1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE; 22 March 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550322-TC-JC-01; CL 29: 274-275


Chelsea, 22 March, 1855—

Dear Brother,

Here is a Bank-Draught for the price of the Hams, which you paid: many thanks for the trouble you have taken in the business. We have broken into one of the Hams, and are steadily advancing thro' it: not a bad article at all, if it hold out, sound to the end, in the matter of curing, as we hope it will. No defect, or none to speak of, has yet been traceable on that head: but there certainly does prevail, in Scotland at least, a most imperfect method of managing that essential in the bacon line,—out of fear of salt, as I conjecture:—a good friend from Fife1 sends us every year a piece of the best bacon that can be fed, and every year it is poisoned by that fatal deficiency: “a thing much to be avoided,” as old Wull Varie2 would have said! It is like eating alternately a mouthful of the finest meat and a mouthful of castor-oil: all for carelessness of some slovenly individual (last hand in the job) and want of an ounce or two of salt.— This is enough upon that practical topic,—hardly a concern of yours at present, I believe.

We are very glad to hear of John's good account of things at Scotsbrig: the draining and other industry has been of great advantage to you there. Every wise industry a man flings into the glebe of the Old Earth (or indeed anywhere else into God's Creation, for that matter) is likely to be repaid him again.— I was also well content to hear you had got the poor old Ecclefechan houses; you, since there was no other to buy them.3 Certainly the purchase is cheap, if any ever was; and one is glad to think the bargain has fallen to one of the family, and our good Father's industry may be inherited by his sons and grandsons.

I saw John yesterday; very well, and running about after Books; after ships for the little Boy who has lately come home to him; after many small things, much in his old way.— Our weather here is very fluctuating; moist soft west winds, almost disagreeably warm; then stormy tempests from the east, followed (as today) by bitter blowing rain. Everything is dear to a degree; and all people are in astonishment, wise or not wise, at the accounts brought forth of our mode of managing “war” in the Turkish regions. I confess, it is to me a most disgusting aspect of affairs,—too like what I have seen to be really the internal state of matters everywhere;—and fills me with sorrow and apprehension when I think of it: not for the Turk war, but for infinitely weightier interests of ours.

However, I must now leave all that; and try to get on with my day's task a little, which does not look very promisingly just now, especially at this rate of proceeding!

Adieu, dear Brother. Give my kind remembrances to Isabella not forgetting John or good little Jenny. I am ever

Your Affectionate /

T. Carlyle