TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 1 April 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530401-TC-MAC-01; CL 28: 94-95
TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE
The Grange, Hampshire / 1 April, 1853—
My dear Mother,
I think you knew I was to come hither for a week of Country visiting: here accordingly I am since saturday last; and am to stay till monday; on which day the business ends.1 I know not how it can well “do much for me”, this little excursion; but it was not to be well avoided, and at lowest I get some half-dozen pleasant rides out of it, and the sight of the clean fields and bright skies is itself something after a long doze of town. Jane wrote to me this morning; gives a tolerably fair account of her health and other affairs: she was not “well enough” for the expedition in general, or at least thought she wd be better at home. Two Notes have come from Jack about you, moreover, which were a great comfort to me; during the harsh frosty winds I was always in some alarm lest you got some mischief of them: but now, since last night, the wind has got round to the west; and the sun is shining, tho' with showers, and we have almost a summer temperature. There was much need of it: there is not yet the slightest vestige of spring, or green of any kind, upon the fields; not even a primrose to be seen, for they were out long since, and killed again: nothing but a few rather sickly gowans, to be met with here and there, announces what season we are in; it is the latest spring remembered here for a long time.
Our Party was never very numerous; and now consists only of four and myself, besides the natural inhabitants: we had till yesterday four others, Italian, Portuguese &c dignitaries, who could speak nothing but French, and were rather a burden in that way to the native part of us. They are now gone; & tomorrow (Saturday) all the others go, except myself and a Lady-friend of Jane's and mine (a Miss Farrar, a very good soul) whom I am to take charge of homeward on Monday. My rides and my walks, and solitary smokings and meditations in the woods & thickets of this huge braw “Park” (a place about 3 miles in diameter) are my chief recreations here.
Last night while we sat quietly at dinner, a slip of paper was handed in by one of the servants to Lord An: “a fire visible somewhere in the neighbourhood.” I admired much the silent promptitude with which Lord An, telling nobody, went out, leaving his dinner in the middle; drew on boots & cloak (as we found afterwards), and galloped off with a groom, in the wild squally night, which soon became plunges of rain. This is what an English country gentleman is always good for; this and the like of this,—if he is of right quality. The fire proved to be six miles off,—one of the Grange Farmers of this Estate, his onstead all ablaze; cattle &c saved,—Lord An came back about 11 p.m., wet enough, but one wd have said almost glad, tho' to him also it will be a considerable loss, no doubt.— — My paper ends here, dear Mother; and it is not worth while continuing in this strain thro' another sheet. I will write soon from my own table at Chelsea. Love to Jamie & Isabella; and blessings on you all. T. Carlyle.