The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE ; 20 January 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500120-TC-JC-01; CL 25: 5-6


Chelsea, 20 jany, 1850—

Dear Jamie,

I have felt that I owed you a Letter this good while; but I have been terribly tuffled about, kept as busy as a bee;—and even now I have hardly a few moments, and must write as if I were driven all the time.

I hope somebody apprised Isabella how excellent the Butter was; we daily eat of it with due acknowledgement, and wish “Long life and whole hands to the maker of it,” and success,—better success than in late times always,—to her Kye! The Oatmeal too is an unsurpassable article: I sometimes take a small spell of porridge from it, tho' that is contrary to my usual practice now.— We had some very sound and respectable potatoes, from Captain Stirling's farm;1 which, however, were a great favour: then Mr Fergus of Kirkcaldy2 sent us two Barrels,—the first of which I broke up yesterday; but these are decidedly a coarse article; the ugly disease traceable in every one of them; so that if these are “the best in Fife,” poor Fife must have dreadfully fallen off in regard to potatoes, in which it once so excelled! Indeed I believe such is the case; and that the potatoe business will not speedily be of much service to us again.

Our weather has been very harsh for a month past; an uncommonly severe winter, they say, all over the Continent; we seem to have got a hearty thaw these two days; but whether it will last or not? For we have continually fluctuated in that respect; and sometimes have had hard frost with loud wind, which makes very bad weather indeed.— Often have I thought of my poor Mother; and thankfully wondered that she kept up so well as she seems to have done. On me the cold weather has no good effect: but Jane, I think, stands this winter better than usual; she is still afoot, and has all along been.— For my own share I have been terribly hurried, moreover; especially since the Doctor last got a word from me. You can tell him they are actually going on with these “Pamphlets” I spoke about, the “Latter-Day Pamphlets” they are to be called: the first of them is now quite out of my hands, and will sally forth on February 1st,—and awaken a terrible barking, “Whaf-thaf? Bow-wow!” as seems probable. The Nigger story has never got to sleep yet; all and sundry are astonished, enraged &c, which really is the only thing one could expect or even wish;—and this new affair, I believe, which lets the people see a little farther into me, will probably be worse, not better.3 I calculate there is perhaps no man in all her Majesty's dominions, who can so well afford to take such things quietly as even myself,—thanks to my bad stomach among various other things! So I mean the dogs shall hear a bit of my real mind, now when my hand is in, if I can manage! This First No is on “The Present Time,” or New Era so-called: a copy shall go to Scotsbrig, so soon as I get one. No 2 also is not far from ready; No 3 I do not yet know. Wish me good speed,—I know you all do!

Will you get that Draft cashed, and take your own 8 / 6 off it: John, I think, will then want some 2 / or 3 / 6 from me, if he paid Garthwaite; please to settle with

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