The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 17 March 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530317-TC-MAC-01; CL 28: 82-83


Chelsea, 17 March, 1853—

My dear Mother,

Here is an ugly blast of cold wild weather again, which does none of us any good, and which alarms me on your account lest it bring another ill turn on you. Since yesternight, or indeed the night before, there has been a bitter northwind; not so cold as formerly, but far too cold for any weak creature; it blows and bites, and dashes snow-powder about from time to time. Yesternight I had a letter from the Doctor, which gave a very welcome account of you: but this temperature is greatly against us all. Keep close in bed, I desire you; and let everybody be careful to keep the room warm about you,—a sufficient fire by night as well as by day. This I advise, and beg, very much. Cold is the worst thing in the world for you.— In a little while this blast will go, and we shall have good weather again. March comes in “like a lion” (as we see); but goes out “like a lamb.” Take care, take care!

Poor little Postie, it appears, has fallen into a dangerous predicament;—poor little soul, he has been a bit fell, useful, and very obliging creature, this long while; I shall be truly sorry if anything befal him. John does not seem to think his state hopeless: but of course, that palsy, or whatever it may be, is a sad matter that incurably lames when it does not at once kill. Poor little man!1

The Ferguses have lost their Sister; Mrs Nixon, an amiable and good woman; a widow, who has had many troubles, and has now died unexpectedly.2 She was at Edinr; had for some weeks complained of “influenza”; but neither Doctors, nor friends thought it dangerous: suddenly she takes strange pains in her head; it proves “Congestion of the brain” and in a day or two she is dead. I remember her when in Kirkcaldy a beautiful young woman,—clever and more of a lady than any of the rest:—she married an Irish Navy Captain, who did not turn out very well; he shot himself (none said for what) some ten or fifteen years ago; and she has wandered about, generally with the one son he left her, rather unhappy, deafish, and unhealthy, ever since.3 It is now all over; ended now, as all will be.—

I enclose this Weimar Letter, if you like to read it before burning. The writer is a little black cocknosed Irishman,4 who thro' many adventures has come to be an Official Gentleman at Weimar; a very honest cheery-hearted creature, and always a great friend of mine. He has a Dutchwoman to wife, and his children speak only German of which neither he nor their Mother are more than half master. His father, he told me, once had a shop in Ayr. How men are shuffled about!

Farewell dear Mother; I must now out,—to the London Library first. My constant love to one and all. Yours ever affectionate T. Carlyle