April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 17 November 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18481117-TC-MAC-01; CL 23: 156-157


Chelsea, 17 Novr, 1848—

My dear Mother,

Whether Jack wrote to you yesterday or not, I do not know; but it will be very proper that I write to you today, and make sure. He came, all safe, two nights ago; and just at the right time; for Jane, who had caught some cold or other mischief the day before, was considerably out of order that night, and he by some little pill procured her a good sleep, and has quite set her up again.— His news, about Scotsbrig and you and all the rest, you may suppose were interesting to us! You are not strong, he admits; but he thinks you will be decidedly better with these new medicines and arrangements of his;—no doubt he would settle for you and arrange whatever little good he could; and if there were anything else any of us could do, surely it would be our best happiness to get it done! I am far away from you; and, alas, I can do simply nothing at all!— He made us merry last night with the account of that “flatsoled hero-worshipper,” Hyslop and your reception of him.1 “The Mother of Thomas Carlyle?”—Yes.—“Born where?” Ecclefechan:—he said no fastidious Duchess could have done the poor Blockhead better than you by the simple force of Nature, dispiritment of mood, and practical desire to get rid of idle babble, and be left at rest. Such people often enough come staggering about us here; and require to be managed in somewhat the same way. We tried to guess who this Hyslop could be; but were not able at all. A Blacketrig man,2—or from the Moffat region? Perhaps Jamie knows.

Enclosed here is a small Gift for you, dear Mother, which Jamie (for it is marked in his name) may change into ten bits of Notes,—next Wednesday or the day before. You are to give Isabella two sovereigns, and each of the three bairns half a sovereign; what remains I wish you to buy something with, for yourself,—something, anything that you care about, as the need turns up: and say, “Tom gave it me.”

Tell Jamie to be very careful about his health. That is an ugly complaint of his;3 and depends very much on the way one treats it, on the care one takes of it. C. Buller is confined just now with a surgical operation for that very thing,—a severer form of it than Jamie's— Tell Isabella we have broken into the Butter, and find it excellent as formerly. The very top surface “tasted of the wood” a little, Jane said; but now that is quite away. The meal is unsurpassable. Captn Sterling will pay me, I fancy, soon; then I will repay for his stock.

But what shall I say of the Dressing gown? Jane admits, it is the bonniest I ever had at any time: warm, light, fine, and pretty to look upon; and (tell poor Garthwaite too) it fits every way to perfection. Thanks to you all. Thanks to my dear old Mother, who determined to achieve this for me still; and has achieved it. Surely as I sit wrapped in that kind caring, I shall think often and lovingly of her, and of all her faithful endeavours for me early and late. My time for going out is quite past; I must end today. A word from some of you soon. Ever your son— T. Carlyle