January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 28 January 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430128-TC-MAC-01; CL 16: 38-39


Chelsea, Saturday [28 January 1843]—

My dear Mother,

I should send you half a word to say that my lumbago is all gone, by the aid of some medicines I took; that I am terribly, and every moment of my time, BUSY; and that my poor Book is going on apace. I expect to be at press with it before a couple of months and to have you a copy of it before the Summer come! It is a fiery thing; and tells lumps of the truth, in a franker manner than I have ever done hitherto. The time is come for it, I think! When men are dying round you of want of bread, and two millions of them sitting in workhouses or living otherwise on Parish Alms, and the Governors busy only with their partridge-shooting, I think one ought to speak.—

Here is the last Note I had from Jack: on the back of it are scribblings and preparatory scrawlings which have now gone safe into the Book. I scrawl on any bit of loose paper that is near me.

The day before yesterday I had a Note from Jean at Dumfries: she is better now, she says; your flannel gown and the shamoy leather waistcoat assisted her. Poor thing, she has a struggling time of it among those unhealthy bairns. A new charge, it seems, is awaiting her before long.1— Poor Isabella, I grieve to hear from her, is at present worse rather than better. Jenny, I calculate, still stays with you: I like better to fancy her there.

Curious enough, I happened, last time, to send you a Note of Henry Drummond's.2 I had just answered him before I went off to my engagement (it was with young Spring Rice) at Lewisham: my omnibus, up in the town, was to start from this Henry's Bank at Charing Cross; on arriving there I found the street all in emotion,—the assassin Macnaughten had just fired his pistol into this Henry's brother! Nobody could give me the smallest account of it; the only thing too sure was that Henry Drummond's Brother was shot; and the criminal instantly taken up. Next morning, we read in the Papers, that there was no danger. Alas, in two days more, the poor man had died! Mac-naughten, it appears, now confesses that he took his victim for Sir R. Peel. That is a fact for the Corn-Law men! M'Naughten is from Glasgow, not a poor man at all; I suppose, a fanatic for Corn-Law Repeal.3 The world is getting to a strange pass!—

Poor Henry Drummond has written me a second time. He had but two sons; one of them is dead of consumption, the other dying,—and it was he, this last one, that wanted to see me.4 Poor creature! I have undertaken to go, in two weeks.—

Blessings on you dear Mother; blessings on all my true Brotherhood;—and a hasty adieu just now.

Ever your affecte /

T. Carlyle