The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 15 November 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18521115-TC-MAC-01; CL 27: 360-361


Chelsea, 15 Novr, 1852—

My dear Mother,

Here is a hasty line, to keep your affectionate heart in peace about us. I meant to write on Saturday; but something intervened,—besides my reflexion that probably you would not get the Note till Monday.

We have most excessively wet weather; days and nights of it, heavy rain that will not go away,—and one day, owing to flooded river, age of moon, and strong east-wind, we had the highest tide I have ever seen here,—no water flowing into any of our houses, but the house-drains all stopt, and water flowing back thro' them, wetting our kitchen-floor among others! We have not seen the like before. At the same time our temperature is extremely warm for the season; which is not good for poor weak people.— Jane complains still of not sleeping, and is feckless enough, poor thing; but is evidently recovering herself too. All the wretched dirt or nearly all, and the whole of the workmen who made dirt, are now happily out of the house. I have a capital room to sit in; and my nice clean quiet bedroom (with your Picture over the mantelpiece) is a real blessing to me. I am coming into the old bat; I try to do what I can daily, and keep very still, but am heavy-handed as yet, and cannot get along with any alacrity at all! I must strive along; and many times, as you once directed and as I often remember, “call upon Patience.” “Patience, come, lass, and help me!”

Jack and his Wife are to be here tomorrow from the Isle of Wight; Jane heard from him today. She has secured them a nice lodging in this part of the Town, perhaps half a mile from us; and there they can stay at their convenience, till the time for northward comes.

All people are busy with the “Duke's Funeral” in these parts,—which is simply being busy with a big bag of wind and nothingness, as times go! It is indeed a sad and solemn fact for England, that such a man has been called away; the last perfectly honest and perfectly brave Public man they had; and they ought, in reverence, to reflect on that, and sincerely testify that (if they could), while they commit him to his resting place. But alas for the “Sincerity”! It is even professedly all hypocrisy, noise, and expensive upholstery; from which a serious mind turns away with sorrow and abhorrence. To cost 40 or 50,000 pounds, they say; and that is but a small portion of the damage!— He is “lying in state” here, in Chelsea College, 10 minutes walk from us,—his poor clay surrounded with upholstery pomp;—and there is such a crowd to go and see it as never was known before; all the empty fools of creation running! On Saturday which was the first free day, free to all the public, about six people were killed,—fell, and were trampled to death in the enormous crowd, pressing on to such a sight! We heard of a little child that fell; a man picked it up, held it aloft; but having now no elbows to defend himself with, he was soon squeezed powerless, let the child fall, fell himself, and both were trodden flat.— Happily we lie on the lee side of all this, farther from the Town than it;—happily still more, it will all be over on Thursday, and then even rumour will cease talking of it.— —

Jamie's Newspaper was forgotten last week; not quite by my blame: I now send him two, along with your Leader. I begin to long for some news of you again, dear Mother, and of Scotsbrig in general. Tell Isabella;—an old Herald with strokes wd be better than nothing! But I will write soon again at any rate.

T. Carlyle