January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


JWC TO ISABELLA CARLYLE ; 9 September 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560909-JWC-IC-01; CL 31: 219-220


Mr Fergus's / Kircaldy / Tuesday [9 September 1856]

My dear Isabella

Mr Carlyle did not fail to give me your kind message—and even without any message from you; I know your and Jamies kindness for me too well, for feeling any misgivings about my welcome at Scotsbrig. It is a place I always go to with the feeling of going home—unless indeed when Dr Carlyle is there, “taking (like the Midges at Craig o'putta) the hale yearth to himself.”1 I hoped to have gone to you in great force this time—I was so well and strong in the first weeks of my stay at Auchtertool—But it was too good to last—a great cold caught at Church (no less!) came to remind me like the Annan Baillie that I “was but a woman.”2 And my last three weeks have been quite wretched, so that all fancy for travelling and visiting has gone out of me.

I was to have spent “a few days at Stirling” with a Major Davidson from dear old Haddington and some more days at Glasgow with my cousin Jeanie before going to you and to Mrs Russell at Thornhill But these horrid snifters, and bothers in my head and stomach have made me throw over all that my heart was not in—and now I am intending to go from here straight to Scotsbrig and Carlyle said Jeamie would drive me to Cummertrees to catch the railway when I was ready to go to Thornhill—and so I should get Glasgow “well let alone.”

I am staying with Miss Fergus just now, and dont mean to go back to Auchtertool except for one night before leaving this part of the Country. It is best I should stay quite quiet for some days to try to get rid of this cold or bilious fit—The house is very large here, and I am no trouble; indeed it quite suits Miss Fergus's philanthropic turn of mind to have me sick on her hands. I am sure she likes me better when I need her kindness than when I am independent of it! At Auchtertool they have Babies now, besides one Invalid already—and tho' Maggie is an Angel of goodness one wouldn't impose on her too far.

My plan is, to start from here on Monday or Tuesday next week—to stay one night with my Aunts to take leave of them, and of dear Betty—and then go on to Scotsbrig next day (Tuesday or Wednesday—) I will write again when I can say positively which day.

Mr Carlyle arrived here on Saturday—like a man just escaped out of Bedlam—in such a way about his Highland expedition as if it had been a mission forced on him to convert the Heathen in Central Africa—He staid here Saturday night and a dog having barked,3 he started off to Auchtertool on Sunday forenoon where he slept that night, and we saw no more of him till an hour before he was to take the railway again next day!!—

I do hope I shall be well to “enjoy” my visit to you as William Graham used to “en-j-oy”4 his breakfast—

A kiss to Jamie / Yours affectionately

Jane W Carlyle