The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 16 January 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520116-TC-MAC-01; CL 27: 16-17


Chelsea, 16 jany 1852—

My dear Mother,

Yesterday I sent you a small Book, the Life of Elliott, which I hope may amuse you for a few hours in your winter imprisonment. I suppose you are wise to keep your bed mainly, and I ought not to repine at thinking of you there; I will entreat you to take all care of yourself, for all our sakes;—and let us all be thankful for what blessings we have left to us! I know you will be patient, hopeful and pious-minded, dear Mother, wherever you be; and that certainly is a lasting comfort to me, which nothing can take away.— We have better weather now today again, after a week of the rainiest muddiest desolation you could well conceive as coming from the elements. They sweep the streets diligently by their “pauper labour” here; but the dirt that comes out of these muggy sooty rains here is a thing beyond belief; and one is right glad to see the face of the sun again. Perhaps with you the bad weather still continues: but one's imagination is flattered by the clear sky, and one hopes you too may be getting good of it.

Enclosed here is a Draught for £8, which is in John's name, and for which he will give you the cash,—to be disposed of as follows, if you please. First a five pound for yourself, to buy something, whatever it may be, that you like, or think will be of any use or pleasure to you at the New Year; that is the main part of the Affair. The remaining 3 sovereigns I will beg you to give to Isabella1 for me, with many kind wishes, & thanks to her for all her goodness and attention at all times: I meant to write to her myself but she will excuse me in this hurry. It will gratify her also to say that the Butter, this year was really admirable, now that we are fairly got into it. The broken Pitcher had a something of wrong quality, a kind of under-taste (“taste of the knife,” some call it), perceptible to finer palates, for a while;—the breaking of the Pitcher, I suppose, had been the reason;—but that is now altogether gone, and it is all perfectly right and excellent. And so we will go on, and diligently eat it; which is the only other duty now to be done to it. We have almost given up porridge in the evenings this good while; but Jane sometimes gives us a treat of oatcakes to cheese, which are a great dainty; and whenever porridge is wanted, here it can be had, of proper quality,—when we will take the trouble to attend to the making of it.— — I have Jamie's Book (Sterling 2d editn) ready here, and Mary's;2 and only wait for some good opportunity of sending them. Let this be known, with my New Years wishes.

Jane has got pretty well out of her cold, but is still rather tender and feckless in the dirty weather;—ill off for sleep chiefly. She went out yesterday in the Omnibus, during our blink of dry weather, and will likely do the same today.

When you, and the rest that care for it, have done with the Book on Elliott, you can send it on to Dumfries where Jean3 will be glad of it. I send the Critic direct to her today (tell John),4 as I have not written anything to that quarter this long while; but I will tell her to forward it to Scotsbrig directly:—a most small prize when it does come!

All manner of rumours arrive from France, about horrid tyrannies there, banishment to yellow fever and Cayenne of thousands witht trial; soldiers drunk on the streets and elbowing passengers &c &c: a dangerous-looking state of things indeed!— — Bid John write me a word how you all are. My blessings on you dear Mother.—

Your affectionate— /

T. Carlyle