January 1835-June 1836

The Collected Letters, Volume 8


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 10 January 1835; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18350110-TC-MAC-01; CL 8:3-4.


Chelsea, 10th Jany 1835—

My Dear Mother,

This pitifullest piece of thin paper is all the weight allowable; and I cannot send you your Copy of the Word on Irving's death:1 but it lies here for you, and shall be sent. You have poor Mrs Irving's2 to read. I think you should call on her with it yourself, and see if you have anything to say that can do her good: your sympathy and the assurance of John's and mine, which you can most honestly offer, will do the unfortunate old Mother good for a moment. You will hear of her at Mrs Dickson's.3— Or if you absolutely do not like to go thither, and will not go (“when I bid thee!”), you can send it thither, with your own regards; and that will do.

Jack's Letter4 came this morning; he is well, doing well, and writes like a kind brother, and a good man. Let us be thankful for him; and that he prospers and grows.— Jean's Dumfries Letter5 reached me before my last to you was well out of the house; and gave me great comfort: tell her so, & that I am much obliged. When I get a moment's breathing-time, I will repay her. Mary's Newspaper, since that, told me you were there, and well: the Giver of Good be thanked for it!—— I am behindhand with Jack's correspondence; he has read my last Letter: but I will now not lose a post whatever come of it. I wanted to be done with the first Section (perhaps first Volume, for I am looking that way now) of my poor Book: but the dreighness [tediousness] of it proves astonishing. I toil along, not overworking myself; doing a little. Between 2 and 4 o'clock I walk every day; wrapt in my Cloak, which is the warmest article I ever wore, and would defy Greenland itself. The fogs are not nearly so bad this winter; in any case, far slighter here than in the Town, where not only mist is to be struggled with, but every abominable vapour that the soul of man can conceive.— Jane's foot after a most tedious business is recovered; so that she can take her walks again; and keep the house tighter about us. The Servant I said is a Pluister [clumsy person]; but that is her sole fault; she can work resolutely to order, and is the best-natured of women: the outcry on London Servants excels even that in Scotland on Scotch: weak as sparrows, to be fed like fighting cocks, disobedient, dishonest: we think of trying the Pluister a while yet. Allan Cunningham told us a while ago (what I have often said), he had thoughts of trying it himself, or with “rolls and ale,”6 for his soul was sick of it. The state of Society here, in all aspects, indicates, I think, that the end of it cannot be very distant.— Alas, dear M[other], the paper is done; and I know I have forgotten so (turn to the top)7 many things. When my first volume is done, I am for a short rest: then you shall hear about me again. The Book is not to be so bad a Book: take comfort with me in that!— But what are you doing dear Mother? (to the margin) Are you spinning, reading, visiting? Will my dressing-gown be ready, if the Book be? Above all, are you well? Jane8 says your little room is wonderfully comfortable; which comforted me to hear. I hope to see it in summer.— Can my new Sister not help you to make out a sheet for me?— Good night, dear Mother! Is Alick's farm settled yet?— Jane is gone out, or her love were sent in words too. Love to all from Alick to Jenny. I must end, or you will never get it read.

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