The Collected Letters, Volume 1


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; December 1821; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18211200-TC-MAC-01; CL 1:401-402.


Edinr, Wednesday-Evening [? December 1821].

My dear Mother,

I have but a few minutes to give you at present; but here is a little Sovereign, which I got a while ago, and must write three words along with, ere I send it you. It is to keep the Fiend out of your Housewife (Huzzy)1 in these hard times, and to get little odds and ends with in due time. If I were beside you, I should have to encounter no little molestation, before I could prevail upon you to accept this most small matter: but being at the safe distance of 70 miles, I fear it not. You would tell me I am poor & have so few myself of those coins. But I am going to have plenty by and by: and if I had but one, I c[an]not see how I could purchase more enjoyment with it, than if I shared it with you. Be not in want of any thing, I entreat you, that I can possibly get for you. It would be hard indeed, if in the Autumn of a life, the spring and summer of which you have spent well, in taking care of us, we should know what could add to your frugal enjoyments, and not procure it. Ask me, ask me for something.

I am very busy at present, as Alick will tell you; and therefore moderately happy. If health were added— But there is always some if. In fact I ought not to complain, even on this latter score. I think I am at least where I was, when you saw me: perhaps better on the whole; and I hope frosty weather is coming, which will make me better still. The other day I saw one of my constant walks last Summer; and I could not help accusing myself of ingratitude to the Giver of all good, for the great recovery I have experienced, since then.

I intend to labour as hard as possible throughout the winter, finding nothing to be so useful for me every way. I shall make occasional excursions into the country, by way of relaxation. I think of going to Kirk[c]aldy (whither I am bidden) for a day or two about Christmas: and I have a standing invitation, from a very excellent Mrs Welsh, to go to Haddington, often, as if I were going home.2 This is very pleasant, as Habank said.3

My Father is to write me next time: and what hinders Mag and M[ary] and James the Ploughman? I shall [be] very angry with them, if they keep such silence. Tell them so, one and all. My love to Jean and Jenny: they cannot write, or they would. I long to hear of your own welfare, My dear Mother, particularly of your health, which costs me many a thought. I am always, Your affectionate Son,

Thos Carlyle