The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 26 April 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530426-TC-MAC-01; CL 28: 121-122


Chelsea, Tuesday 26 April, 1853—

My dear Mother,

Here is a Letter from poor Jenny which you will be very glad of; it came last night, and I send it off without loss of a post: I had written to her (as I think I mentioned to you) only on friday last,—enclosing a Portrait of Jane and one of myself, of the kind you had a sample of;—in due time these will get to Hamilton,1 with the little message attending them; and give a moment's satisfaction to poor little Jenny and her household.

The other Letter here included is from John Gordon; and it too, if you can manage to read it (for Gordon writes very indistinctly), will be of some interest. I did not know the least about poor Mrs Glen, or whether she was in this country, whether even in this world! I was awakened to many old kind recollections, last night, at sight of Gordon's message to me; and answered immediately that I would with my whole heart sign the Petition, and do whatever I could to help it forward otherwise. I fear poor Mrs Glen is in straits as to her money affairs, now that her Husband is removed from the scene; and, alas, I am not at all certain that anything real can be expected from this second Petition; but I will certainly do all I can for it: and if this do not succeed, something else ought to be set about.

We have had two days or more of ugly north-wind rain; which is now gone, and has given place to North-wind sun today; a still cold, but much pleasanter kind of weather. I wonder always how my good old Mother is standing it! John, I trust, will write to me again this week.— I am driven out of my Library, by joiners, since yesterday morning; I sit up here in my neat enough little bedroom (on the back of the house, and on the top or third story); a comfortable city of refuge, as things go, where I hear fewer noises, and look out upon gardens and green places (once the Bishop of Winchester's Park)2 with no Houses within a long gunshot of me. This was once all green, and a fenced field with some sheep or horses occasionally in it; but, alas, it is now torn open; has a road open, a short gunshot off me, and all on the farther side of that road will soon be built upon,—happily on this hither side of it, they can only do one row (if that), and must then stop (owing to private ownership &c): so that we shall still have fair breathing space, greatly better than the most have. The rate at which London is incessantly swelling out on every side, is something, to me, quite monstrous to look upon. Surely we have enough of people here already,— nearly as many (2½ to 3 is the proportion) as are in all Scotland together! I said once to a man celebrating the miraculous extent of London: “Yes, it is a big city; if it were as good as it is big, there would be nothing to desire in it!”—

Jane and I are to go out today, and “make a call” together,—a call upon people of quality: whom we hope to find not at home! But I am to meet her in the London Library, which is near the scene, and I must keep to my time.— A neighbour (whom we never spoke to, or likely shall speak to, and do not know by face) sent us in, last night, a little basket of excellent eggs, with compliments &c: he had already extinguished a crowing cock at my request.3 The people are extremely civil in reality; and do honour to Literature &c in my unworthy person. Which is one reward for staying in one's place, which, of this restless population, very few do.— —Take care of yourself, dear Mother: this weather has still a harsh vein in it. Commend me to Jamie & Isabella: has “young Jamie” got stout again, and back to his work? Farewell for today.

T. Carlyle

I find a Cover will do better after all!—4