January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 7 August 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560807-JWC-TC-01; CL 31: 158-159


Craigen Villa Edinr / Thursday [7 August 1856]—

Heaven and Earth! I have been watching these three days for an hour's quiet to write in, but one would say, there had been a conspiracy of ‘things in general’ to prevent me—The day before yesterday I bathed at Kircaldy and walked to Auchtertool after—and the fatigue was too much—and I was up to nothing but lying on the sofa all the evening which delayed my packing till yesterday morning, and tho I got up at half after six to leave time for a letter, it was not till ‘prayers’ were over and the breakfast ready that I was ready to sit down—

Immedialy1 after breakfast the dogcart came round to take me to the half after eleven boat—I tried writing again at Betty's2—but at Bettys I could do nothing effectually except cry—She was so glad over me so mother-like—and that poor dying lad!3 and her white worn face, and compressed lips; and the smile far more touching than any tears!—Oh it was so dreadfully sad! and yet her kisses and her loving words about my Father and Mother made me so happy—Then when I got here to tea—my Aunts were so unexpectedly tender and glad over me—I tried writing again in my bedroom but it was lighted with gass—and I found I could not put the light out too soon to save my life—

This morning again I got up at half past six to write to you—but I had paper and—and no pen—so went to bed again and lay till half past seven amidst a tearing rumble of carts that seemed to drive over my brain— — I go home4 tonight and shall be there till Monday or Tuesday (address Sunny Bank till Monday if you write) then back here—and I fear I cant avoid staying a few days next time—in spite of the sleeping difficulties—but they are so kind my aunts—by the end of the next week anyhow I hope to get to Auchtertool again I will write from Haddington—this steel pen is too dreadful