The Collected Letters, Volume 28


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 21 July 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530721-JWC-TC-01; CL 28: 213-214


Scotsbrig Thursday [21 July 1853]

It is a pleasure to write today, dear, your Mother is so well. She went to sleep last night about 8 o'clock, and slept a fine natural “pluffing” sleep till one in the morning, when she awoke and asked for some porridge, which having taken she went to sleep again, and slept till six in the morning. Then she opened her eyes and said to write a line to “the Doctor” by the train to tell him “no to come back th' day; for at weel1 she wasna needing him.” then off to sleep again till half after nine!— I was sitting at her bedside when she woke up then quite fresh, and her first word was, “did they send a bit line to the Doctor to bid him no come”? Her going on hitherto is all confirmatory of my first impression, that it could not be for nothing that she had come out of that deathlike trance thro' her own unassisted strength—but that she was going to have a new lease of life with better health than before I have not seen her so well as she is today since I came to the country and Jane says she has not seen her so well since candlemas and Mr Tait2 told me an hour ago he had not seen her so well for eight weeks. And she has not had a drop of wine or whisky or any of those horrible stimulants today so that one is sure the wellness is real. It was put in my power “quite promiscuously” to give her a little pleasure this morning. I “do all the walking of the family” at present—carry all the letters back wards and forwards like a regular postwoman—of my own free will of course—for Jamie would send to Middlebie or Ecclefechan at any time for me—but I can be best spared to go, and I like it. Since I came here I “have been known” to walk to Ecclefechan and back again twice in one day!! and most times I get an old man for company. different old men attach themselves to me—like lovers—and I find their innocent talk very refreshing— This morning I went to Middlebie as usual on the chance of a letter from you, and the Post as usual not being come—(I always go far too soon) I walked on as usual, and met the Postman halfway to Ecclefechan— Coming back reading your notes, I met three or four women, one of whom stopt me to inquire for your Mother. then she left her companions and turned back with me telling me about her Mother how ill she had been last week—and that she would “like weel to ken what I thocht o' her looks compared wi Mrs Cairls”3—and when we arrived at a farm house on the Ecclefechan side of the Mill she begged me as a great favour “just to step in and take a look o' her Mother and say what I thocht”— I did not refuse of course; but went in and sat a while beside a good patient looking old woman in the bed—who asked many questions about your Mother and told me much about herself— When I came in and described where I had been; it turned out I had brought your Mother the very information she had been asking of all the rest yesterday with no result—and she had left off saying “naebody cared for auld folk now a days—or some o them would hae gaen an asket for puir Mrs Corrie”4— And there had I come home with the most particular intelligence of Mrs Corrie!

I must write to Thomas Erskine today5—and to Liverpool to tell them they may look for me anyday—with John hovering about “not like one crow but a whole flight of crows,” and Jane rubbing everything up the wrong way of the hair; my position is not so tenable as it would have been alone with your Mother and Jamie and Isabella But I could not have gone with comfort to myself while your Mother was in so critical a state— I shall probably go to Liverpool tomorrow or next day. at all events you had best write there—

I am decidedly of opinion that one should make oneself independent of Roncas6 and all contingencies by building the soundproof room—since so much money has already been spent on that house—

Yours ever affly /

Jane W C.