The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 16 April 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530416-TC-MAC-01; CL 28: 112-113


Chelsea, 15[–16] April, 1853—

My dear Mother,

This is Friday night; and I will write you a little word, lest tomorrow I may have still less time. The tea has been delayed tonight; for we are expecting a Miss Wynne, a braw Welsh Lady, a great friend of Jane's; who comes down once in the quarter of a year, and is very fair company on a time. She is about forty, still very beautiful, tall and bright; an elderly maid, of much accomplishment, and superior sense and information. It is in waiting for her that I have got up stairs into my own room; and am struggling to bring up the leeway of the day, which has been interrupted by too many things.

We got John's Letter, written after he had seen you about a week ago. His accounts were not quite so flourishing as formerly, yet still what we must call good; and he pacified my apprehensions of the cold weather having hurt you at that time. Alas, it is again very cold; fierce as winter itself for some days past; wind sticking in the north, sometimes loud blasts of it, and no sun at all; all which makes a day that will not suit my poor old Mother [at]1 all! Perhaps you are not so cloudy and grey as we: when the sun gets out, it makes a great difference; and to one that can walk vigorously, it is already too hot now and then. Such a capricious season for weather I can hardly recollect: one has never done with sudden changes. I advise you stay within doors; do not venture out except when the sun is shining, and that northwind not blowing.

Jane keeps moving about, tho' the cold weather does not suit her; she suffers now and then from want of sleep (which indeed means just the want of health and want of strength), and worst when the days and nights are so cold. I, for my own part do not now complain of the weather, it is so suitable for long brisk walks when one is all buttoned together. No leaves are yet out, or hardly any; they were just coming, when this cold set in and checked them. I keep struggling away and endeavouring to work; but I cannot yet say, with much success. Alas, alas! But I must just struggle on and endeavour better. Many a time do I think of your good saying, “Patience, come and help me!”—

Poor Maccall, of whom I told you, is trying to lecture; does not make much speed hitherto, I doubt; but will perhaps get into better progress as he goes on. His health is steadily mending; he has money to stand some 3 or 4 months of diligent trial in this new line;—and of course he will do his very utmost, poor soul.—Some German people, Reichenbachs (that is their name), with whom Jane has grown rather intimate in the last year (for they have been neighbours, are really good people, and were friends of old friends of ours), are just now packing up to be off bodily to America. Reichenbach was a rich nobleman in Germany five years ago; but had the misfortune to be sent to their Parliament during the troubles in that country; and now, really without fault of his, he finds himself deprived of all his properties but some little wreck he was able to save in time; condemned also to “10 years of the hulks” (if they could catch him),—and in fine, just setting off to America to become a farmer there. Jane is much concerned about them. The Wife, a sickly but very good and sensible little woman (who can speak almost no English, unluckily), has been much about her since they came to these parts. They go for Liverpool on Monday.

Here are some German things, and a Letter of Neuberg's, whh you can give to the Dr when he next comes to Scotsbrig: they are of no consequence at all, but may amuse him for a moment before going to the fire.— — We are far on in the 2d Ham of the Scotsbrig Two, whh I grieve to say is the last of all! We began first upon the other Scotsbrig one; but finding it a little new, took to the Yorkshire; ate those, then it (which was very good too, tho' not salt), and lastly are upon this, which is a disappearing in a most victorious manner! “It is but fair to state,” there cannot readily be a better Ham; and often in eating my portion in the sharp mornings I think of the kind friends that are so good to us always!— — Farewell, dear good Mother, till I write again in a few days.— Miss Wynne did come before I had done; and it is Saturday now when I end. Love to all. Ever your Bairn T. Carlyle