April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE ; 19 November 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441119-TC-JC-01; CL 18: 269-271


Chelsea, 19 Novr 1844—

Dear Jamie,

I am, and shall likely be for a while, extremely busy; never busier; but I must write you half a word about the Meal-barrel and other goods. The whole arrived yesterday; carriage, I think, 23/ and some pence. The articles seemed all of first-rate quality, but the packing had been a little unsuccessful; the potatoe-box had given way,—and alas our Pot of Butter was found broken,—some of the Potatoes having run out, and left it room to jumble! The meal-barrel too was leaking a little;—the Cocks, alas, had to be instantly given away to the Poor. We have a quiet surmise that it was “The Ingineer of Trailbrow”1 who advised an additional Box for the butter-pots, with Potatoes to fill up &c &c; tho', of course, there must be no whispering it to him!— The best is, but little damage is done after all. Not many pounds of the meal have been lost; and we have shifted it into the old Barrel, with much beating;—all safe now. The Butter was a sadder sight to our Dame: “such excellent looking Butter!” she said; “and the Pot broken in several pieces, and even the clay of the Potatoes has been contact with it!”— The “clay” has spoiled but half a pound of it: the whole is now shifted into a fresh Pot, and by the aid of pickle and salt cloths, I suppose, it will keep well enough. There is on the whole no considerable harm done;—but in future we will stick by the old mode of packing.—

I want you now to send the Account, Tom Garthwaite's, that of the Hams, the Smith for the griddle &c &c every item to Jean at Dumfries: for I want to be clear of my debt there; and have money to send otherwise. Do this, and merit new thanks from me. We will thank you every night as we eat our porridge; not to say both morning and evening, remember Isabella and you over our bread and butter.— — My good Mother's Glengarry cap I also found: she has been fretting herself all this time about it, the good Mother; and I had a very good cap all the while, of another sort, which I begin to think I like better,—and no want of the Glengarry! Tell her so, when she comes back to you; and how I always forgot to mention it, and always had due regret. Tell her I am to be terribly busy yet for about three weeks; but that after that I will write to herself,—a long letter.

No news we have heard of late months was welcomer to us than this that you are to continue in Scotsbrig! There is nothing like continuing if one any way can. It saves an immense, indeed incalculable expenditure of trouble in every kind; work, suffering, uncertainty &c &c. besides you have got the place cheaper.2 Really I could on the whole have been glad that you had got it the old way. We rejoice very much in this result for you;—and for our good Mother especially it is welcome to us.

Jack says you are thinking of a Back Kitchen in the House: in that case I have a beautiful plan of a sitting-room built over that, well deafened and finished; to enter from the top of the stair (thro' that old press or whatever it is); which would be a most “canty thing” for Jack and me when we came thither on visit!— But there will be time to talk of this by and by. I have not a minute more today; hardly so much indeed,—my head is already saying very intelligibly, “You should have been out an hour ago, my Boy!”— Good be with you dear Brother. Our regards to Isabella, and many thanks to all.

T. Carlyle

Jack had some hopes of getting his old Lodging after all; but I think they have turned out today to vanish; and he will have to seek elsewhere.3 He is well, quiet & cheery.