April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 1 December 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18491201-TC-MAC-01; CL 24: 299-301


Chelsea, 1 Decr, 1849—

My dear Mother,—John's letters give us evidently the favourablest account of you they can; and we have great reason to be thankful it is so good: but we are still very anxious to have farther tidings; and it is with the view of inducing him to write again that I today, tho' I have no news worth reporting, again take up the pen.— We are tolerably well ourselves; Jane has even ventured out for some kind of walk today, the Sun, tho' in a bleared manner, having shewn himself, and the set of the wind being from the west. Our frost, which was grim enough tho' calm for three or four days, has gone about its business now; we had soft rain yesterday, and today I suppose there is a preparation for frost again. All this is hard upon poor weak creatures: how do you stand it, dear good Mother? I hope you keep within doors, and wrap yourself well: the fire is the best ally in such a season. We seem here, by starting our frost so early, as if there was to be rather a hard winter.

I am scribbling daily; but there comes little or nothing yet upon the paper that will answer; in the sorrow of my heart I must just scribble away till we do get nearer the mark. Many obstructions, very heavy some of them, lie round me and in me: obstructions that depend on “the world,” or on “other people” generally, are not to be much mended by efforts or impatience of ours; but obstructions that depend on ourselves,—those, some of those, one might mend; to these one's whole impatience and endeavour should be divested!— The dud of a thing is come out in Fraser; absolutely worth nothing at all: you shall get it in 3 or 4 days. I am having some of my ragged scrawls of Papers copied;1 but I hardly think there will almost any benefit come out of them, however clearly they be written.

There is also a kind of speculation about my going down to Manchester, and making a Speech,—Speech in the “School Association” they have there;2 which I really have some notion of, for it might do good, and would be to myself a real relief: nevertheless I shudder so at the long ride by rail, at the dadding of myself abreed in that way, and at the other conditions of the business, I hardly think there will come a real result out of the speculation. If there do, it is to be on Wednesday week, the 12th Decr: but you shall hear of me again before that.

I sent you a Chronicle yesterday, and a bundle of clippings from Chronicles to the Doctor a few days before: there is coming out in that Paper a series of Letters about the Poor and Labouring Classes,3 and much noise and talk are excited thereby. I got some of them, accordingly, from Miss Wynne, whom John knows; and after reading them, pushed them on to you,—tho' I did not find they had done much for me after all. I will send another or two, if there seem anything likely to entertain you for a few minutes.

Jamie is much better, they say; indeed quite set on his feet again, if he will now take care. Surely he will do that; and need no teaching, after the lesson he got! We greatly rejoice to think of poor Jamie's being well again. Tell John to give us some account of Isabella too, whom he spoke of lately as rather in a feebler way.4— Dear Mother, I have got your Dressing gown on; and a capital one it is, and many a time it reminds me of your motherly heart and unwearied goodness to me,—my dear old Mother! I also wear your stockings daily, often the new ones of this year. For the rest, I have found out a capital shoemaker, who works in leather prepared in oil; and makes shoes of it that need no blacking, that do without tyers too (having an india-rubber mouthpiece) and, tho' stout enough, are as soft almost as buckskin! I think if I had your measures here, I wd make him construct you a pair;—and I will, against walking time if you permit me.5— There was something farther to be said about the meal &c; but I will put that on a septe paper. Adieu, dear Mother

T. Carlyle