August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE ; 30 October 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18431030-TC-JC-01; CL 17: 160-162


Chelsea, Monday, 30 Octr, 1843

Dear Jamie,

Notwithstanding my unspeakable haste at this moment, I must not neglect to announce the good news that our two Barrels of good things from Scotsbrig arrived safe this morning about 11 o'clock. The charge of carriage was some pence under twelve shillings; which, for a carriage of 200 and odd miles transacted with such despatch, must be admitted to be cheap enough. We are right glad to see the meal especially; and shall try it tonight if we prosper! The Ferguses of Kirkcaldy had already some weeks ago volunteered to send us a Box of meal, but unluckily they had introduced a few bottles of whisky into it; so the whole, we conclude, has been seized at the Customhouse, and we dare not make the smallest inquiry about it!1 We had never heard of the business; till Miss Fergus wrote to us, making a timid inquiry about it.

I broke up these Barrels; saw all manner of things looking quite snug; but had to run upstairs to my work again, and have yet heard no farther accounts. Jane was very proud of her pease scon. The skins, at least the one I saw of them, was a most effectual-looking article, and the colour very tolerable,—what may be called good, tho' buff would have been preferred. Jane seemed to be at a kind of loss for the moment as to the three pots of butter: but I think it is specified in your former Note; which is in John's hand at present, and will be got from him tomorrow night, when he is to be here, if not sooner. There was a small scattering of chaff, or chips of straw, that had got thro' upon the top of the meal; a newspaper without holes should be spread over the head of all, by way of finish, in such cases; if that were packed well in, and then delicately lifted off, there would not even a flawn of chaff get in. Mind that another time! It may be interesting also to know that the meal &c by the shaking of the journey had sunk nearly six inches from the lip of the barrel.— — In short, dear Brother, all is right and well; and we are very glad of it, and very greatly obliged to you. Jane proposes keeping the meal in the very barrel where it is: if that be not right, you can let us know, and we will shift it; but I think it is right. Jenny's warm flannels will likewise be welcome, now at the mouth of Winter. We, like you, have had hard frosts, then again clear mild weather, and today we have rain and glar [mud].

Jack was here last night; brisk and well: he is about writing to Dumfries today, about having a Letter from Jean got ready for Alick on or before the third of Next Month: it will not do later; the third is Thursday if any of you take a thought of writing. Clow's address is “Alton, Wayne county, State of New York”; you pay a shilling along with the Letter. But I doubt none of you will write!

Next week, or perhaps this, I will send a Letter to my Mother; I will try if I can find a little more time than I have today! It is very right that she is going to have Jessie Austin with her,—if Jessie be not too light in the bone?2 Somebody to light the fire, and run little errands in a quiet way, is indispensably necessary in winter.—I am not doing any great feats in the way of work yet; but stirring nevertheless, or trying to stir! Jane sends her love to Isabella and our Mother; my blessings are with all of you always. And so adieu dear Brother / Your affectionate T. Carlyle