The Collected Letters, Volume 25


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 7 March 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500307-JWC-MR-01; CL 25: 41-42


Thursday [7 March 1850]

I must write a line, my dear Mrs Russell, to thank you for your quick compliance with my request, and for sending me so much more than I asked for. It was wonderful to see those snow drops, when planted in my little garden here, holding up their heads as freshh1 as if they had never left Templand!— It makes me dreadfully sad sometimes to think of the prodigious rapidity and facility of communication now betwixt there and here— Now when I can get next to no good of it!— She2 used often to say “how delightful it will be to breakfast here and dine with you in London when the Railroad is made.” I remembered when I read in a newspaper of that railroad being opened,3 I could do nothing but cry— It has brought me these flowers of hers very fresh however, and I am sure it will not be your fault if all the slips and roots dont grow—you had taken such pains in the packing of them!—she could not have done my commission more prettily herself, and that is much to say!

We have cruel cold weather now again—just when one was blooming out into summer gowns and bonnets—but I go out for exercise with my dog nevertheless— Today I must go and call for an old Eastlothian friend4 who has turned up for me lately in an almost unrecognisable shape— When I had last seen her she was driving off in bridal finery, with white knots fluttering, a handsome, highspirited, almost insolently proud girl—alongside of an awkward red haired artillery-officer—more than thirty years ago,— now I found her in a dreary looking shabby-genteel house, with not a tooth in her head that I could see her face all in puckers, her manner soft and subdued almost to fawning— nothing of her old self left but the long chesnut ringlets—still chesnut— tho' become rather toosy—and these she still sports hanging down to near her waist!! She is a widow now but had separated from her husband long ago for “incompatibility of temper”— You must have seen her younger sister Mrs Charles Menteath5— This one was much the best of the two, had a warm heart tho a rather violent temper— and I fancy time and trouble have made a great improvement on her inner woman— She tells me Mrs Menteath grows always the longer the more disagreeable—that nothing can take the pride out of her— she must be a wonderful woman to have managed to live so long in London without getting herself brought to reason on the matter of her own insignificance— Here is a caller come in— So goodby dear Mrs Russell I send you my Husbands last pamphlet which I think very good—

Ever your affectionate