The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 9 April 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530409-TC-MAC-01; CL 28: 103-104


Chelsea, 9 April, 1853—

My dear Mother,

On Monday I got safe home from the Grange; as perhaps you would infer from the Newspapers which came addressed in my hand the next day. Jane had left them all for that purpose. I have since sent a Package of Books or Pamphlets by the post: the red Pamphlet (about “Galvanism” & “Illumination”)1 you may give to James Aitken if there is opportunity; otherwise light the fire with it; for indeed it is not of much consequence to anybody.— Jane is stirring about, and indeed out walking at this hour: our weather is now quite spring-like; but I think it has not much improved either her or me;—probably we are but yet in the transition state, and not hefted to our new element. I myself was considerably shaken wrong by the strange new element of life which The Grange always offers: dinner about 8 in the evening, and a continued series of elegant idlenesses thro the waking hours of the 24, this does not tend much to edify me at all; and a week of it, all on the sudden, does not even operate upon me as rest but only as surprise and confusion.— On the saturday before leaving, I rode with Lord Ashburton to the scene of the fire I had spoken of, some five miles off us: a scene of utter ruin, all black, with ruins of iron farm-tools, grubbers, ploughs &c, and the dung-hills, and ground about, still smoking and hot. Only 2 wheat ricks were saved,—about £2,000 of damage done: the farmer was insured and will lose nothing; Lord An was not, and must build the onstead anew, which will be £1000 or so out of his way, as he told me, in the most goodnatured humour. I advised him to move the new stackyard farther off the house, for one thing; not close upon it, or even close in front of it, as is the fashion here; which suggestion he approved of. The mischief was cause[d]2 by the kitchen-chimney taking fire: in the brisk wind the sparks were thrown upon the ricks, and everything was dry as tinder; had it been one half hour later, when plenty of rain began falling and pouring, no mischief had been done.— — All things looked exceedingly backward in Hampshire; and neither on watermeadow nor elsewhere could one notice any hue of green. Things have budded out, however, in this past week; and now we are going to have real grass and leaves.

Jane got a little welcome Note from Isabella and I had one from John while at The Grange: we have had no later word about you, dear Mother, and now begin to wish for something farther. For there is no satisfying of us! This improved weather will surely do something for us all, were we once fairly thro' the change. Meanwhile I can only advise, as always, Care and Caution; & not to be rash about going over the threshold, except when sunshine is out and the wind low. I fancy with myself a little expedition to the Fairy Brae Yett might do my dear old Mother good, when she is able for it! The Earth and the Sky are again beautiful with God's Mercies made visible to our eyes: might we understand that He will never forsake them that trust in Him; and that in the Immensities and the Eternities, He verily (much as our poor weak heart practically doubts it often) is alone King and Lord! Amen, Amen.

My dear Mother, I must add no more just now; having in fact many things to do in proportion to the time left. I wrote yesterday to Sandy; sending him a couple of those little Portraits, one of Jane (not very good), one of myself the same as you saw. I intend to have a Copy of your Picture here taken in that way; and to send it to him by and by; another for Jenny too perhaps.— — The Town is getting very full of grand people; but we keep clear out of their way hitherto. My love to Jamie and Isabella; God's blessing on you and them all, Mother ever dear. Your affectionate T. Carlyle