The Collected Letters, Volume 1


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; March 1821; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18210300-TC-MAC-01; CL 1:334-335.


Edinr Wednesday Morning [? March 1821].

My dear Mother,

Tho' you have not said a word to me personally for a great while, I am well aware that there is no one in the world who has experienced more anxiety on my account of late, or will experience more satisfaction, at being told that I am now relieved from my state of languor and pain, into a state of comparative strength and happiness. I know not whether I am rightly thankful to Providence for this great blessing, but certainly I am ‘unco’ [uncommonly] glad' as your pauper said; & I cannot resist the desire of communicating the agreeable intelligence to you myself, tho' very much straitened in time, & obliged, as you see, to content myself with a half-sheet, notwithstanding your wellknown repugnance to such penurious doings. Another object which I have in view in writing to you is to inquire most minutely into your own state of health, which I fear is nothing so good as it should be. My dear Mother, let me council you to spare no trouble or care, with regard to this. Endeavour to avoid all things that will fret or discompose your mind, be as much as possible in the open air, and go about to visit your friends and acquaintance in the neighbourhood, whenever you can—by any means go. I am most anxious to hear a full and faithful account of this matter from your own hand.

A third object which I had in view which is indeed most worthy of being named with the other too [two], but which has some weight nevertheless,—was to beg for a box with some cakes &c by means of which I may send home some of those foul clothes that have now attained a very considerable magnitude. The butter too is on its last legs; and their Irish stuff I fear is not good here. A pound or two will serve. I have had no cakes for many days; & tho' they are not a favourite food with me, I like to see them now & then.

But above all, you must write to me, if you can find any time. I am ignorant, and not patiently ignorant, of all your movements. You must send a description of the whole. For myself besides what I have detailed in many recent letters to my various correspondents at Mainhill, there is little that I can add at present. I write a very little, read some and walk some; and that is almost all my history. Last sabbath, I was to hear Dr M'Crie (Author of Knox his life)1 who preaches to [a] few poor people within two or three hundred yards of this. He is an earnest-looking, lean, acute-minded man; with much learning and thought, but no eloquence. It did me good to [see] the poor people with their clean faces, their attentive looks, and to hear our own old St Pau[l's] and St Peter's (venerable tunes!)2 chaunted with so much alacrity and apparent devoutness. It brought the little meeting house at home, and all the innocent joyance of childhood back to mingle strangely with the agitations of after-life. But I have done. Is there any book that I can get you, or any thing that I can do for you? Speak if there is; and gratify your affectionate & thankful boy.

Thomas Carlyle