The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 11 June 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500611-TC-MAC-01; CL 25: 94-95


Chelsea, 11 May [June], 1850—

My dear Mother,

I am afraid you got yourself a little frightened yesterday by the Newspapers not coming! I was much vexed to find, at night, that Jack too had neglected to send a Paper or any message to you, which I hoped he would have done. Well, there was nothing wrong here; and I decide to begin the day this time with a little word to you explanatory of that and other things.

Yesterday, after a hard tussle for three weeks, I had got my next Pamphlet finished; and being very useless, weak and weary, and the day looking delightful, if one could get away from this dusty noisy baker's-oven of a place, I proposed to Jane that we should run out into the country a few miles by the nearest railway. She very willingly consented: the newspapers &c were all lying done up and ready here; but in the hurry of departure I forgot to put them in my pocket for the post-office, or to tell anybody about them, and here accordingly, along with a letter or two which also should not have waited, they still are! That is all.— We had a beautiful little quiet excursion, Jane and I, not above ten miles away: to Richmond1 by rail, then thro' the beautiful woody grassy holm-region of the Thames, by omnibus, a few miles farther, to a place called Ham Common,—which we had wholly to ourselves for a while; strolling about, under shady trees, upon clear green sward with cuddies and cattle grazing,—nay tracts of honest whins we had, and the clear sky and the rich woods and earth all to ourselves for a while. One bottle of soda-water was all the demand we made of the natives; a few cigars and fire I myself had in my pocket. We were home in good time for a ham tea, in which the Waterbeck2 “father of hams,” an excellent fellow not so weighty now as he has been, did excellent service!— I got a capital sleep last night, the best for many nights past, and feel a great deal fresher today. We are to have hot weather I perceive now; this is the hottest day there has yet been: but the summer weather is hitherto quite pleasant to us, and indeed excellent for all purposes.

My last Pamphlet got on very badly,—there was so much bustling &c, and my own poor nerves and liver were so put about. I do not yet know for certain how many more I shall have to write I think sometimes of making out the dozen; but ten seem likelier for the present; nay something (a cowardly something) whispers occasionally, “If the thing grow too hot, you may finish with eight,” which is only one more now!3 What I have farther to say must grow into a Book in that case. But I think ten is the likelier. We must try to do and choose what is wisest for us!

Jack goes rolling about here at a jolly rate and seems to enjoy himself tolerably. He reads a while in the forenoons and evenings; is “calling” &c &c all over the Town in day-time, and often enough seeks his own dinner, at a chophouse, to be more free. Miss Jewsbury is here, staying with some friends hard by; she comes a good deal over, and talks or flies about with Jane. Tonight there is a Prussian Jewess (very Jewish-looking) and an Edinburgh “lady of celebrity” (one Mrs Crowe) coming here.4 On Thursday night I have to go and dine with Peel,— who has invited me, I guess, to meet a certain Yankee lion called Prescott (a man I care nothing for) who is coming over here.5 An indigestion is all I shall get by that.6 Heigho!— Tell Isabella to write again soon. Blessings on you all: adieu, dear Mother; keep quiet & take care of yourself!— T. Carlyle