April 1849-December 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 24


JWC TO BETTY BRAID; 31 December 1849; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18491231-JWC-BB-01; CL 24: 316-317


5 Cheyne Row 31st December [1849]

My dearest Betty

This newyear's day letter, I hope, will not seem to you to come from such a far country as the others you have had from me these good many years back.—not that I am any nearer you; counting by mile stones; but having seen and kissed me so lately, you must feel me less a stranger to you than I was getting to be.— You know you found me “just the same Miss Welsh as ever”—and so I am so far kind love towards you and towards my old home is concerned, and so I would always be if I lived to a hundred—but for the rest; the Miss Welsh you first knew was a considerably blither character than I am now a-days—especially in winter weather!—I am not however confined altogether to the house this winter, I was confined with a cold for three weeks, but it is gone now, and I go out for a little walk every tolerable day. I am never quite well—hardly ever any thing like so well as you saw me in Edinr, and that was not much to brag of—but I say nothing about it, and put as good a face on myself as I can, so long as I am only able to keep on foot and mind my affairs, such as they are. If I had you here to pet me and take care of both myself and my house, I dare say I should indulge in a good deal more lamentation.

Elizabeth goes on very well however. so long as I am able to look after her, and cheer her up, her spirits being too low for so young a creature or at least extremely unequal—but I shall never dare to leave her alone in the house again after her illness last time, which I am quite sure was caused entirely by her feeling quite miserable alone—and I cannot remain always here watching her. So I often wish I could fall in with some elderly servant suitable to me—one who had seen enough of life to know that the world was not made exactly for her convenience, and that “what can't be cured must be endured”—

Meanwhile I have got a little dog, that is almost as engaging as Shandy1—tho' no new dog can ever replace dear little Shandy in my affections— This one was sent me from Manchester under charge of the Guard of the Railway—he is about the size of Shandy but has long white silky hair hanging all about him—and over his eyes which are very large and black—I was afraid Mr Carlyle would have found him a plague and ordered him about his business—and so he would if the dog had been noisy—but he is as good as dumb—never barks unless I make him do it in play—and then when Mr C comes in bad humour the little beast never troubles its head but dances round him on its hind legs, till he comes to and feels quite grateful for its confidence in his good-will— So he gives it rasens, of which it is very fond, one by one, and blows tobacco smoke in its face which it does not like so well—and calls it “you little villain” in a tone of great kindness.

I am sending you for new year's gift something that I think you will like very much to have—a vol. of Logan's Sermons2— In reading them you will seem to hear my Mother's voice—as I have done before now— Perhaps the book may not be delivered along with this letter altho sent off by the same post—as there is sometimes a delay about parcels—but if it do not come within a day or so after you must write and tell me. I have not heard very lately from my Aunts—indeed I have not written to them for some weeks, having had a deal of bothering work to do of one sort and another

God bless you dear Betty— Remember me kindly to your Husband3 and son— How does the egg-trade go on?— Many thanks for your offer of meal—but we get a barrel of oatmeal each year from Scotsbrig where they have it remarkably good, and do generally take porride for supper—

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