January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 8 February 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560208-JWC-MR-01; CL 31: 26-28


Friday / 5 Cheyne Row [8 February 1856]

My dear Mrs Russell

I like to believe myself interesting to you and so I write to tell you about my side—or breast—(for I never know which to call it. the hurt being just where the rib joins the breast bone). I had made up my own mind—that after mustard blistering at it for four whole days (!) to subdue the inflamation; there was nothing more to be done— But Countess Pepoli (Elizabeth Fergus) and my chief Friend Geraldine Jewsbury made such long faces and prayed so hard I would “see a Surgeon”—that finally I saw a surgeon—and what was worse a surgeon “saw me1—” for I had to show him the pretty state into which I had reduced my skin with the mustard!— He laughed at my energetic manner of carrying out a prescription of mustard; and for the rest recommended—patience! which I “could not carry too far”—“These things took a long time” (I knew that as well as he) “and on the whole they were best let alone”—(I thought I knew that too)— He is a Brother in law of Sir Charles Bell's the man, and Scotch—a Mr Shaw—Erasmus Darwin recommended him in preference to Brodie or Cuttle2 because “he wouldn't flurry me, and wouldn't do anything merely for the sake of doing”—and that is just his virtue—for any complicated case I should never “see” him again; he looks so soft!— So I was glad to have got off without leeches! which I have a wild horror of being touched by! and also that I was not required to lay up—as without plenty of walking I cant sleep a bit—very little with it!

The pain is wearing off gradually and rapidly within the last few days—so that now I can lie in any position—indeed hardly feel it—and believe it to have been nothing but a simple sprain

Aren't you glad we are to have peace? At least people who should know best believe in the peace. My own only two friends in the Crimean Army—Sir Colon3 Campbell and Colonel Sterling make no doubt but that Autumn will see them all home.

The people in the City, a Cabinet Minister told me yesterday, are getting as wild for war with America as they were for war with Russia! but there will be more words to that!4

Your account of the Lann Hall5 splendours amuses me very much— The idea of that quiet little sensible woman6 having to pass her life beside a fountain in a conservatory! That sort of things are well enough when there is an immense Fortune and familiarity with beautiful and luxurious things to pass them perfectly into one's life— But good heavens! Conservatories and fountains cant be brought to much glory with Dr Pringle's resources—or be much in harmony when there, with Dr Pringle's natural tastes—one would think! I dont feel these accessories, increase my desire to visit Mrs Pringle when I go to Scotland—if ever again— We had the Daughter of the Duke of Richmond at the Grange when I was there (Lady Bessbrough)7 and when one wet day I asked her if SHE was going to walk in the conservatory? (it is the 36th part of a mile long) she said “Oh dear no! I put on strong shoes and take an umbrella when it rains; and have a right long walk over the Downs— It is so much pleasanter.”— Mrs Pringle would have been much the better for a few days beside that real Lady—to learn simplicity

Your affectionate /