July 1836-December 1837

The Collected Letters, Volume 9


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 27 March 1837; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18370327-TC-MAC-01; CL 9:177-179.


Cheyne Row, Chelsea, / Monday 27th March 1837—

My dear Mother,

Will you accept of the shortest Note I almost ever wrote to you; a longer at this time not being in my power.

The Printers are chacing me night and day; having now after long idling begun heartily to work. I toil from sun to sun keeping ahead of them: at this rate in some four weeks, we are like to be done. Done! O what a blessing. Then I am to lecture: actually and bodily to make my appearance, and begin lecturing on the first of May! They have got Tickets printed, Prospectuses printed; and are gathering an audience of Marchionesses, Ambassadors, ah me! and what not: all is going on like a house on fire; and I in the interim cannot get a moment bestowed on the business for these Printer people. At the day appointed nevertheless I must make my appearance! The comfort is that I know something about the subject; and have a tongue in my head. One way or other, doubtless I shall come thro'.

But the thing that drives all this, and every other thing for the present out of my head, is the state my poor Wifie is in. She has taken this Influenza for the third time. I really begin to be seriously uneasy for her. She has lain these six days, in great distress; with very little sometimes with no sleep; coughing considerably: and her strength, with so much suffering this last year and indeed these last five years, is sore worn. My poor Goody! We have got a Doctor; a skilful sort of man, I think; the Sterlings's Doctor:1 he looks grave about it; says that at present there is no alarm, but that we must take care. You can fancy me sitting up to the neck among books and papers; and hearing the sore cough on the other side of the wall!2 I pray daily and hourly that the bitter north wind would become south and gentle. I believe it would set her up again for this time. It must come surely. I have sent for Mrs Welsh today; or rather I have told her to be getting ready, and in any case to lay her account with coming speedily to us. Anne is as willing and kindly as creature could be: but we are bad nurses she and I. Mrs Welsh will probably come very soon.— It is a great blessing that my own health stands out so well. I feel the nasty east wind too in the fretted state I am in; but still keep on my legs, and feel as if I needed nothing but rest to make me even better than I used to be. This is the state we are in; and I am, as it were, stealing the time it takes to tell you about it. Courage, Courage! In four weeks I shall at least have one weighty stone rolled off me: the good weather will be come and my poor Jane better a little.

Jack's Letter, you will see, sends us tolerable enough news from him. He is to take down his “Plate” again; we may probably hope to see him in the course of the warm weather yet. I have answered his Letter; and am to send off the printed sheets of Volume first tomorrow (I hope) by an opportunity I have got to Paris.

There came a long Letter from Jean not many days ago. It was mostly about poor John Corrie; and told me only in general that nothing very essential was wrong with any of you. The Bishop's two Letters affected me much; I answered him the very night Jean's Letter came. Will you tell her and James this; and that they must write to me again without waiting answer, my present confusion and hurry are so great.— Often, in this [a line or two are missing] with3 [line missing] which I am very thankful for[.] O dear Mother take care [of yourself; a]void sunset and sunrise in these bitter days. Clothe in flannel [fragment missing] and let us hope for summer.

Nobody says a word to me about Alick. What is becoming of his project, poor fellow? Many a time my thought flies towards him, inquiring. I can only send him my prayers, my heart's-wishes; no counsel have I except one, to call on God to help him, and to do manfully what God's hand seems to beckon. Let us all keep up our hearts. Better days, Better days! I never cease to say so, are coming.

Whether I have forgotten anything essential I know not, but I must end now. Till Jane get round, they must all be content with one stroke on their Newspapers. I trust and hope the two will come back again soon.

Jack's money I have [never] been to seek yet. It is five miles off, and cuts up a day. I will wa[it] [fragment missing] only if there be anything for you to do in it. Farewell for this day my dear Mother! May God be with you and in you, one and all.

Your affectionate /

T. Carlyle.