The Collected Letters, Volume 1


JBW TO ELIZA STODART; 14 October 1820; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18201014-JBW-EA-01; CL 1:279-281.


LiverpoolOctober 14th / 1820

My Dear Bess

You may perhaps remember the name of the person who now address[es] you[—]more of me I think you can scarcely recollect[.] I know not how it is that we are such bad correspondents. I believe it is I who am in fault at present but the shortness of your last must be some excuse for me for I really expected you would have written to me again without waiting for an answer to it but I suspect the real cause of my negligence will be with more justice found in something which I dare scarcely name (I mean your goodnature [underscored twice]) for there are many persons whom I dont like half so well whose letters I answer pretty regularly because I know were I not to do so should never be forgiven but from you I always make myself sure of a pardon as soon as I acknowledge my offense— I have now according to custom filled my first page with apologies and so I will proceed to give you some account of our motions[;] we left Strathmilligan1 about a fortnight ago and a sad morning we had of it, but this world is made up of little else than partings— Mr Robert McTurk our Landlords eldest son drove us in his gig to Dumfries from whence we posted to Carslile2 & there we took the coach or rather the coach took us to Liverpool[.] Mr McTurk accompanied us to Penrith on his way to Brughhill 3—at Dumfries, we drank tea and slept at Mr Kirkpatric[k']s4— Roger is a kind kind man in his own house and his wife though not very taking in her appearance is no less so[.] Capn Thorburn was there just the same sentimental looking person with the open mouth that used to go about catching flies in Edinr— My Uncle Robert was also there[;] we had the pleasure of his company for two days at strathmilligan[.] It would be rather foolish in me to fill my paper with an eulogium on my own uncle—but I never can resist praising Robert, to those who I think place any value on my opinion— His kindness and attention to us, merits my warmest gratitude— I have lost my dearest and my best friend, whose love was my most valuable blessing—and the blank he has made to me must be felt till the last moment of my existence, were my life to be much longer than I wish it to be—but had it been possible for the loss of such a Father to be supplied it would have been supplied by his brother but oh Bess you knew him and you know how impossible it is that I should ever love any human being as I loved him— My Mother's health I am glad to say continues pretty good and every body says she is looking well— We expect to be at Haddington sometime next month— What a return will it be! no one to welcome us— When I think of home all the pleasure that I feel at the prospect of seeing so many kind friends again is damped by that thought— —My Uncle and Mary are very kind but between ourselves I dont like her[;]5 she is certainly a wellprincipled woman but good principles cannot in my opinion make up for the total want of all feminine graces of mind—she is very fond of argument and invariably loses her temper— She is a great politician which in a Lady is detestable— In fact she cannot bear to be contradicted in any thing— We have walked about the town frequently[;] it is a neat clean looking place[.] It is much larger than Edinr but the houses being all built of brick there is nothing at all grand looking about it— I like the appearance of Carslile very much[.] The Castle has a very fine effect— There are some people coming here to tea so I must close this stupid letter with a promise to be more particular next time[.] do write to me soon[.] My Mother joins me in kindest love to your Uncle & Yourself

Yours affectionately /

Jane Baillie Welsh

Address to me to the Care of Leishman6 & Welsh in Co / Red Cross Street / Liverpool