The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 29 March 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500329-TC-MAC-01; CL 25: 56-58


Chelsea, 29 March, 1850

My dear Mother,

Nobody can well be busier than I at present: but here is a little message for you. I am just about fairly thro' my No 4 (which comes out on the 15th of April); and I mean to have one silent day, walking out among the heaths, before I begin No 5. This is fine sunny weather (tho' with frost still), and most agreeably silent, today being what they call “Good Friday,”—an old festival of the Church, now chiefly employed by the mass of the English population in taking jaunts into the country, comforting their souls with beer, and eating a kind of puffy butter-scons called “cross-buns,” cookies with a cross stamped on them,—sacred to this good day! Not sleeping well, I went out for a walk this morning; all was grey, dim, and snell as winter: but at the “Original Chelsea Bunhouse”1 (for we pique ourselves on our fame for buns), there was a gathering as of people about the drawing a lottery; I stept near, it was poor souls crowding forward for their buns, and Baker and Wife serving them eagerly out of door and window: all silent too,—an affair of real business, and no mistake. At richer doors, as I walked along, Baker's men were delivering the same sacred very edible article; at one particular door, it seemed to me as if the maid were taking about five dozen or so;—many children, and their bits of appetites good! “Got your buns, old boy?” the workmen said to one another as they hurriedly saluted. A fine well-living people this,—after all!

The noise about these Pamphlets is very great, and not very musical,—but indeed I take care not to hear it, so don't care. Chapman is about printing the 4th thousand of No 1, which he thinks naturally is good work. What he means to give me, I do not yet ascertain; but have decided that he shall let me know accurately in black on white within a week,—while I have the hank in my own hand!— — Meanwhile, dear Mother, here is a little fraction of actual money come to me for them from America! A certain second Chapman2 here (John knows him) called the other morning with an offer of £4”10 for a copy of each Noone steamer before it was published.” I instantly said, “Done!” He has got the first accordingly, and paid me for it; the second he will get in about a week, and pay me for it;—and I decide to give these two American first windfalls, one of them to Jane, and the other to my good old Mother by way of gratification to myself. Jane has got hers; and here is yours dear Mother,—buy yourself something you may like with it, or make some loved soul a gift out of it,—in short do yourself a little fraction of good with it, let me have that little pleasure to myself in secret! I have marked the Draught in John's name, who will give you cash for it on the spot (if he can), or easily get it for you.— — And so take care of the weather, dear Mother, and keep yourself snug till the April flowers come;—and let me now go and finish my sad burble of a job, and then get away out from these paper-clippings into the free air.

My affectionate regards to Jamie and Isabella: will somebody tell me if the Boys are at school, and how they are doing?— Poor Jane has caught a kind of real cold at last; but it seems fast going again, tho' she is still a prisoner.

Adieu dear Mother. Ever your affectionate /

T. Carlyle