April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 1 June 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440601-TC-MAC-01; CL 18: 58-59


Chelsea, Saturday, 31 May [1 June] 1844—

My dear Mother,

What is becoming of you in this dreadfully inclement weather? No day but I think of you; I fear you must be getting ill again: this bitter east wind is enough to make any health suffer a little. The very grass withers in it; all living things complain.— Keep yourself warm, dear Mother; take care of yourself: surely the summer must come soon, at last.

We have all “influenzas” in this part of the world; the women in the shops, Jane says, have mostly “lost their voice,” and speak in a shrieky whisper! Jane herself has ecaped influenza, and is tolerably well, very well considering. I got a whiff of the business about ten days ago, and was very uncomfortable for two days; but by vigorous measures I drove the enemy back, and now go on without much uneasiness,—tho' longing greatly for the west wind, which never comes. These three days we have had no sun either; it is out today again, but the glare of it amid the Greenland cold is partly unnatural, and little better than its absence.

Jack went off last Thursday, three days ago; as he has probably himself told you. I parted with him on Wednesday night, amid a kind of rain, at his own door; and anticipated a bad travelling day; but it turned out otherwise,—dry enough for him, and too dry for all other purposes. He is gone to George Johnstone's, westward in Glo'stershire: I think he will gradually get up to Liverpool, and then across into Annandale. Certainly he hopes to see you and Scotsbrig before his return. He has no fixed work here; I wish he could fix himself, poor fellow; but we cannot help him by urging him.

There is no Letter yet from Sandy;1 we expected one about this time, but must not be impatient. Possibly he does not care to write till he have fixed himself, and can say, “Here I am”;—he ought to have written! But we will hope all is well nevertheless; we will hope poor Alick is getting the worst of the business now put by; getting a new home for himself, which may prosper better than some of the old ones did.

My Book now goes along better or worse, tho' still far too slowly. I am now, however, beginning to see above ground some fruit of the unspeakable puddings and welterings I had underground! I do hope sometimes that I shall get the poor Book done; and that it will turn out to have been worth doing. Oliver Cromwell is an actually pious, praying, God-fearing, Bible-reading man; and struggles, in the high places of the world before God and men, to do what he finds written in his Bible. An astonishing spectacle; unexampled;—altogether incredible to the poor sneaking Spunges and beggarly Peel-Russell and Company, that have got the guidance of the world now, to all our sorrows! If I can shew Oliver as he is, I shall do a good turn; but it is terribly difficult to such an age as this is and has long been.—

Dear Mother, I have not time left:—when have I ever any time! I have scribbled this word after my task was done; I write to hardly anybody but you. Remember me to Jamie and Isabella, to young and old, with the old affection.— Jeffrey is unwell at Edinburgh, John Sterling is still unwell and not out of danger; one Scott, a friend of ours, once Edward Irving's assistant, is said to have got a disease of the heart likely to be fatal. Many are ill;—and we have more mercy shewn us than many! Adieu dear Mother, dear friends all; God's blessing be with you.

T. Carlyle