1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO JAMES CARLYLE; 14 March 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550314-TC-JC-01; CL 29: 272-273


Chelsea, 14 March, 1855—

Dear Jamie,

I have hardly a moment this morning (just before beginning work); but I am bound to satisfy you on one small point by saying that the Hams arrived safe, the day before yesterday (that is, on Monday): they are reported to be of handsome and promising appearance as Hams;— I was in hopes there might have a cut of them been presented me, this morning or yesterday, to make my report upon: but it seems there is a slight delay in the way of that;—so I cannot wait for it; but will report arrival at any rate. My next Letter will be in a condition to say what the quality has proved &c. In the mean while, please let me know what the Dealer's Account was;— the sooner the better, that I may pay you, and terminate the business.

We have had such a winter here as there has not been for nearly half a century: six weeks of frost; very many falls of snow, and false thaws of do: in fact extremely harsh cold and unpleasant weather. There are now beautiful spring days in general; tho' it was but Monday last we had another frost, and 3 inches or so of fresh snow, quite miserable to behold; which however went away again, in a deluge of “warm rain,” the very next day almost.— Grain and indeed all kindred articles seem to be extremely high; whh I privately guess to be occasioned by stoppage of the Russian Corn we used to get from that Crimea where they are fighting now. As trade also is very dull in most quarters, I conclude the working people have much less money than formerly; and indeed the poorer kinds of them are probably very ill off. Thrift, or wise self denial of any kind, is entirely unknown among them, in the days of their prosperity.

I am very busy always; but make next to no progress: a poor broken-winded garron yoked into a Cart far too heavy for it, and speeling Middlebie Brae with very great difficulty!— Whether I shall ever get to the top, I do not know.

Jack, as you know, is still here; and rather like to be, I think. He has got Books &c around him; got the little Sailor Boy1 home; and appears to take to his quarters. He is little more than a mile2 from me: very often, in my last walk (whh is an evening or rather a night one), about 10 o'clock, I beat up his quarters; and smoke a pipe with him. He is as quiet, and [words missing] meant or ought. Get Isabella or young Jamie to write me, as soon as possible, the Account I want;—and add some other “account,” namely, of what you are doing at Scotsbrig, how you all are &c &c: of which I seldom hear enough in late times. Jamie, I suppose, is gone back to Glasgow? Make my kind regards to Isabella; I hope (and indeed believe) the Spring weather will prove beneficial to her; and to the rest of us that have too thin a skin!

I am glad you got a few sticks in the Craigenputtoch Woods. Things seem to be considerably in disorder there again; and I should like very well to have whatever was rational done towards rectifying that. If there is anything you could contrive for me, and get done, I shd be most ready and obliged: but I rather think there is nothing (at such a distance &c as you