October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 6 July 1834; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18340706-TC-MAC-01; CL 7:235-237.


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London, / 6th July, 1834—

My Dear Mother,

This is some two weeks beyond bargain; but I know well, it will not be out of season. Jack's Letter arrived some three days ago; and I would not detain it from you a single post I could help. In the Examiner you might notice a hint held out of it against Wednesday; and so accordingly here it is.

By the blessing of the Supreme Powers, Jack is still well, and even better than formerly; full of zeal and pious disposition; and perhaps with a kind of hope to see us sooner than was expected, namely in May. I had already sent him off another Letter, which must be far on the way by this time: before long I will write to him again. You are to hear next, it seems; and that is a Letter I shall not see: however, some of them will copy me the marrow of it. The other Letter to you was the one, I suppose, which you had that last night I was at Scotsbrig; the Letter to W. Graham I had not before heard of.

Jean's Letter informed me that you would probably be waiting at Catlinns for news of me: I had done all I could to keep the time; but unfortunately, on calling at Charles Buller's, found him from home, and even not likely to be in for the Post; and so had to leave my sheet with the strong probability that you would not get it till the day after promise. Two Newspapers would in some measure reassure you; and I hope, next day, all ending well, was well.

Of myself, dear Mother, I have nothing new to tell you; especially nothing that were bad news. I imagine I shall be in fully better health here, were I once used to my new aliments and way of life: but as yet I am experimenting a good deal, and cannot yet say what is best for me. We are worst off for milk: it is dear, as fine wine, and the merest joot [sour milk] occasionally half drawn from the Pump. To give real money for imaginary milk is a thing I will not consent to; so we have given it up, and get “two-penn'orth” of cream night and morning, which (when the weather is not “thundery”) really answers very well. To the Porridge we have excellent beer; which, however (strange as you will think it), will not agree with me as it should. I have some thoughts even of giving up the porridge altogether; but will try to do what is best, and nothing rashly. The beer seems to be a kind of physic for me, and acts too keenly: that is its fault. On the other hand we have excellent potatoes (old still, tho' new are plentiful long since), excellent meat and bread: the quietest nights, amid the freest [purest] air, and no kind of foul thing to disturb us.

Since milk and puddings are gone quite out of fashion, we have taken to eat a little cheese, and often think one of your Scotsbrig ones would be more valued here. By the bye, I may as well mention in time that we are determined you shall send us by Whitehaven, in the hind-harvest, a huge barrel of all manner of provisions: butter, meal, a bacon ham, even potatoes; the Carriage (by the square foot) will be so low. But for all this there is a good time coming.— What is more to the point, I have got a heap of Books about me and am actually employing myself daily in preparation of that Book of my own! It is on the French Revolution, which seems far the eligiblest for my first: there is an appetite for it; there are plenty of Documents and materials; Mill himself laid me out the other day a whole barrowful, and insisted on my getting them over all at once. They are not come yet, but are coming—by the “Carrier,” for we have Carriers between district and district of this huge City, some with horses, some with asses, some for aught I know with dogs—the lightest draught-cattle in use here.— I am determined to do my very best, and shall like Cowthwaite “mak' an a'f-f-f-u' struggle.”1 Do you prophecy well of me? I hope you do. Of your wishes for me there could be no improvement.

I will send Jack all the description I can of your settlement at Scotsbrig; I hope soon to hear more of what you are engaged with, how you feel in your new hadding [lodging]. It is very agreeable to hear that our new Sister takes to you, and you to her; on your side I can promise there will be no want of prudent tolerance so essential everywhere; and thus all may do very well for the present. Do you go about fearlessly? Have you been at Mary's, sea-bathing? Give my love to Mary: tell her to write to me when she can find time; especially, with or without time, if I can do anything for her. My sympathies to poor Jamie;2 whose loss of his honest innocent brother I can well pity.— You must not let Alick neglect to write: but when are you going to write yourself? I will take no excuse. One day too, I still think we shall see you here!3 It would not be so strange as it looks.— Have you ever seriously thought of your journey to Templand yet? I think you really should go.— Alas, the Paper is done! May all blessings be about you always, dear Mother!—Your affectionate,

T. Carlyle.

Our united regards to James and his Wife: long may the first love last; and be followed by a second like it! Alick will soon write.