January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 15 August 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18310815-TC-MAC-01; CL 5:333-334.


6. Woburn Buildings, Tavistock Square— / London, Monday 15th August, 1831—

My Dear Mother,

Tho' I have but a few minutes today, and only half an opportunity (for this will have to go in by Craigenputtoch and lie there a week); yet I scribble you a line, well knowing that the sight of my hand will do you good. I sent off a Newspaper with arrived safe on it, almost directly on my reaching fixed quarters: Jane, I hope, would write you most of my adventures on the way hither; and how I had already put my Manuscript into the hands of the chief Bookseller here, and am to learn how he feels about it the day after tomorrow. I have only to assure you farther that Jack and I are both well; my health seems rather improved; and I sleep in spite of all noises, and nearly careless of them. The rest I will tell you soon in a frank of your own (if I can get one); and hope, at any rate, soon to tell it all by word of mouth.——Naturally your chief anxiety is poor Jack: of whom therefore I must say that spiritually as well as bodily he is in no unhealthy state, tho' his economical prospects are not bright, or in any way fixed at present. I think, morally he has very considerably improved: there is a certain Religion in him, without which, as I hold, man has no true strength; and tho' the poor Doctor is dolefully afflicted with procrastination, I find no other mischief that he has done. He has now ascertained (what he might have done in the fifth of the time) that he cannot live in London: I have cross-questioned him tightly, and endeavour to spur him on: he is making investigations about Birmingham; and must either attempt a settlement there, if not elsewhere; or I will bring him home with me, and you shall see him, and advise him. He is now in no debt here, which he cannot forthwith pay. Farther I really do think he shows a talent for Medical practicing; Jeffrey also is very friendly towards him: so we positively will not let the man, ‘dwindle into an unintelligible wheener,’ but force him thro' it. He has some little Literary things on the anvil in the meanwhile, and will lose no time for other objects, if I can hinder him. So fear nothing, dear Mother: but trust in God, and pray to Him for us all, who holds us all in his keeping.— I have seen Mrs Strachey unhealthy, Mrs Montague unhappy: Time has been busy with all old Friends. It is a sad thing to look on the Past and find it no longer the Present.— Goethe's Seal is off, and I have sent a Letter after it.— There is the Post hour ringing, and we must run. I have to look in upon Irving (for the first time) the next thing I do.— O what a contrast is the harvest-rig [harvest field] at Scotsbrig to this harvest-rig! Nevertheless let us all be diligent and patient: the time of reward cometh. Take care of your health my dear Mother, and be well, to welcome me back again. Oh it is a blessing I am not thankful enough for that you are still here, spared to me. Assure my Father of my true affection. The like to all the others. If Alick is with you, my poor Jane will perish of loneliness: could you not spare the other Jane to keep her company a little? Alas! I fear not.— Good night my dear Mother! May God watch over you and all of us, and turn everything to good! Ever Your Affectionate Son— T. Carlyle——