The Collected Letters, Volume 12


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 3 July 1840; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18400703-TC-MAC-01; CL 12: 187-189


Chelsea, 3 July, 1840

My dear Mother,

I have just been greatly gratified with a short Note from Alick, assuring me that you are well, in your usual way, and down at Powfoot bathing for a week.1 I am right thankful to hear that. Isabella, it seems, is with you. Mary is within reach. Alick says, a line sent on to Gill can be conveniently handed forward. I calculate that it might be welcome some day before or after tide-time! So here it is.

Nothing has happened since I last wrote to Alick. I have been mainly recreating myself; making ready for the Third Lecture,—the Second being now off my hands. I have no overplus of heart to the business; but think I must persevere in it, and shall, a little farther at least. The weather is certainly not oppressive with heat: Jane has a fire down stairs today, and the sight of it is unwelcome to nobody. I have a thick flannell dressing-gown on up here, a winter garment which I resumed two hours ago. We never see the face of the clear sun, for a fortnight now. Continual grey wind with drops of rain, seldom getting the length of a hearty shower; neither dry weather nor wet. I oftenest go to ride with an old thick coat of Jack's, fit for the depth of winter; it is not burdensome in the blustering wind; it cannot spoil with wet, being already spoiled, and half a day's rain would not get thro' it.— By the way, I think of laying aside my Horse; the expense is so heavy in proportion to any good I get of it: but I think of having some country excursion, a day or two of right riding, and visiting some friend or friends, by means of it first.

Letters came from America some time ago, with account of my Bookselling operations there. All went well; there seemed a distinct prospect of some farther monies coming out of that country for me yet. Nothing stranger has happened in my history, I think, than actual receiving of so much hard cash from beyond the ocean, out of the hands of people I had as good as never seen, and had no concern at all with! There is always some kind of scraffle [struggle] of a life for a poor man in this world: one has to stand by his work, and be confident of that.

A certain Mr Greig from America, of whom you have heard me speak, was here not long ago: he told me among other things about Robert Clow and his sons who are settled in that district, that they were all doing well and hopefully; their farm a good paying profitable farm, their money lent at 7 per cent interest;—their health too, he said, was recovered again, they had never had any ill health to speak of, but a kind of “seasoning”; in fact all was going very handsomely with them, according to Greig. I think our Brother John will be a great fool if he come back out of that country into this. With better information he might have saved himself immense vexation; and now he is there, and the Earth grows fruit for him, which no man steals away: who can say as much for himself in this land of distress, controversy and starvation? The fewest can say as much.

Our Library is likely now to take effect here; but it will be slowly: the mass of the people are dull to all such things, and will require immense pricking into, shouting, and dashing with cold water, before they will awaken. But men of influence have now hold of the business; Lords, Bishops and what not, really bearing a hand in it: the thing I imagine will get into existence, and probably be the beginning of immense benefit, in a quiet way, both to London and all England. It does not occupy much of my time; yet more than I like. They all say, what is a fact, “Was it not your work from the first? And now you grudge a little trouble?”

Alick reports very well of Mary, Austin and the Gill; which gives us true satisfaction. Probably you see Mary often at present: I think she must be some three miles off or less. Tell Isabella, I hope poor little Tom and she will get good of the sea-bathing. There is a good chance. I wish I were there too for a plunge!

Write me a line soon with your own hand, dear Mother. Get benefit of your sea-air and water, take care of yourself. Good be ever with you!—Your affectionate

T. Carlyle

I enclose the Doctor's last Letter,2 tho there is next to nothing in it. His “trowsers” and books were sent.