January 1835-June 1836

The Collected Letters, Volume 8


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 19 February 1836; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18360219-TC-MAC-01; CL 8:304-305.


5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea,19th February, 1836.

My dear Mother,

Last night I wrote a word or two to Alick and Jean, and the frank must not go today without some kind of token for you; to show visibly what you know unseen that I am still thinking of you. At the same time nothing must be briefer than my brevity: consider only that my whole day's-work of writing is st[i]ll lying untouched; that I will not begin it till I have sealed up this correspondence.

Poor Alick has had a loss which he will feel deeply; I know you do all you can to console him.1 In trying to guess where you are at this time, I rather figure that it must be at the Howes. O dear me! But we must not get despondent, or sick of heart: it is a world of blessings and hope as well as of crosses and fear; it is God's world;—wherein, as you once told me, if we tine [lose] heart we tine a'.

By a hint in Jean's Letter, I gather that there is to be a new change of name and state before long.2 The particulars are yet all dark to me. I pray heartily that it may be for good to those mainly interested. I suppose it is their own well-deliberated resolution; in which, therefore what can we all do but forward them with our best help and wishes. I send many kindest regards to poor Jenny; and pray that God's Blessing may go with her whithersoever she go. If she can write to me, I shall be very happy; if not, I will not take it ill. There is much to be said in favour of Rob; many a young woman might go farther and fare worse, I do think and say.

And now, my dear Mother, how is this new change to affect you? There are no more now of that kind; this is the last. For these last years we have seen nothing but changes, change upon change; to all of which you have most cheerfully adjusted yourself. Go on so, my dear Mother! It is true health and heroism of mind to do it: there is nothing tint [lost] as long as one's heart is not tint, but all else is remediable.

For one thing you will learn with true joy that there is a fair prospect of Jack in not many weeks now. He talks about the end of March. I think he will be for Scotland, perhaps not long after: at all rates, to know that he is here within the Four Seas, will be a great thing for you, from the first. As for myself I do not think I ought to stir from this spot till I get the Book done: then, I am free as air for any enterprise whatsoever, for any fortune whatsoever. But we shall see, we shall see.

Jane bids me say that she is “as cross as a wuddie [insane person],” but very affectionate towards you, and on the whole an excellent Goody (in spite of the cold weather). Really she is in tolerable health; and as for me, I do think I am considerably better than I used to be.— O my dear Mother, keep good fires, these bitter days. It is one of the worst seasons of the year; take all care of yourself.— When am I to see another word from your hand? No other word can be so welcome to me.— My kind love to Jamie and Isabella and the solid Nephew. Good be with you all!— And now to work!—

Your affectionate Son, /

T. Carlyle.