July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


JWC TO TC ; 2 August 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580802-JWC-TC-01; CL 34: 91-93


Bay House—Monday [2 August 1858]

All right Dear; only the Post arrangements for Sunday not what you took them to be! no letters received on Sunday; and none sent after nine of the morning. So your letter and books reached me only this morning. and before I had written yesterday, it was become impossible. Miss Baring communicated the fact to Mrs Mildmay1 at breakfast; that there would be no more chances to the Post office. But could you not send to Gosport in case of necessity asked Mrs M, “Well—in a case of life and Death I might, said Miss B but for nothing short of that.”

So—there was no more to be done as I could not have walked to Gosport even if it had been but “a mile and half—” as you say, instead, of 2 and a ½

I got thro my journey much better than could have been expected; having slept, even soundly (mercifully!) just the last night before leaving.— A fat, old, real Lady in the carriage opposite me, paid me “delicate attentions,” lent me her smelling bottle, gave me her nosegay, put her dressing-case under my feet! &c &c having commenced acquaintance by asking “have you been poorly long?”— When she changed trains at Bishopstoke,2 she looked over her shoulder to say, “I sincerely hope you may soon be better Mam”! How differently one's looks impress different people! The man who drove me from the station, (and ‘chaarged’ three and sixpence!) evidently took me for well enough to be going to service at Bay House; for he turned round so soon as we passed thro the gate, to ask “Was he to drive round to the back door?” and then the footman who received me took me for deaf!! coming close up to me, when he had any thing to say, and shouting it—into my ear!! He was the only person I saw for three hours after my arrival! The “Miss Barings out walking” “would I wish to be shown my room?”—“Certainly”—“would I wish any refreshment?”—“Yes—a cup of tea”— It was brought, and then all lapsed into the profoundest silence! I could have fancied a pleasanter reception—at the same time “it was coostom in part”!3—no harm meant!

Having had lots of time to unpack, and dress myself, I was first in the drawing room before dinner— A gentleman came in, whom I liked the look of—but no word passed between us—then Mrs Mildmay came—and finally my Hostess, who assured me she was “delighted to see me”! and so I was installed! Another Lady entered, with Emily,4 whom I recognised as Mrs Frederick Baring, and the Gentleman was Frederick Baring!5 whom I had never seen before, and of whom I had got the most absurdly unjust impression. Both he and his wife are kindly, unaffected, sensible people—he indeed strikes me as quite a superior man— I had a good deal of talk with him yesterday and am sorry he is gone today. His wife went with him—so there is now only Mrs Mildmay and her son6

The railway journey made me so sleepy that I could hardly keep my eyes open till I got to bed! and in bed I slept in a wonderful manner!—my room is the same where I lay three days in a sore throat7— and the boy “Jack” had to bring in my breakfast! But no associations could keep me long awake that night!— certainly if pure air and quiet and wholesome food and freedom from all “cares” but of dressing oneself can cure me; I shall be cured—in a few days!

It is Louisa Baring who is “my sister” that goes with Lord Ashburton to Scotland on Monday; I thought if Emily was going somewhere too, I might be wished to go away in less time than a week, and at all events living on in that sort of fear of overstaying ones welcome is very disagreeable— So I thought I had best go frankly to the end of it at once— I said to Emily when we were walking this morning, that I had meant to stay till the end of this week; but as Miss Baring was leaving the place so soon as Monday, perhaps it would be more convenient that I should go on an earlier day? would she kindly tell me?— Emily protested against my going this week— She and Mrs Mildmay are to be here till the 24th—and I “had better stay over next week” The invitation was given with cordiality enough to make me feel quite at ease for this week anyhow—the rest will disclose it self!— The Baring manner is naturally so shy and so cold that I dare say one may easily underrate the kindness of feeling which accompanies it.

My second nights sleep was not equal to the first, but, still, better than usual—and I feel less sensitive about the throat and breast—indeed I have not coughed a twentieth part, these two evenings, of what I carried on in London, when obliged to talk.

I am going with the others for a drive— So good by

Yours ever /

Jane W Carlyle

You never saw such a house as I left behind me! for upside downedness!—Charlotte looked not unlike crying poor little thing! But her Brother8 would look to her