The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 1 November 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18531101-TC-MAC-01; CL 28: 302-303


Chelsea, Tuesday (1 Novr), 1853—

My dear good Mother,

I got John's Letter yesterday morning; and along with it Jane got Isabella's: we were very grateful for the news such as they were: we have reason always to say, How much worse might it have been. Oh my dear old Mother, I cannot help you at all, under your heavy burden with your weak strength: I can only think of you continually with sadness and affection; and pray from my heart that a blessing may lie in all these afflictions to us all. Then will our gain be exceeding great!—— I am kept in a very fretted uncomfortable mood myself for the last week: a carpenter is here, more than one; rectifications &c in that unfortunate room;—and it cuts me out of any chance for serious work, as well as curtails my sleep, and scratches me in various ways. We must have patience, as I have heard you say; we must call on patience, “Patience come here and help me!”—there is no other resource for the moment.

Jane has got about well of her cold; is gone out this day, and was out yesterday; the weather being quite bright, tho' fresh and coldish; very greatly improved from what it lately was. Things are rising, in all shops, to a great rate;1 the working people will not have so much to spend on gin: that will be the first result of it, and not a bad one that!

Last night the Sir James Stephen, whom I have sometimes told you of, came down to us: a serious, well-informed, religious kind of man; a strange character for one who has been in Office in these days. He seems to like talking with us; and to me a little of his conversation is not disagreeable now and then. We in general have little or no company of any kind (at least I have not), and are very quiet about this season of the year.—

——Here has just been a little cheery fiddle-diddle of a lady, Mrs Fraser whom you have heard John talk of; not finding Jane at home, she summoned me down and (from the new servant) got me, little to my joy for the moment! However, she is a good little jennyspinner of a body; and I am glad to have seen her again. Her Husband, the worthless soul, is now in Australia, she tells me; and nobody has the least account of him, or ever wishes or expects to have; he may be supposed to have gone to the Gold Diggings; a very fit place for him.2

We expect the Package of Butter &c in a few days; I will then, naturally, write a word to somebody.

I inclose a Cover for Mary; and hope she will send me a small notice of your goings on some day before Saturday,—or at least not on Saturday, as that is a day without post for London.

I hear Jane come in,—just after her visitor is off my hands: I have still to do all my walking; and it now near 4 o'clock, time I were begun with it.

Good b'ye dear Mother. Mary, I know, will do all she can for you with her practical industry and assiduity: alas, it is little we can any of us do,—and I, as it were, nothing except wish. God bless you, dear Mother. T. Carlyle