The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 29 January 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530129-TC-MAC-01; CL 28: 23-24


Chelsea, 29 jany, 1853—

My dear Mother,

It is Saturday afternoon, past 3 o'clock, when I ought (had not things gone against me, and kept me back) to be out walking: however, I will not let the week end without sending you a short word, to say at least that nothing is specially wrong with us here. Poor Jane, indeed, has had a bad night,—“no sleep at all,” poor creature,—and is not in the best order, as you may think. But we hope she will do better tonight;—tho' on the whole, she is often ill off for sleep just now, in the bad cold weather, cold and wet too, as it often is, tho' not today;—and it is surprising how she holds out notwithstanding; and daily keeps the road, when there is dry footing on the streets.— As to myself, tho' I have a great feeling of thin-skinnedness, and am but shivery in the nerves, I seem to feel otherwise better than usual, and (especially when well let alone) do very well. I am as busy to[o]1 as I can manage to be, amid the many distractions around me; and so struggle along in the old tolerable manner. Mostly we are quite alone at present, at least I am, for nobody gets up to me here in work-hours: last night we had a certain Sir James Stephen with his son and Spedding,2 who all volunteered to come here: Stephen is a wise religious and sensible man; and talked a great many excellent things (he governed all the Colonies a long time; and is really a clever man, independently of his love of me!)—and I could not grudge a 3 hours spent in such conversation; which, however, is very rare here, with our crowds of busy and “great” men, the more is the pity!—

Yesterday I wrote a hurried word to John about the Craigenputtoch Lime-affairs; and have referred him to Jamie; before whom the whole case is to be laid for a decision. From Jamie I will expect, therefore, a candid verdict; let him do his wisest!

Jack represented you as rather fresher than for some time past: I know he always puts the best face on the matter:—and alas, I know too, my poor old Mother is very weakly at the best: but ought we not to be thankful that things are as they are, since not better? Oh yes, yes: if human beings were not very stupid, they would feel themselves to be (as the old devout people said) “monuments of Mercy.”— Now as always, dear good Mother, if there is anything I could do or get for you,—why do I not know it? Alas, there is not anything; and I even fear you wd have a scruple to tell me if there were. I can only wish the sun were back: that, it seems to me, will do you and the rest of us more good than most things we are like to get.— — Tell Isabella the butter continues excellent; ditto the meal; the Hams patiently await their fate, which is advancing daily! It was very kind of our good old mother to send us a Ham; such seasoning cannot lie in any other piece of meat.— I still shave daily with my Annandale bar of soap; but it will be done by and by, I perceive: however, there is some good to be had here now too, so never mind.— Has Jean ever come down to you? She talked of it. God's blessing on you, dear Mother!— T. Carlyle