October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 10 November 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18451110-TC-MAC-01; CL 20: 49-51


Chelsea, 10 Novr, 1845—

My dear Mother,

Many thanks for your good little Letter;1 which was very welcome to us here. You need never let us want for a Letter: the essential of the news we require, you have only to take a bit of paper, and write them down for us at any time! “Dear Tom, I am tolerably well”: whenever you can say that, surely it will be well worth its postage to us here!— Isabella's Letter too was very comfortable news; she must be very considerably improved indeed since I first arrived: let us hope the busi[ness]2 will go on in that way, till she be fairly herself once again.

Jack says he wrote to you lately. He is well, and very busy; was here last night, and I had a walk with him. He is working really hard at a Translation of Date,3 and I think will likely persist till he end it; which is really an improvement upon his late way of living: the Translation may turn out to be useful for somebody or other; at all events, as I say, it is very clearly, at the lowest computation, much better than nothing at all,—which is the other branch of the alternative at present! I think he will persist; he is obstinate enough when he once begins. Of course if I could do him any good in it, I gladly would.— He seems to me to mean decidedly to come to you by and by, tho' he does not positively say so. Probably next month, I should guess. But the weather is very fine here at present; better than is usual in Annandale in November: moreover he arrives at a kind of stage in his business about the end of this month, and will be disinclined to move till then.

Our colds are about gone here; mine altogether gone; Jane has still some remains of a kind of cough, but that also is fast going. The change of the wind into the South and West is very useful for us in that respect; indeed the weather in the country hereabouts at present is quite bright, dry and warm.— I have done next to nothing since my return hither except run about superintending some details of my Book, the Portrait of Cromwell, and other small etceteras. The Book is now actually advertised to “come out on the 22d”; so that I shall have altogether done with it before long, and never in my life be plagued with it more! Your Copy, copies for all of you will come to Dumfries about the beginning of December, I hope; and you may set to it in the short days tooth and nail!—

We did not go to the Lord Ashburton place which they call The Grange; the Lady fell unwell, and had to give up that project. And now we are to go at the end of this week for the long visit I was telling you of, to Ld Ashburton's son and daughter-in-law: it is settled we are to be there on friday or Saturday next. How long, remains entirely unfixed; I should think perhaps three weeks or so. It is close by the Isle of Wight, a narrow arm of the sea lying between: they call the Place Bay House; it is near Portsmouth also; some sixty or seventy miles from London, by railway; one of the dryest climates and pleasantest places, I hear; and the people are very fond of us,—and promise me “a horse” &c! certainly one of the likeliest places for hourying,4 if one had a turn that way! How we get on there will depend on my finding any sort of employment (reading or the like) that I can prosecute withal. We shall see; and I will let you know how we come on, before long. It is a great privilege to get out of London and its sooty fogs and confusions for a while; and may do the health of both of us, some good.

The meal &c is not likely to arrive in time for us now. Jenny's flannel things will be the only disadvantage in that. However, we can do with what flannels are still discoverable here; and the other things can be forwarded to us to Bay House whenever they do arrive. It will be best for Jamie just to proceed in the matter at his own pace; and all will be right whether the cargo come to hand a week sooner or a week later.— Meal will be meal, I suppose, this year: there is every prospect of a scarcity; indeed a scarcity cannot fail; there are even fearful apprehensions of a famine in some quarters. Let us hope, not.— — I mean to write to Alick before I leave Chelsea: they have never yet sent me his last Letter. I do not very well know how to send his Copy of the Book, but shall find some way.— I hope the Stable is now covered in, and the litter in some measure cleared from the doors. Take care of yourself; dear Mother! I will write soon again. Your affectionate

T. C.

Do you send Jean the Examiner; have you learned to fold it yet?— Send for another pennyworth of wafers, and try!—