August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 11 January 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440111-TC-MAC-01; CL 17: 239-240


Chelsea, Thursday Night, 11 jany 1844—

My dear Mother,

I should like extremely well to hear a little word from you, whether you are still at Gill, above all how you are in health:—I will at any rate write you a little word myself, which is next best. I find that if I write tonight and carry it up to the Town Post-Office, the Cummertrees Postman will catch it on Saturday, and you may get it without delay. A little word is all I can get done, for my hurry is great, and indeed the fire is out in this upstairs room, so that at any rate I must be swift!—

We are quite in our usual way of health, dear Mother; do not fret yourself with apprehensions about us, even if we did not write: make yourself always certain of hearing at once if there be any ill news. I wish we could be as certain on your side! Jenny's last Note was not very satisfactory: but we will try to believe that there is nothing materially wrong still.— Jack was here the night before last, and I had a Note too from him yesterday. He is very busy at the British Museum in these days; searching into old Books and writings; partly in help to me, I believe: many such researches are necessary for me in my present enterprise; and it is good work for a loose-bound man, as he is in these times.

As for my own poor Book I dare not say much about it; and indeed had better altogether keep silence, and plague nobody with it farther, for nobody can help me in it, do what he will! It is a most difficult Book; but by the blessing of Heaven I hope to get it done yet, and to have accomplished something useful thereby;—nay indeed I am sometimes taught more distinctly than usual that without the blessing of Heaven I cannot get it done,—which surely is a wholesome lesson, and one we should be thankful for, even tho' it come to us in pain. I have heard of an Italian popular preacher, who one day, before a grand audience, fairly broke down and had not a word to say! His shame was great; he blushed, he almost wept; but gathering himself at last, he said, “My friends, it is the punishment of my pride; let me lay it to heart and take a lesson by it!” So be it with us all.

———Since I began writing, Jack has come in; he waits till I have done with this, and then we will walk up the streets together.

The people in next house whose Piano was so loud when I sat down to write, have behaved with the noblest civility; they keep their Piano silent every day rigorously till two o'clock: at other hours I am not writing, and it does me no ill,—rather does me good when I reflect how civil the people are. There is great honour shewn here to the literary man!—

Jane keeps very well. We have had just one day of frost, and that very trifling: I suppose more must be coming yet. Jane sends you all her kindest regards. I think I will remind her to write to my Mother, a scrap of a Letter by and by.

We consider that Alick will probably send us another Letter by the mail of next month. The American winter, it seems, is somewhat of a hard one; perhaps his Letter might be detained in the interior by snows Poor fellow, he will be very busy scheming out at present what he is to do, and whitherward to go for an abode to himself. My notion is, he will perhaps stick fast by Clow, which will be a great comfort to both of them.1 It is my greatest comfort to think that whiskey is out of the way: its absence is right good