The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 1 May 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400501-TC-MAC-01; CL 12: 126-127


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea, / Friday, 1 May, 1840—

My dear Mother,

I will write you half a word today, in answer to your brave little Letter1 which came the night before last: as my first Lecture-day (Tuesday, 3 o'clock!) is so near at hand I know not when I may have a chance again, for some time, to write.

Your Letter was doubly and trebly welcome, as an evidence under your own hand that you were getting round again, out of your sharp fit of illness; that nothing had gone materially wrong with you. I suppose, with Alick, that it may have been the trashing [fatigue] which one is always more or less exposed to on quitting one's own home for any kind of travel. You should not expose yourself; you should choose your weather &c: a little travel, to see how the bairns are getting on in their various stations, must certainly be cheering to you and good; but you should do it with precaution, and stay no longer than you like, but order some of them to come for you when you feel that you would be better at home again.— Let us be all thankful, that no permanent ill has happened this time;—thankful as for one of the mercies of all others the most precious to us!

Jack, knowing I suppose how busy I am, has not sent me any Letter this week; indeed nothing but a very brief notice of welfare, this fortnight and more.2 One supposes him fixed, and going on equably, till the 20th of this month. A permanent bargain must then surely be made.

Jane complains a little of headache this day or two; but on the whole is very brisk for her; gathering vigour as the sun mounts,—like any flower of the field! Poor Miss Martineau is at the sea-side in Northumberland, all this while, in sore and dangerous illness of some sort; she that used to be so healthy, and wonder why anybody could be unhappy on account of health. We are very sorry for her; she is an honest, brave woman, notwithstanding our complaints of her.

As for myself, I have ridden, what riding can do: a sharp trot of 2 or 3 hours almost every day these two months now; I never in the same space of time had as much riding in my life before. Sometimes I think I take too much. I am not altogether in boxer's health; yet, on the whole, better than any of the years bygone at such a season. I have also prepared the matter all over, almost as much as I could do. I must just step forward; do it as it will do. This evening come four weeks, if I prosper, the whole thing will lie behind me, better or worse; neither, I hope, shall I be in haste to resume it. I am by no means sure that it would not have answered better to write the thing as a Book at once; if it were a good Book they would buy it now, and in the long-run cash does come in for it.— On the whole I care less about “succeeding,” this year than I ever did; at bottom I care little whether I succeed or not. The Thing I have to say has truth in it; and if I cannot say it successfully this way, I will some other way.

Jane, I suppose will write you, during the “shouting” [lecturing]—for it is like that, I take it! At all events, you will get an “all well over,” or something of the sort as we go on.

Thank Jamie for his Letter; thank Alick