The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 11 June 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510611-TC-MAC-01; CL 26: 87-89


Chelsea, 11 june, 1851—

My dear Mother,

I think it is rather a longish while since I have written to you yourself, tho' I have got various Notes from the Doctor, and two lately which are still to be answered. I am held terribly busy, or what is worse, terribly interrupted in my little business; and hardly ever write the scrape of a pen to anybody if I can possibly get off. But you are not like “anybody” to me; not you, my good dear Mother! Before going out today,—the Printers having left me a little elbow-room,—I will scribble you a small line, with such no-news as we have here.

Summer has come upon us; and the weather is very pleasant, tho' rough and damp. I like the grey summer weather here beyond all kinds; but at present certainly the grey is sometimes in excess: yesterday for instance, writing a Note to Jean about this same hour (2 p.m.), I had actually to get up candles, so thick was the wet dark draggle that hung over everything! Today is brisk and bright as possible; fine cool clear summer-air, with the wet clouds floating about amid sunshine, and not sending down any fall.— Miss Welsh is expected from Liverpool, I think this very day: she is to stay till the end of the month; and may see her fill of the “Glass Palace” and other loud nonsense that we have. I was in that thing (as I told Jack I was just going) some time ago: a very braw place indeed; the finest house ever seen in the world,—with three huge growing trees, with fountains &c &c, in the inside of it,—only unhappily there was no result visible to any rational eye in the whole of it; with Sandy Corrie one asked bitterly, “What's ta use on't?” An endless crowd simmers continually about it,—ever-flowing streams of cabs, and noisy rabble confusing all the neighbourhood:—you may tell Jack, I yesterday, in my wet walk, found Craik's old house, converted into a house of entertaint for Glass-palace-itself, a flag flying from the top of it, a big tent at the side of it, a list of prices for porter, sodawater &c; and the whole conspicuously labelled “Cromwell's retreat,”—the place where Cromwell could retire to after his hard labours!1 I have laughed internally ever since; but was too glarry and angry to laugh much aloud.— Our comfort is, the whole thing will go clean about its business in a certain length of time; and vanish utterly like a bag of wind, and leave us and the ground quite clear of it. Patience, a little patience!—

Jane has got a stiff neck out of this damp; troublesome a good deal to her for two days past; but now it is mainly gone. I too feel a twinge of rheumatism in one of my shoulders this morning; but count on walking it out so soon as I am on my feet. “Nero” was again stolen from us,—stolen at the end of this street, almost under our very nose, one evening! The Postman after some negociation brought him home on the third day, stuck in his leather bag, with only the head out. He is to be kept constantly within doors now, and to do what tumbling he can in the garden. My own decided counsel is, to give him away to some good hand;—but he seems to afford so much amusement here, and is so immensely “loved,” I cannot insist on that view of the case just yet. We have at length got a very good Servant, after several not successful trials: this is a quiet widow, about forty, a woman countryfied, decent, diligent, and expert at her business, who seems to have no wish beyond getting lived in quietness after honestly doing her work. She is a considerable acquisition to us.— — My Printers are very irregular; not third part done yet: the book will be readable enough; but otherwise good for almost nothing. It needed to be off my hands. I send you a small snip of one of the leaves: I hope the whole may be ready in about 2 months.

Poor Jenny is getting the best of the season for her voyage across the sea: I often think of her;—I trust we shall, in due time, hear that she has got well to land,—as, by Heaven's goodness, we have done of so many voyages we were interested in! It was a great relief to me that you, dear brave old Mother, took it so well, so like yourself. There can no doubt but it was right and proper she should be forwarded on her way, since it was so clearly an inevitable one for her. She has never had one hour of wholesome life on the late terms; and would never have had. We will hope it will all turn to a good issue for the brave little woman: indeed the execution of a purpose like that is itself a great blessing for a human creature. It is possible she may do both Rob and herself a great deal of good by it;—to do herself good, I should say, she can hardly fail by such a resolution and achievement.2

Will you tell the Doctor now to send me up some statement of the money account between us; that I may settle with him, when a leisure moment comes.— Did you get the Medallion yet from Dumfries? Jean writes to me that it is done, but not whether it is sent. She has also ordered another for herself here,—or I have for her,—which is to be framed here. If the Doctor were at Dumfries (or if any of you for him were), he might pay Jean the trifle I owe her, and include it in his account? But tell him never to mind: surely it is easy enough otherwise too, when I reflect!

Jamie's Newspaper has not come this week yet. I got the Leader again, as you said; not that I liked it better, but that I liked the others worse! If you care for the Standard of Freedom,3 I can very easily get that too: let Jack inquire of you, and inform me! They are a sad caudle of nonsense one and all of them.

You get out now, don't you; and find it do you good while the weather is bright? I hope you did make out Cressfield as well as Newfield: a little outrake is very beneficial when the weather serves.— People are busy mowing here; I get a fine smell of hay sometimes when out riding. The crop light, I shd say. Jamie will be on too, by and by. Give my love to him and Isabella. Ask John to write again; he may send me the Icelandic Book— Blessing with you dear Mother! Yours

T. Carly[le]