July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 26 February 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480226-TC-MAC-01; CL 22: 252-254


Chelsea, Saturday (26 feby), 1848—

My dear Mother,—I received Jenny's Letter, which surprised me with the good news that you had found yourself able for a drive to Dumfries, and were actually there without apparent damage; then came Jean's Letter to the same effect, with more particulars:—I bid you specially thank both Jenny and Jean for what they did;—and to yourself, dear Mother, I will write one word before the week end; the hastiest of words, for in good truth I am hard up for time at present.

Our weather is not very cold, but very blustery, damp, and full of perpetual changes,—high wet wind being the prevailing element. Today I have a pretty gouster [storm] of the Southwest wind and rain going on against my windows here, which it hits very fair, and with a sound really musical to me, there being snug fire, and no smoke but that of tobacco, in the inside of the glass for me!— Such weather is not the best for invalids; nevertheless we are getting or got well; Jane herself evidently improving, and able now to venture out for a short walk whenever the sun shines kindly. She otherwise altogether keeps the house. I for my own share am in my usual way again,—and indeed, for one thing, have been sleeping a good deal more during the last month than is usual with me. Jack, a busy man, and very cheerful, is in fine health, so far as we see or understand. He was here last night,—full of talk about the French riots and what not.— A strange business that of the French and their riots just now! Today I send you another Times, which carries the business a bit farther; nay yesterday there arrived a telegraphic express here, which is doubtless at Dumfries too by this time, That Louis Philippe was deposed, and his little infant Grandson (“Count of Paris” so-called) appointed “King” in his stead, with a body of the hottest radicals and republicans for “ministry” round him;—and in brief that Louis Philippe and his Queen &c &c were fairly on their travels, and had quitted Paris for good!1 This was the news last night; which of course will make a great noise, whatever quarter of the world it reaches. Poor old Louis Philippe! An old man now, and has not yet learned to be an honest man;—he learns, or may learn, that the cunningest knavery will not serve one's turn either. I begin to be really sorry for him, poor old scoundrel; he has had much sorrow, toil and tribulation, all the way, these 74 years, as he came along hither; and possesses, as it were, nothing at all at this time except physical food and clothes.— Guizot, his minister, is much more despicable: a poor honourable Writer and teacher of the Public at one time; him, for a mess of pottage,2 they seduced from his honourable garret, and converted into a rich conspicuous Public Quack,—and now his light is quite snuffed out, and even his life (I fancy) is exposed to risk. His Father died by the guillotine, an honest Protestant man; his old Mother (whom Thomas Erskine &c used to know) I hope is dead too,—for this sight would be too hard for her!3

Of late days I have begun to scribble a little,—or rather to try if I can scribble, and convince myself that I cannot! For that is about the whole length it has got to yet. No man ever found his hand more entirely out than I now do, which is very sorrowful: but only to be mended by holding on.— — My dear Mother, take care of yourself in this wild time! I hope Jenny keeps you very quiet, and tries (as I know she will) to screen you well from all disturbance. Do you get right sleep? Too much walking, or too much talking either, will do you no good.— Let somebody write to us very soon again; from us you shall hear directly. All blessings on you all

T. Carlyle