The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 10 March 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510310-TC-MAC-01; CL 26: 44-46


Chelsea, 10 March, 1851—

My dear Mother,

I ought to write you a word, lest you be too anxious about us; not to speak of my own anxieties about you, in this grim weather, and my desire to have a new Note from the Doctor on that subject. His last came much in season, for we had been long without direct news; and his report was altogether of a favourable kind,—how cheering compared to what we might have dreaded! Oh, we have had much good news from Scotsbrig, first and last; and are bound to be humbly grateful for many things in the course of our interest there!— Tell him to write to me again soon, and tell me the worst and best.

We have been considerably out of order here, owing mainly to the pernicious weather, which is by far the harshest of the whole season hitherto. Stern grey skies, loaded with dust and reek over and above; and the inhospitablest frosty temperature blowing. Almost every second person has had Influenza; everybody is put out more or less.— Poor Jane, as her wont is, directly yielded to the cold; I think it is about ten days ago, she began to get off sleep, to feel weakly; about a week ago she ceased going out, and has had a bad feverish time of it all this while since. No sleep to satisfy; indeed sometimes she does not get above an hour, or two hours, and that in many pieces, all night; dare not try morphine, which sometimes makes matters worse by many degrees:—a bad violent headache one day, morphine last night with only half effect &c &c. Today, first since the headache, she is come down stairs again; but is still very weak;—tho' now, as we have rain today, I hope for an improvement of the weather, and that will mend many things. Another bad item in the Catalogue was my own being seized with this same Influenza: I had been careful, diligently steady to my work, diligent in exercise and abstinence; nevertheless the villainous distemper, taking advantage of a sum of small things, got hold of me one morning last week, and for about 30 hours made a miserable snivelling monster of me; especially during the first night of the affair! However, I struck in resolutely with blue-pill, and stopt that gilravish of confusions;—have got better gradually ever since; and have now this day fairly taken to my work again,—which I found it better to abstain from, while the nasty headache &c were upon me.1 I went out every day, even my worst day for a little;—indeed I find the thing is not cold at all, but bile and the liver, at least with me. There remains little of it now, except the strange smell in one's nose, which I have observed to be the concluding phenomenon in colds. I trust to report well of poor Jane too in a short while.

Mazzini has reappeared, you may tell John that is our chief fruit of “continental reaction.” Mi looks fresh and cheery; will “stay 3 months,” then try it farther. I hear also incidentally that Neuberg is at Berlin. A very solid excellt man, an official Mr Twistleton2 whom we sometimes see was asking zealously When the rest of Dante might be looked for?3 This also you can mention to the Translator; one sample out of several of the like (valuable) kind in our stock.— — On Saturday I sent Gilfillan,4 thinking you might find something in it; the type at least is good,—and the man truly means not ill. Jane had before weighed it one day; reported it above 2 lb; and lo, on my determining to send it still, it proved under!—— Remember me lovingly to Jamie, Isabella, and every one. And tell John to write soon. Ever yours, dear Mother,— T. Carlyle