January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL ; 30 July 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560730-JWC-MR-01; CL 31: 141-142


Auchtertool Manse / Kircaldy Wednesday [30 July 1856]

My dearest Mrs Russell

I am quite sure of being in Scotland now—for lo and behold! I am here—at Auchtertool! And if ever a poor woman was thankful to see her own land and her own people again, after long and weary exile it is me!

We left London as I predicted we should “quite promiscuously” at the last. Lady Ashburton was going to her Highland shooting quarters and engaged the great big railway carriage called “the Queen's Saloon” to take her to Edinr.1 So having lots of room to spare she offered one day to carry both Mr C and me along with her free of all trouble and expense. And the offer was both too kind and too convenient to be refused.

Only we had “terribly” short time for packing and preparing—

We staid over night at a Hotel2 with the Ashburtons and then they went north, and I came over the water to Auchtertool—Mr C accompanying me; for a twenty four hours stay.

Oh mercy into what freshness and cleanness and kindness I have plumped, here!—out of the smoulder and din and artificiality of London! It has been like plumping down into a bed of rose-leaves with the dew on them! My Cousins are so kind! and the only thought that comes to spoil my enjoyment is that I must go back to London some time! cannot get staid here forever!

This note is only to tell you I am in Scotland dear Mrs Russell—not to tell you when I shall be at Thornhill according to your kind invitation which came so opportunely when I first thought of coming north— They expect me to make a long visit here, and I am so glad to rest quietly a while to recover from the fatigues not of my journey which were inconsiderable but of the London summer. Then I have to visit the dear old Miss Donaldsons at Haddington—and finish of all I have to do and see in and about Edinr before going into Dumfrieshire—as I shall return to London by the Carlisle Road—

Oh my dear Mrs Russell my courage fails me when I think of finding myself at Thornhill—at Crawfurd3—but I will make myself go—and once there I shall be glad I did not reject a pleasure (tho a sad one) for fear of the pain accompanying it— And it will be good to think of after—

Are you going from home anywhere?—for I could of course arrange my movements otherwise if it did not suit you to receive me for a few days some three or four or five weeks hence—and would suit you better sooner— I could go to Dumfrieshire during my visit here instead of after it was concluded— but it would be more convenient not to return to Edinr.

I was very poorly indeed when I left home but I am quite another creature on the top of this Hill—with the sharp fife breezes about me.

Kindest regards to your Husband and Father

Ever dear Mrs Russell / Yours affectionately /

Jane Carlyle