January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO [JAMES CARLYLE] ; 20 May 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590520-TC-JC-01; CL 35: 95-96


Chelsea, 20 May, 1859—

My dear Brother,

Thanks for your brief Notes; welcome tho’ brief. I hope you have got back to Scotsbrig safe the second time,—“for good” now, as I suppose;—and that were1 will some favourable account of poor Isabella come tomorrow. We have had a dreadful May of it, all of us! Jane, from her bed, often talks to me of Isabella; and we “wonder how she is” &c; very sorry to think of the bad she has had, and still has.2 The shifting to upstairs was evidently a good movement; she cannot but be better for so much better a lodgement,—in that venerable old room, so memorable, so strange to me when I but think of it!3—The curtains of the bed I found misarranged; letting in the light upon one's face: but of course that is easily mended, if found inconvenient.

Our Dr4 here, a sensible kind of man, does a great deal by “improved diet,”—by continually enforcing and enjoining that, as the means of getting strength, which is the thing wanted. I have no doubt you are wide awake to that too, and that Isabella's case is one greatly depending upon weakness too. There has come up here,—not by our Doctor's invention, but greatly praised by him, and producing good effects,—an Italian article, called “Zambaio” by some, by others “Zambiano”; which perhaps you know already: in case you do not, let me describe it to you, on chance. Two new eggs of the best quality (Scotsbrig not to be equalled in that respect); beat them well up, with a great deal of pounded sugar (quantity I cannot give, but the thing is extremely sweet); add then one glass of the very best madeira or sherry; stir in small saucepan; set on the fire and still diligently stir: in a minute or two it is a beautiful yellow batter;—one of the nicest articles for taste; and nutritive, I shd think, beyond any other.— That is my poor contribution of a recipe, if it shd happen to be of the least use or applicability! The fine weather, whh is now at hand (deluges of straight-down rain are pouring overhead) will itself be half the battle, I hope. Good news will be very welcome here!

Poor John Welsh is gone, as doubtless you have heard: he had 4 days of actual confinement to bed (Friday Evg to Wedy evg); but his sufferings, from sore throat &c, were latterly heavier & heavier. His death is a sternly tragical thing in one's solitude here.— Jane comes into the drawing room, thro’ the day; means to go out under the first sunshine with wind to west. Weak very, and sleeps ill. Yours ever

T. Carlyle