The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 5 August 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530805-TC-JAC-01; CL 28: 241-242


Chelsea, 5 Augt, 1853—

My dear Brother,

Your last Note, for which many thanks, seemed to give a somewhat more promising account of our dear Mother's situation; and has been a comfort to one's vague imaginations ever since. But, of course, the fact fluctuates from day to day; and we cannot hide from ourselves that she is frail and weak to an extreme degree. The discontinuance, and if possible, total abrogation of those stimulant methods, is surely a wise course; and gives what strength there is, fair play. More strength no medical means can create; it is running into a series of debts, strict account of which is kept, and payment demanded with compound interest. Jane thinks favourably of the matter (as I perceive), if this condition be adhered to.— My poor dear Mother, I wish I had something to send to her today! But there is nothing, nothing than1 can be of the least use. A poor Magazine, and Tract (of Chambers's, on myself)2 out of which some of you might have read to her for a few minutes: this I did mean to send; but even this I cannot get just at the fit moment; and so must put it off till monday. I am not rich in gifts just now,—and in that best direction, am utterly poor!

Jane arrived safe on Monday Evening; found me at the station, and cabs enough. Nero was stupefied nearly to death in the basket he had been nestled in; and seemed indifferent even when he did recognise that he had got home: the foolish little quadruped, he really is not a wise production of Nature. Poor Jane had to go next day, and even the next again, to the Dentist; parted with three teeth; and did at length get to some sleep, which has much set her up again. She has greatly enlightened this household establisht for me, by her return to it. I do not shine in housekeeping in these hot days.

London is getting beautifully empty: the intolerable noises, the Cremorne Cabs and rockets, very many confusing annoyances, will disappear or diminish; and perhaps we shall now get a better chance at useful exertion of some kind! I do not know but I shall have to build an Upper Story yet (soundless apartt, lighted from the top) after all: I have a plan for such; but am very swear, swear!— The Ashburtons go for the extreme North, Thurso3 nearly, on Monday; they have left us liberty of their beautiful little place at Addiscombe in the interim,—really one of the prettiest green places in the world;—but I know not whether we shall get much use of it either: even with no use at all, it is a pleasant thought in hot days.

I have got no real breaking of the ground effected yet, in my poor barren job; but am scraping about in a very unpleasant manner, obstacles enough, from myself and from the world, to bar progress if they can. Let us hope they cannot quite!— My kind thanks and regards to Jamie and Isabella, and to all of you for your help to poor Jane, who is very sensible to any sort of help or kindness. My heart's blessings on my poor Mother,—of whom let me hear soon. Yours affectionately ever

T. Carlyle