 5/; and the poor man, I fear, is a kind of simpleton, and will make but little money by it: I have bought only 2; another for Germany and this.7

Jean says there is a new Gig in the way of buying: tell her I am heartily glad of it; more over that I promised Jamie at Scotsbrig “to help him to buy” such a thing, and that certainly I will keep my word. If it be a right article, let them snatch it up at once.

I am to write to Jean herself one of these days: so I end at present. Tell her Jane is much gratified by her knitwork, and will herself say as much in a short time.— Jenny is well, we hope; and the little Bairns? Take care of yourself, dear Mother! I mean to send a little Book shortly. Meanwhile you may have a Times daily if you like.8 And so adieu dear Mother for this day. God bless you all.

T. Carlyle