April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 7 May 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18490507-TC-MAC-01; CL 24: 44-46


Chelsea, 7 May, 1849—

My dear Mother,

We have very cold weather again here; I wonder what is becoming of you in the upstairs room yonder! We have got good news this long time, and ought to be right thankful for the same;—but we cannot always expect such, alas, no! And ever and anon, some fear comes, that you are ailing while I do not know it. Tell the good Isabella, or some of them, to write to us again: the smallest word is very welcome.

Both Jane and I have caught a little whiff of something like cold, from this pernicious grey East-wind; but it does not go the length of a cold either, it only makes us feel uncomfortable, and have a longing for the return of soft brisk sunny breezes from the West. I believe London is darker, in respect of sun and clearness of sunshine, than most place; so perhaps you have the sun out along with this wind and are better off than we.— In spite of the wind we are to go this day to Greenwich (a pleasant place, twelve miles off us), along with Captain Sterling (Anthony Sterling) and a pleasant little “Party” he has made up for dining there. I tried hard to be off; but Jane, I saw, wanted it; they agreed also to take my two Duffys (Irish Duffy, the late State-Prisoner, and his Wife, good people, who were very kind to me in Ireland, and are now here for a day or two, rejoicing in their freedom from Botany-bay!)1—these are to go with us; Anthony brings a carriage that will hold everybody, bring everybody back too; clears all scores (being a munificent landlord); has plenty of tobacco moreover:—on the whole, what can one do but go? I have ended some little scraping of work;2 and have still time to write this word to my good dear Mother, before ½ past 2, when the carriage comes.

Of late days again I have had some new fash with the Printing of Cromwell &c: but all, I do think, is now done; the very “Preface to the Third Edition” will be off my hands, and fairly into the Printer's, the day after tomorrow;3 after which he, not I, must fight with it, and I hope to be free again for other things.—Plenty of “other things,” alas, and pressing enough to be done, this long while; but they are terribly difficult to do! I must try them, and again try them, till once they be somehow got done!

In this Spectator which I send to Jamie there is notice of a little Paper I wrote in Fraser about Indian Meal: if you sent it on to Alick, it would go free, and might perhaps interest him for a moment, poor fellow. The Fraser itself you shall get by and by; we lent it to Lady Ashburton, and unluckily it has never been got back yet. The person who sent us the real genuine “Indian Corn in the natural state,” as you will perhaps guess, is Emerson. He would not hear of my bitter Indian Meal; determined to send us a sweet sample from his own Barn; and so, without cost, it came to us, and we have acknowledged it. The Lord-Ashburton people have undertaken to deal with Millers in regard to it; some of the meal, I understand, is now ready; their Cooks are to act according to American recipe, upon the new substance; and I suppose we shall by and by get to make some experiment upon the eating of it. All right then!

Jack was down last night; seemed very well and hearty: he got a Letter from Munich last week from one of the d'Eichthals,4 which has opened some kind of negociation between him and them; which, for the present, gives him pleasure at any rate.

People are talking a great deal of Politics: it is not supposed poor little Lord Johnny can continue long where he is, so many people (self among the number) are picking holes in his coat. Today is to be a grand day in the House of Lords, upon the “Navigation Laws,” where certain people are resolute to throw them, and him the Author of them, out straightway, in the course of this very week.5 But it will perhaps hardly be so; wise persons do not quite wish it so. Peel is not ready to come in yet; nay I believe he thinks it nearly as much as his life is worth (having a tendency to apoplexy) to come in at all; tho' probably he will have to come before long: but nobody can wisely wish any change till then. Let them fight away, however; and the thickest skin hold out longest!— — It has struck two; I have still to put on clothes: I must not take another sheet. Adieu my own good Mother; Oh may all good be ever with you! I desire my affection and regards to every one. Tell Jamie he might write me a Letter. I have a nice Book for him here, and wait for a chance of sending it. Blessings with you all. Your affectionate

T. Carlyle