The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO MARGARET A. CARLYLE; 12 April 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510412-TC-MAC-01; CL 26: 58-59


Chelsea, 12 April, 1851—

My dear Mother,

It was on Wednesday last that the Package of Ham &c, all perfectly safe, arrived here; it was not till next day that the Butcher was got in to saw the Ham in two;—so that we have just given it two trials; and, as I was called off yesterday early, this is the first opportunity I have had to report progress upon that matter. Many thanks to you, dear good Mother! You never weary doing some kindness to us; many are the proofs we have about us how kind a being you are; how old age, and many sorrows of your own cannot chill the affectionate heart you have! In all my wanderings this has been a sure comfort, a great possession to me; and surely I ought to recognize the bounty of Heaven in continuing it to me. Much changes, but the heart of my Mother does not change towards me, and never will, I think: this is beautiful to see amid the ruins of so many earthly things. Thanks and again thanks.

Everything, I said, was safe: a Ham of gigantic size; and, I am to add now that the quality is first-rate also: good to start with; and, to all appearance, perfectly cured, which is a most essential condition, and one by no means always complied with, I believe we ought to eat with all diligence; and get forward with the operation before the summer heats get too sultry, and threaten to intervene. With diligence on both sides of the table (such as we see at present), something may be done perhaps!— The nightcaps, especially the sponge, were welcome; I am now laid well in with soap,—bar on bar of it lying here (for there was still one bar not broken when this last arrived):—the razors I had hoped James Aitken would perhaps keep, for I have six others rather good ones beside me; finding these last two to be still very bad, indeed worse than ever, I have given them away: Jane knows a man, whose chin is tougher than mine.— — On Thursday last I sent you off a little Box containing I fear a very worthless kind of article: a plaster Medallion of myself; done by a cleverish artist here, whom perhaps I spoke of once before. He sent me the Box all ready for travelling, nailed &c; so that we never looked into it; we had found it (the likeness, that is) to be rather tolerably good, before it was Cast into bronze or stucco: Jane is to have a copy of her own one of these days; so I sent this first one off to you; by way of Dumfries, for it needs some framing, I suppose, which I requested James Aitken to look after. I suppose he may get it today; and before long, you will probably get some account of it from him.— So much for that poor little affair. I hope you burnt the Hogg Engraving, that of the “idiot labouring under castor-oil?” Our six are all up the lum, and nobody has heard of it in these parts.1

For above a week past, I have been rather idle again (alas!)2—the Bookseller who had my manuscript away, to see what quantity there was of it, did not send any answer till this morning. I still know not altogether whether to publish or not; but suppose it will come to Yes at last.— Yesterday I was out looking at two grand Pauper Schools (of which Jack will have heard) at Norwood,—with a man called Tufnell and two others, “liberal country gentlemen”;3 pleasant enough people all,—tho' they kept me from my dinner till near seven, and it was cold, and I had nothing but tobacco to depend on! We have also a dinner to go out to tonight;4 but this, I do hope and believe, is now the last for some time,—— Good be with you dear Mother: I hope to hear again soon, and will write soon. I send my affection, and blessing (if I had any), to you all. Adieu for this day.

T. Carlyle