July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO JWC ; 30 July 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580730-TC-JWC-01; CL 34: 85-86


The Gill, 30 july, 1858—

That wretched “Passport”: never mind it farther, dear little soul! Surely you have enough to mind, without that: besides it is of so little real importance (easy to replace by some substitute or other); and I cannot the least direct you where my keys are! The keys that open all the Desk are in the upper (thin) drawer of it; and the key of that drawer,—it used to lie in the little drawer where you found the dog-whistles; where I put it, on leaving, is totally unknown at this moment! Probably in the top drawer of the “Pedestal Chest of Drawers,”—the key of which, if Good1 have it not, is gone out of sight from the present witness.— Never mind it, Dear; never mind it; I am myself to blame for any possibility of inconvenience there may be.

You do not tell me what train: but I will guess it may be about 1 p.m.—not later I hope, lest you fall into the breezes of the evening sea. That cough, that cough! Yes, it cannot too soon be got under. But for the rest, keep your heart, don't flurry your poor nerves: Miss B.2 I calculate, is a solid good Lady, and will know how to welcome the like of you without fuss. And for God's sake, be quiet, you, and let things take their course. You used to have an excellt talent (superior even to Darwin's) of sitting silent3 when nothing turned up worth effort of saying. Do that now I entreat and command you. “Dinna gang to dad t'ysel' a' abreed!”— In short, Dearest, keep up your little heart; and fear nothing. There is, out of your own agitated little self, nothing to be feared! Glück auf dem Weg [Good luck on your journey], then;—and let me hear a good bulletin, if you can.

I burnt Isabella's Letter at once, as was fit:4 alas, one sees the Devil is busy everywhere! I now partly understand a phenomenon of yesterday: the sudden advent of John, while I was at dinner; on the road to Dumfries, whither he went at 8 p.m.,—and whence he is returned this day abt 1 (an hour ago) accompanied with the whole Aitken Household, Jean and her two Jameses—all drawn by the little Newfoundld Dog (Pony “Matthew”). I have just left them till I write this Note; my Article & Silesian concern,5 all thrown aback for the time being! I suppose he may have been consulting Jean, about some eligible Housekeeper; about the taking of Cressfield House for himself; about &c &c. Or, alas, perhaps not consulting; perhaps only dissipating his vexation by a tumble thro' the open air. I heartily desire, on his own acct most of all, that he cd be led or driven into taking up house: but can he? Poor soul, I have a real sorrow abt him too.— But to the road, thou; and Courage, my own little Dear!— I will write again quàm primùm [as soon as possible]. T. C.

A decidedly rather cool procedure, that of Lawrence;6 lucky I so escaped his “best Port.”