The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 29 June 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530629-TC-MAC-01; CL 28: 180-181


Chelsea, 29 june, 1853—

My dear good Mother,—I will write you a little word before I go out this day; alas, it is all I can do for you,—the more is my sorrow. But that very small and poor service I ought not to leave undone.

This morning we had again a Note from John: he is very punctual about writing; which, as well as his being near you and always within reach, is a great comfort to us. In the Note before last he told us of a ham you were about sending; good kind Mother! It was very wise and right that he advised you not to send it at present; but the thought of its being intended to be sent is, and will remain, a thing of real value to me. It is one of a thousand such things with which my poor life, ever since it began, has been made rich by you. Whatever other things have gone wrong with me, the love of my true Mother never went wrong, but followed me ever inseparable, in good and evil fortune; and I should be harder of heart than is suitable for man if I could ever forget that fact. And, alas, what can I do in return for you, dear Mother? Nothing, nothing! I will try to live by the noble example you shewed; and to hold fast for myself, and speak abroad as I can for others, the precious simple wisdom I learned from my Mother: let that be a comfort to her in her old age, in looking back upon a long life that has had many sorrows in it. And let us all take Courage, Courage; and look, with humble trust for a good issue to all that was really good in us; and thro' Time and thro' Eternity, never quit that sacred hope. Oh thank you, thank you, dear pious-hearted Mother, for the precious breeding you gave me: things that I feel to be wise, to be God's truth, and fit to be spoken aloud before all mortals, and even thundered in their ears in these sad days,—how often do I find, with an unspeakable tenderness of recollection, “That is thy Mother's, now; that thou got from thy poor Mother, long ago! May God reward her for it,—as of a surety He will and does!”— —I think, the older I grow, the more entirely I feel myself my Father's and my Mother's Son; and have more and more reason to be thankful, and piously proud, that I had such Parents. Courage, dear Mother, we will not fear anything, but hope till death and thro' death! The soul that has been devoutly loyal to the Highest, that soul has the eternal privilege to hope. For GOOD is appointed it, and not evil, as God liveth!— — I will speak no more on these topics just now: but they are often in my thoughts; and cannot long be absent from any serious heart that would live wisely in a world such as ours.

I see by John's letters that you are very frail and feeble; but I still cannot help thinking this fine summer weather must do you some good: you do get to the door he says, but seldom venture farther for some time past;—well, well; but he adds also you are clear, quiet and brave, as you have always been. Thank God, for what is even better than health of body!— — Here in London the summer is really quite grand; and being full of clouds, with copious rains, & loud brisk west winds, no weather could suit me so well, whatever it may do for the Hay harvest, which must have suffered sometimes! We have taken off the carpets, totally here up stairs; which I find to be a very great help indeed, when the air is too hot: and I would recommend it much to you if you come to suffer by heat, as is likely enough next month. One can wash the floor, keep it perfectly clean; sprinkle water on it &c &c: in the middle room (big room, where I used to sleep), if the carpet were off, I think you might be secure against heat in the warmest afternoon.

My work makes very little progress here; but I never give it quite up; I, at worst, lean upon my picks and shovels,—up to the loins in inextricable glar,—and consider sorrowfully how I shall try to get it cleared off!— — There has not yet any news of the Glen affair come to hand; except only this, that the Pension-fund is not to be voted “at the end of june” (everything being late, this year, in Parliament), but probably “in the latter part of july,”—till which time accordingly (as I wrote to Mr Glen) we must patiently wait. I still expect as before about that matter.

Jane is going off towards you, she decides, on Saturday first, and will be at Liverpool on Saturday night! She will stay at Liverpool a day or two with her uncle; and some day next week, as I calculate, you will see her at Scotsbrig. I think she ought to go to Moffat first; and Jack will bring her down. Poor little Jeannie, she is greatly failed, and I think even failed since last year; but she has a wonderful spirit in her still, and fights along, never yielding.——— ——— Isabella, I hope, keeps moderately well: if she can do & contrive anything than1 could be of help to you, I calculate always on her, and she knows that. My kind regards to Jamie & her, and to all the kindred near you. I will write soon again. I am ever my good old Mothers Affectionate Son,—with blessings and prayers,— T. Carlyle

(Jamie's Newspaper has not come this week at all)