January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 24 February 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430224-TC-MAC-01; CL 16: 60-61


Chelsea, Friday [24? February 1843]

My dear Mother,

Take another brief word from me, rather than none at all! I am driving along my poor Book, and in a terrible pucker and puzzle, every minute of my time occupied:—but I ought to be busier than I ever yet was, if I could not send my dear good Mother a syllable of salutation now and then! In few weeks I shall be more at leisure, and be able to write as before.

We have got very nasty weather since February came in; plashy sleets, cold east-winds, reek and mud: I do not care much for all that; but it is somewhat hard on Jane;—who however still keeps her feet, and even goes out when the Sun by chance shews himself. Ellen our servant has got a cold in these days; and cannot even be kept lying in her bed: she is a very distracted kind of creature, under any pain or pressure of the nerves, and runs about almost as a poor burnt whelp might do,—entirely astonished at the state it finds itself in! To add somewhat to the perplexity we have a vister in these weeks; a Miss Jewsbury from Manchester, a great friend of Jane's and mine, whom Jane had invited lately to come and pass a three weeks with her. But she is a good lively young woman, and perhaps rather likes messing about in the kitchen on such an occasion: we do not in the least put ourselves about for her. Jane has, today, got in a good handy little girl of the neighbourhood, who is used to the house: all will get on pretty well now. I proposed to her: “Cannot you put Ellen into bed, and turn the key upon her?”———

I am myself in fully the average state of health; often in rather good spirits about getting forward with my Book! I walk considerably, and do not overwork myself. Jack Ritchie's maxim is decidedly good: “The slower thou ridest, the sooner thoul't get to thy journey's end!”1——— This Book will probably be of some use: it “gives up” a good many classes of men and things, “their fit,”2 as you say in Annandale; tells them what measure they are of,—which they are terribly ignorant of, at times. At any rate, it will as usual be a great relief to me to get rid of it; to say, “There, that is what I had to do with the business: and now—what you have to do, let us see that!”——— Peel will not change the Corn-Laws this year: but next year both he, it is likely, and they, and much along with them, will go! He has certainly no very blessed place of it at present.3

If Alick can get me another quarter of a stone of that Tobacco without much trouble, tell him he may do so. The present stock is done; and I am thrown on London again. I have found a rather better kind than usual, and can do, however.

Jack is well; I had Jenny's Letter, and Jack sent me the one he got about the same time. I will write to her by and by. I will write to Jamie,—to everybody, so soon as I am “my own man” again! To Jean I am indebted a Letter too: be patient with me!

Dear Mother, keep out of the bitter weather. Take care of yourself for my sake. Blessings on you, on one and all of you. My sympathies and regards to poor Isabella. And so adieu dear Mother!——— Your affectionate T. Carlyle