October 1833-December 1834

The Collected Letters, Volume 7


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 25 October 1834; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18341025-TC-MAC-01; CL 7:320-322.


Saturday Morning. 25th [October 1834]

My Dear Mother,—The Frank came yesterday, but dated for today; so I finish it out, and take it up to Town with me, as I go to Fraser the Bookseller's to consult about scribbling matters; specially about a Manuscript, which a certain unknown well-wisher of mine in Liverpool has entrusted me with. Manuscripts indeed have been flowing in of late; so that at this time I have no fewer than four in my hands.1 It may be an honour, but is no profit: however, one cannot refuse poor people that petition civilly.

Along with the Frank, Mill sent me a whole pile of new Books, some of them I think almost specially bought for me: indeed nothing can exceed the obligingness of Mill; I had already as many Books of his as would load a considerable cuddy-cart [donkey-cart]; all lent me for unlimited periods; a perfect outfit for this present enterprize of mine. So I hope, when I write next, it will be that I have got done with that “Taking of the Bastille,” which is now my next task (or Chapter IV): yet it will not be without a hard tuffle; for if the reading of a Shaiptur2 be so easy, the writing of one is another matter.

There was no Examiner this week; Hunt bids me tell you that whenever one is missed there will be two next week: he is a much-harrassed confused poor man; sits in the middle of a distracted uproar that would make many a one mad. I borrowed an old Paper from him, that you might not be altogether disappointed: he sent me one of Jany last; ten months old; which I should think is among the [ol]dest ever went by post. However, I marked upon it that you were to have a Letter next day.— Whenever the two strokes are wanting, look strictly in the inside; you will usually find some word; tho' it is a thing I study to avoid when possible. The Newspaper should be at Ecclefechan ready for you after Preaching: but disappointments may occur too, for we are nearly two miles from the Post-Office (one close by charges an additional two-pence), and if it were a very wild afternoon, one might lurk within doors.— The weather seems indeed to be far drier here; not half the number of wet days thro' summer; but then every wet day is a wet one, a perfect splash. Within this week it has grown clear and bitter, very agreeable to me, for the speediest walking will not heat [one] too much.— I again beg of you, dear Mother, to use fires and flannel! I shall not be easy till I hear how you take with the winter at Scotsbrig: take a sheet yourself, and deliberately tell me everything; I know whoever disappoints me in Letters it will not be you,—were you once fairly in the way to write. Give our love to James and our new Sister; tell us how they get on, and what way you all manage together: I think with your experience affection and patience, nothing material can go wrong for the time.— We were very glad to hear you had been at Templand: when you go to Dumfries, especially in the fair-weather season, it is not so far out of your way. We have not heard from Mrs Welsh since.— I have mentioned in Alick's Note something about Edward Irving, who I fear is in a very bad way: it seems all-too probable he will not live long!— The Parliament Fires you will hear all about by and by in the Newspapers: I saw the conflagration; have since seen the sorting out of of [sic] the rubbish: great quantities of half-burnt papers (petitions &c) flying about; nobody seemed to care a farthing about the accident, most were rather glad to see it going on. The present Ministry, I think, cannot last very long,3 and times of trouble still seem brewing in the distance. These things concern us little. Our home lies elsewhere, where we shall soon be; wise were it could we work patiently while here, and “walk humbly with our God”!4 There is much in that last consideration, the beginning of all peace; but the root of the old Adam is in us all from the beginning.— I am doing nothing but tattle, dear Mother; I must end now. Do not forget to thank poor Mary in my name too for her Letter, and tell me punctually how James and she are getting on. I hope and trust there is no fear of them, You will give my kind regards to Grahame, and mention to him what Jack says about receiving his Letter.— Jane has a little headache today, and sits reading here: she bids me send her kind affection to you all in the kindest words I can. She makes the breakfast herself (like the Tod running his own errand5) of late months, as formerly; and has, as poor Irving said, “always a little bower of elegance round her be where she will”:6 in truth, a shifty [resourceful], true, gleg [quickly perceptive] little creature, worth any twenty Cockney wives that I have yet met with.— Now write soon my dear Mother: for all sakes take care of yourself. May the great Father ever bless and guard you!—Your affectionate,

T. Carlyle.