The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE; 23 November 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18501123-TC-JAC-01; CL 25: 292-293


Chelsea, 23 Novr, 1850—

My dear Brother,

We got your Moffat Letter; and were very glad of your news, especially of the good account you give of our Mother, standing out so bravely against this bad weather. I only hope, it still continues. We have the muddiest time here too; but it is very mild in temperature, and there comes about once in three a brisk day when at least the flags are dry. I find a great benefit in my gutta-percha soles, and walk independ[en]tly1 of all manner of glar,—rather glad sometimes that all is so quiet, and that I have so much of the roads to myself. I have ceased now to walk by Hyde Park as my last feat of the day; I oftener go up by the Nine-Elms way,2 round by Pepolidom and Craikdom (which were, for alas both these parties are gone); this I find a much lovelier road, and poor Nero goes with me if it is not quite wet, on occasion.

I am also to report, more particularly, of the excellence of the Scotsbrig meal, butter &c; to which I myself can testify, for I often take a cup of porridge lately before bedtime. No better meal need be wished. The Ham too (tell our kind Mother) is very good at breakfast time. As for the butter, it is admitted to be the best we have had even from Scotsbrig for years past: Jane has trucked away the Irish butter (which was threatening to become quite questionable), and we stand steadily to this;—sorry only the firkin seems to leak, and will not hold brine; so that Jane is at a loss whether not to venture on taking the whole out and packing it in crockery pots? I have advised her to take a beer keg which is here, and putting the firkin inside that, fill the interstice with brine, which I think shd do! We got, two days ago, a tinsmith over; he with a hot copper wedge (I having tried in vain with pokers &c) knocked open the Honey which is also much approved, and has now got itself packed away in gallipots.— Our new servant is an excellent, handy attentive skilful woman; so that all is now quiet on that side too.

We are as well as usual, both of us, or rather better, except this, which I must tell you of, if you can give any advice in it. Yesterday, poor Jane who was busy “covering a stool,” or doing some such upholstery, in front of the sofa, saw Nero doing something wrong; and hastily whirling round to switch him or threaten switching, lucklessly hit her breast against the sofa-corner,—right side, between the center of the breast and top of the shoulder (as I understand it),—and is ever since suffering pain, and suffering alarm still more. If we knew a right surgeon, I wd apply to one; if the thing grow worse, we must apply to one,—can you tell us to whom? I am in hopes it will prove nothing; for when she keeps her right hand quite quiet, there is little or no pain, so I suppose it is muscular only. She is now writing; and feels bound only to be very steady;looks very well otherwise.

Great noise here still about Wiseman and the Pope's Mountebankeries: I almost suppose there will be some thing need to be done in this foolish business, which has provoked everybody; so loud is the noise upon it, and not like passing away for some time. Speech enough in Parlt there will be about it! The flagstones and walls are all chalked “No Popery!” “Burn the Pope”; “Kick the Pope's bottom” &c &c. Or perhaps Barclay and Perkins's people will again interfere? That seems the more rational solution; I should less object to them (at least, if they broke no bones) on this new occasion perhaps!

This day week I sent my Mother a N. Bh Review, which I conclude she received. Tell me what she has now got to read, and very specially how she is. Oh take care of her— I know you will, and do, which is a great comfort to me.— Darwin is ill of cold; Craik, as I hinted, is gone to Belfast; Leigh Hunt, Ballantyne, little Stores Smith are about setting up a “Leigh Hunt's Journal” again; poor little Smith (who has just married and came hither to live by Literature) investing his little fortune in the speculation,—not a good one at all, I should say!3 I walked up one night, and found poor old Hunt,4 supping on gruel and sherry, in clean linen and immense cloud of cotton nightgown, full of the old kindly follies, good soul!— — I hope you will write soon. Blessings to my Mother and to them all. Your affectionate

T. Carlyle