January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


JWC TO ROBERT S. TAIT ; 12 August 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560812-JWC-RST-01; CL 31: 170-171


Sunny Bank / Haddington [12 August 1856]

My dear Mr Tait

I do think you are the kindest man alive! Thank you with all my heart for the beautiful little photographs— If you only knew how they are valued here!

Your letter was forwarded from Auchtertool to this place, my little Birthplace, god bless it!— I came to stay three days, but the three days had to turn to ten—the dear old ladies I am staying with cried so when I spoke of going yesterday. Oh how I should like to show you these old Ladies! the one eighty the other eightysix—and they are as clear minded and warmhearted as ever they were in their lives—and look so pretty! like the good Fairies they used to tell me about when I sat on their knees a pretty while ago!— and their house reminds me of the “beautiful house among trees” that the “good boy”—who “sent to poos his fortune [”]1 (in their Tales) arrived at always—and where in all comfort and stillness he found “every thing on earth that he needed”2— Oh Mr Tait! these dear old women are a rehabilitation of old age for one after the horrid guys in London!—after having been familiarized with that disreputable old age that dies its hair and bares its neck and arms and seeks “distraction” at Parties!

Do you know I think dear old Scotland so much better in every respect than “the south” that I should like to come back to it for altogether—and have you and two or three more London people come to stay with me in the summer—

What on earth does one get by living amidst all that dirt and dearth and din but sick nerves and weariness and vexation of spirit!

I was grown as cold and hard as a stone, with continued pressure of ill health and worry— Now I am so soft that I fall a-crying twenty times aday with sheer gratitude to everybody for making so much of me!!

Yours affly /

Jane W Carlyle