The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE ; 29 July 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530729-TC-MAC-01; CL 28: 234-235


Chelsea, 29 july, 1853—

My good and dear old Mother,—How many things I would like to say to you, if I had words to put them in! I fear you are very weak indeed, and have had a bad time since I last wrote directly to you. But, alas, I myself am not well today (having been awakened too soon); and if there were no other hindrance, I am, as usual, very short of time even. I will say nothing, but write you a word of mere news (or rather no-news, for there is nothing passing here at all); and leave all the rest in silence. You are never out of my thoughts; and about my feelings &c towards you, you have no need that I should write.

I expected to have got Jane back yesterday (Thursday); but she did not come; they persuaded her to stay a few days with them at Liverpool; and this morning her Note to me settles that she is to come on Monday. Not till Monday afternoon shall I get her installed into her old place again, and be myself quit of housekeeping; which is a business I do not shine in, and do not like at all! On first arriving at Liverpool, Jane seems to have been but poorly, sleepless &c; but she is doing well enough now; and says, her Tour has “at least done her no mischief.” She will feel the full benefit of it when once she is got settled at home again. She seemed greatly satisfied to have been at Scotsbrig; and wrote many beautiful and affectionate and affecting details about my good Mother while there. She did not deny how weak you were, nor hide the trouble you had been in: but she speaks confidently about a marked improvement being probable (and she has a considerable medical insight really; better than that of many Doctors by profession): and the other beautiful things she reported brought my good old Mother so vividly before me, and were a comfort in all one's troubles! Her account of the kindness of Jamie and Isabella is enthusiastic! I am greatly indebted to you all.

Since Jane left me solitary I have [been]1 tugging a little harder at the harness, and endeavouring a little to get my work forward. Alas, it is mostly an endeavour only. I have nothing that is of the least comfort to me except the thought of getting some useful work done while I continue here below: but there are many obstacles, continual interruptions, distraction; and alas, tho' the spirit may be willing, the flesh is not very strong just now.2 I do not like my job either; but how can I help that? I will not let it quite beat me, after all,—not willing to do that, however bad a job!

We have had much wet weather; indeed it has altogether been a grey damp summer here, always brisk wind, the sun oftenest veiled, a fine temperature, but never for one whole day any oppression from heat. The very kind of summer that I like. It seems as if I might have got some work done in it; but I have not!— The harvest they say,—except the hay which got much rain,—is said to promise very fairly all over the country. The people might be well if they liked, for they are getting plenty of wages; but it is sad enough to see what use many of them make of all that; a generation not of wise, but, in plentiful instances, of fools.— The Town is getting emptied of all its quality now; which will render it a great deal quieter (especially at this end of it) for those that want to employ their time in doing something reasonable.

Jean I find is still with you,—perhaps it is she that will read this letter? If so let her accept my affectionate regards as ever;—furthermore, she may take some moment, and write me a word; which would be kind of her. John has sent me two Notes since Jane left; the last came yesternight, and gave a good account,—I need not say how welcome to me! He is not to write again till he have seen you on Monday: he will then have no House at Moffat; his Wife to Edinburgh (he tells me), and he himself ready to go when wanted, or at least readier.— I got the enclosed Note from Jamie (of Glasgow) the other day;—and find I have not yet acknowledged it as I meant! God's blessing be on you, dear Mother, now and ever!— Yours

T. Carlyle