The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 10 April 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520410-TC-MAC-01; CL 27: 83-84


Chelsea, 10 April, 1852—

My dear Mother,

Better a half word than none at all; so I take the pen, snatching still a minute or two before going out to my walk.

On Monday, as intimated to John, a Box of Books and Rubbish went away; perhaps I may still hear today that it has arrived. I remembered, as is usual, too late, how easily I might have put for you a quarter or two of York-River tobacco into some corner of the packages: but, alas, it was then impossible enough; and I had to take my vain regrets along with me! For yourself I think there is next to nothing in the big hulk of a load, except the charge of giving things away to others, if they do not (as, I fear, few will) promise to be of any use to you— Some bits of Books,—especially one John Howe's Sermons (Howe was one of Cromwell's Chaplains),1—will perhaps be worth keeping. Forgive me that I did no better. I was hurried, and battered about, at a sad rate that day,—and had lumbago (rheumatism) over and above.

Our weather is still cold and dirty with dust and reek; but the cold is going at last;—and surely we shall by and by have rain, to wash the air a little. My rheumatics, which were never of more than insignificant extent, are now quite gone; and today I am as well as usual;—intending soon to have a vigorous walk. Tonight there is a small Teaparty coming; a certain Lady Stanley (an old friend, from Cheshire) wishing to meet Thomas Erskine;—heigho, there will little come of that, I apprehend! But Thomas is always good, and pleasant to see; the Lady also, still considerably beautiful, is always full of vivacity and good humour. Robt Chambers called on us yesterday; a fat, cheerfully obstinate looking, prosperous, and not at all unpleasant man. One night we were at a big soirée at Milnes's (ask John) and his new Wife's:2 very hot, very noisy, to me thoroughly wearisome: I saw the face of Palmerston then,—not quite unlike that of the late Watt Hogg3 (rough puckery skin, small bloodshot cruel eyes [)],—otherwise a tall man, with some air of greediness and cunning; and a curious fixed smile as if lying not at the top but at the bottom of his physiognomy: a Real Son of Belial I do believe;—for the rest, stout and straight tho' now in the seventies, I believe. We had dined, the foregoing night, at the Ashburtons': that is the extent of our gaieties this season— — Here is a Note from Dickens whh may amuse you for a minute: the 2d No of his new dud of a Book (I have not yet read the first No) had not come; Jane made me write for it,4—I too value a little the friendly feeling of the man. The Postman (tho' it is now his time) has yet brot nothing; I pray earnestly he may bring me good accounts of my brave old Mother whenever he comes with a Scotsbrig Letter! Oh, should I not be thankful for the many and often good news I have had from there!— Take care of yourself, dear Mother; and let me hope to hear soon. Love to one and all.—

Ever yr affectionate

T. Carlyle