TC TO JAMES CARLYLE; 20 February 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550220-TC-JC-01; CL 29: 267-268
TC TO JAMES CARLYLE
Chelsea 20 feby, 1855—
My dear Brother,
I have this moment got Jamie's Letter; and I answer, before going to any other kind of work, That surely you are very welcome to as many Cartloads as you want, or can get, of the blown-down wood at Craigenputtoch: however, I wish you would go yourself along with your men, both to see that no mischief is done, and also (which is my concern) to ascertain for me what the real state of the Plantations is, and whether there is nothing that I could do in regard to the matter1
I am very glad to hear from Jamie that you are all in a tolerable [words missing],—[ar]e yourself recovering, and except it be poor Isabella (who like myself is used to be an invalid), the rest of you in your average condition. It is not at all a healthy time of the year; and there seems to be more sickness than usual in most places.
We have the grimmest weather; hard as Russia for a month past;— or rather I should say, hard only for about 2 weeks past, the two weeks before that, being made up of frost with sleet, snow &c. At present it is intensely cold; the Thames full of great blocks of ice, but cannot get frozen over owing to the tide; so the ice goes tumbling about, in huge white masses, the size of a cart of hay, and much of it gets stranded ashore at low-water. I have never seen any such winter for cold in London;—all since about the middle of January; for up to that time, except a slight taste of frost, perhaps early in November, the weather had been unnaturally warm. We all wish it were done! The water in my dressing room is habitually mere ice for this fortnight past; and I have to send down towels sponges &c to be kept in the kitchen for me. Jane took rather well with it at first; but now it seems to have beaten her; and she threatens to suffer considerably if the cold do not abate.
Yesterday I went with the Doctor to his Lawyers, and then far into the City, about his late Wife's property, and his inheritance of that. He was what the lawyers call “administering”; and needed somebody for surety,— which character I had undertaken yesterday; and the business, after some usual delays, was successfully got done. He is pretty well; has had a kind of cold, which is now hardly perceptible in any way, except that it keeps him in the house at night during this cold weather. He reads a great deal of lightish books; and occupies himself about the details of his late Wife's Affairs, children, guardianship &c &c
Adieu, dear Brother: I meant only to write two words, and behold I have written nearly a sheet. My whole days work yet lies ahead of me; as yet I have not even taken a smoke,— which latter fact will seem incredible to you!
If you at any time fall in with a couple of bacon hams that you can depend upon as tolerable stuff and perfectly well cured (in the first place), I will commission you to buy them for us; the difference of price will pay the carriage up, and Annandale ham will be a change from Hampshire &c. But the indispensable point is, that it be well cured! What you sent last was perfect in that particular; but it is quite strange and mortifying to me what a quantity of spoiled bacon one is liable to from Scotland: so unless you are sure on that head, do not bargain! In fact, do not mind it much, or hardly at all, unless a chance turn up. It is really of no importance. And now I must end this long winded story. With many affectionate regards and remembrances to one and all.