July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


JWC TO TC ; 4 August 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580804-JWC-TC-01; CL 34: 97-98


Bay House / Wednesday [4 August 1858]

All right Dear! I get along very nicely! only the letter at breakfast is missing! What should have come, in London, at nine o'clock, comes, here, at five p m—an hour too, when one is generally out driving!— But, for the rest, I have not a single thing to complain of; and I agree with the place famously. I get a fair amount of sleep, am much less sensitive about the throat and breast, much less shivery in mind, and unless the glass here is made to flatter, my face is much less haggard and ghastly, I could not but think this morning when I took a last look at myself in my new grey gown, and smart lilac cap, that I looked a decidedly presentable woman—for my years!— Not at all the same “seedy Party1 that Fairie2 was lyrically recognising only a week ago, as “the most decided case of needing to go out of Town, that was ever seen”! To be sure the Howell & James dressmaker,3 seeing the necessities of the case, had padded the new gown in a very artistic manner—“chiefly wadding Mrs Carlyle!”—but she it wasn't, who had added the touch of human colour to my face.

Besides the benefit to my health, I am very well situated in moral respects The only visitors besides myself, (Mrs Mildmay and her Son), whom she calls “Light of our Soul,” are good humoured lively people And the Miss Barings, without seeming to take any pains to be kind to me, contrive to make me feel quite at home. They are not at all dull in their own house, only rational—occupying themselves in some work, or some reading, or some conversation, and expecting the visitors to do likewise. In fact I feel as if I had sat down to rest a while in a little green clearing; after struggling till I was exhausted thro a tangled wood, getting myself scratched and torn! As you did write to Miss Baring before (she has never spoken of that, nor I) perhaps it might be well to send her now a few lines of thanks for making me so comfortable.

I went yesterday with the Mildmays on board The Urgent, in Portsmouth Harbour. Mrs M wished to see the Cabin in which Light of our Soul is about to sail to Malta “The sky was so blue!” and “the sea was so green! and I was not sick,” and it was a good joy!4 Only I got a touch or two of brown paint on the new gown!—

Miss Baring is hoping that if you dont sail “beyond the sunset”5 in that “Yacht,” you may come to Loch Luichart! One of the young Princes (Alfred) lives in Crokers house!6 where a flag flies to tell when he is at home—and he has a little skiff in the bay—and a crew—and a staff of officers— The Queen comes sometimes to breakfast or takes tea with him—at Crokers!

Yours ever

J W Carlyle