January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 6 May 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430506-TC-MAC-01; CL 16: 158-160


Chelsea, Saturday, 6 May, 1843

My dear Mother,

It was only the day before yesterday that I wrote a Letter or rather fraction of a Letter to Alick, in which there was an account of all that we could call new here: but it seems so long since you and I had a special word together, I will now before going out send a small bit of writing to yourself, particularly for your behoof. I got your good little Letter; and found it still in my breast-pocket this morning: my dear Mother, it would take you much more trouble to write me that than it will me to write you this!—

John, as you have heard, left us on Wednesday: I think by the Newspaper account of the Steamers, he will not get across to you till Monday, so that probably it will be Tuesday when you meet. Or indeed perhaps he may go over into Galloway, with a certain Dr Arbuckle, a comrade of his; so arrive by way of Dumfries on some other day: but this I do not consider likely. He will himself write you warning of his arrival. He is in capital case every way; but very much in want of some steady place to live at, some fixed thing to do. Both these wants, I hope, will be supplied to him by and by, poor fellow. He will have a glad meeting with his good Mother at any rate.

He and I were often speaking about the want you must have of somebody to do the work of the house for you, to take care of you every way. We think it a great pity that Jenny and you could not get fettled together in some house of your own: her children will be growing bigger, and no longer troublesome: she has at present nothing special to do, and surely could not be better employed than in taking care of her mother! If you had a nice house fit for you, not too far off the rest, I think you might be a comfort to one another. You might be near Jean at Dumfries, if you liked that. You might be wherever you liked. The expense &c I would most cheerfully pay myself; and indeed, dear good Mother, I wish very much you would give me some opportunity of serving you: if ever a son deserved to be grateful to his Father and Mother, it is I. In whatever use I am of in this world I trace their honest handiwork, and often thank them in silence. My brave Father is no longer here to be helped or cherished; but by the great mercy of the Supreme Power, my Mother still is.— Jack will speak to you about all that; and I hope some kind of result will come of it. Jenny is not well where she is, I believe; and one may fear, she will never more get good of her absurd fool of a husband:1 it were far better I think, that she attached herself to her mother again, and gradually forgot him. I pray you think of this; and when you take a house anywhere, see that it be a right house: five pounds a year will be terribly ill saved off the comforts of the House where my Mother has to live!—

You have got your Book now, I suppose, and are reading it. The people are considerably astonished with it here, I imagine, and were not altogether expecting such a thing! They will need to get another thing or two, perhaps, by and by.

In your Letter you ask me whether I am not thinking of a look at Scotland this year again. I do think of getting out into the country somewhere, and considering in solitude about the next Book. I have yet settled about nothing; but I shall certainly be rather disappointed if I do not get a glimpse of my good Mother this year again. So we will leave it in hope.

Alick would tell you what excellent ham it was: it will do me good, I think,—many good thanks to my Brother for that! I am getting stronger in these days, tho' the weather has become very wet: indeed there never was much the matter with me; this Book has done me almost no mischief at all.— They tell me you have had a fit of cold, dear Mother; I wish I could be as sure that it has left you fairly! I hope the good weather will come for your sake among others. It is still rather ungentle here. How is Isabella? How are all? Adieu, my dear Mother; blessings be ever with you! T. Carlyle