The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 2 March 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530302-TC-JAC-01; CL 28: 57-58


Chelsea, 2 March, 1853—

My dear Brother,

I need not say whether your last Note interested me. Our poor old Mother! Alas, she is very weak; and appears to have been very ill indeed. I got a Letter from Jean last night; but it was only her alarmed version of what she saw before you came; and ended with your Note to her, of the same date as the one you had sent to me. I suppose some cold caught in the Kitchen, hearing the sermon, had perhaps been the primary cause? Your treatment was evidently the rational one; happy, that you had your means and materials as well as your ingenuities so prompt, and produced so good and speedy a result! I wrote on Monday1 to Scotsbrig, soliciting farther news: but of course it is to you that I look chiefly both for news, and for the practical means of good news: a great blessing that you are in the neighbourhood.— — I hope your cold is off, and the weather better; so that a second ride to Scotsbrig may not cost you such trouble. We are got into thaw here, since Tuesday; and are very daisey and very muddy, yet with breaks of sun. I had a paltry little cold myself, caught in one of those venomous nights of frost (sleeping on the sofa after dinner): all Saturday Evening and all Sunday there was a perfect brook of rheum and ridiculously-miserable sniftering & sneezing; but that proved the crisis, and I ail but little since. On Monday evg I even accompanied Jane to dine at the Milnes's: a biggish company of miscellanies, mostly rather ugly,—Mrs Crowe (“Nightside of Nature”), an elderly fashionable Lady with one of her eyes relaxed & hanging: she with Lady Davy, aged Mummy, might be said to dispute the palm!2 Ach Gott,—but by luck and good managet we got thro' it, and little harm done. A night over even a moderately stupid Book, and with little assistance from tobacco, how much more tolerable to the soul!— — Poor Maccall I fear will go mad: he is sane enough yet, but has the ineradicable sentiment of edged steel in the nerves of him (“whole universe a guillotine”; dare not shew himself &c): his pride is infinite; he has no money; and has wo[r]n himself down to this conditn, without success of any kind, attained or probable. Poor soul. I am to borrow from the Literary Fund3 for him; but have the worst ulterior misgivings.—— — Adieu dear Brother. Recommend us to our kind sister Phoebe; and be well, all of you. Ever yours

T. Carlyle