April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 26 April 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18480426-TC-MAC-01; CL 23: 22-23


Chelsea, Wednesday, 26 April, 1848—

My dear Mother,—Surely, however busy I may be, it is possible for me to write you a little word, and pay a penny for it, to satisfy your friendly anxieties about us! That is a thing I ought to do;—and a thing I will do, this blessed hour, before going out to my walking.

We had a little Note from Jenny two days ago; which gave us good and evil news of your ongoings at Dumfries: news, on the whole, which we should be thankful for, since it reports you still stirring about, tho' very frail. No wonder you are frail: this wild fierce spring weather, the hardest I can remember almost, is enough to put a stronger figure out of sorts. Jenny's poor little Lasses, too, have had an attack of scarlet-fever, it would seem; a sad anxiety to her, no doubt, and to you too, while it lasted. Indeed we could have wished you in some other house, while that bad business went on. But we hope, on all accounts, it is now over; and the poor little Bairns got to their feet again.

We are all tolerably well here. I forget if I wrote to you that Jane went off, for [two] weeks to the Country-house of our friends the Barings: a beautiful little place they have, some [ten] miles from this: I took her out in a carriage, and sent a carriage to bring her [home]-[tak?]ing everything “genteelly” among the quality people,—besides going out in the middle [of the visit] to pay my own compliments for a day: the thing seems to have done very well; and our [own] little Goodwife looks decidedly better ever since she came home. She is gone out at this moment; the first time these several days, the weather having lately been wet as well as wintry cold. She wrote one day, I think to Jean.— [about four words missing] Jean was transacting her [two missing lines] go too deeply into the bustle, dear Mother; endeavour to keep at the outside, and let younger hands take hold of the load.— — I myself, soon after Jane returned from Addiscombe, caught a dirty little villain of a sore-throat; which threatened to grow into a serious kind of thing for a day or two days (I remembered the Comley Bank one, of twenty years back, which you witnessed); but by taking vigorous measures, the enemy decamped, quite of a sudden; and, I think, has left me really better than I before was for some time. I am trying what I can to get into work; fagging, and haggling, and as it were falling asleep upon my tools,—alas, it is a terrible business for me to get kindled, and not much of a business to burn either, when I am kindled! However, we must struggle along; and prevail at last, one way or the other, as we hope.— Jack is very well; drawing towards the end of his Dante; which however continues a driegh [tedious] heavy job for him to the last. Whatever become of it, he himself has got a visible improvement out of it: and indeed, I do believe, it will be found a piece of work rightly done, whoever may examine it; and that is all one can want.

We have had our Chartist affairs here too, which alarmed some people, but not [us] in the least; in fact nothing could be more tame than the whole business proved, such an over[whel]ming shew was made against it: I suppose, it will appear in another shape next [time, b]ut that it will appear again, and also again, and ever till there are new measures [to deal] with the miseries of the people, I do expect:—however, we have testified (what is very val[ua]ble meanwhile) that “insurrection,” barricades, pikes and street-fighting, is by no means the plan we can accept here.—— —— Dear Mother, my paper is come to an end, and my time too; tho' there are still many things to be said,—which I hope speedily to take another day [page torn] that may detain it till tomorrow. [page torn] care of [page torn]