The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 23 February 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530223-TC-MAC-01; CL 28: 49-50


Chelsea, 23 feby, 1853—

My dear Mother,

You will take a small Note rather than none at all,—merely to tell you that we are pretty well here, still struggling along in the old way; and as to “news,” have properly speaking none, which indeed may be considered good news.

Jane's cold is gone; it never came to any amount that was considerable; only kept her in the house for a day or two; but now, I see, she ventures out altogether as before. Today, too, we have got thaw at last; which will be very welcome to us,—and truly I hope for my good old Mother's sake, there is the like at Scotsbrig too;—for the hard grim temperature has not been good for any of us. We had hard black frost for about a week past; no snow falling, but some thin coat lying on the unfrequented spots; and all the young world skating, the ice thick enough to have carried carts. Most days the sun got out for an hour or two; and made here and there a little mud, which froze again at night. But now today I felt before getting out of bed that the wind must be changing: accordingly, in my short morning-walk (or rather run, for I am usually rather cold, from my bath, and run, when I can, to gather heat before breakfast), snow came upon me, which soon grew sleet, grew rain; and to my great satisfaction it is falling on my windows here whh testify that it is from the West! If it will continue?—

Jack sent me a short Note from Scotsbrig about his visit there; and much was I obliged to him for that good service. He represented you as tolerably even wonderfully well, considering the weather there was. I fancied he had come upon you in some good hour; and I was glad, too, that I had got share of it thro' his report. You keep almost close to bed, he says; which probably is wisest till the temperature change. I hope you have reading enough? With something to read, you can still entertain yourself well; which is very fortunate, and, I must say, rather creditable too.— — Jean is coming over directly I believe. From a Note I had last night, it appears you are to look for her from Moffat in a very short time,—or perhaps she may have already come when this Note arrives. Remind her that she was to write to me.

The Parliament has begun here; but that properly no difference to me, as I do not at present take the least interest in what they are doing, or see almost any of them,—or indeed see any one that I can help seeing! I stick close to my wretched old Books, with many an abstruse thought in my head, about them, and myself, and things and persons in general;—and hope always I shall be able to distil something out of all this, one day; who knows? At any rate, it is better not to be bothered with people who have nothing wise to tell one, and who would hinder one's affairs rather than further them.—— The other night, however, we had the “Sir Jas Stephen” again; who was very airy and involved; more so than usual, I thot, and attributed it to a cough he had: yet very friendly, and plenty of sense in him (a man turned of 60, and perhaps 20 years in Downing Street)—I find it always worth while to see the like of him when a chance offers. Duffy, who is in Parliamt now, came one day;—he with others, “too tedious to mention” :—in fact, one is in no want of “company” here, if only the quality of it were satisfactory!1

My dear good Mother, I must end now, having still much to do, and 3 o'clock just at hand. Ah me, ah me! work enough if it were good for anything!— My blessing on you all

T. Carlyle—