candlestick

July-December 1858


The Collected Letters, Volume 34


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JWC TO TC ; 29 August 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580829-JWC-TC-01; CL 34: 163-165


JWC TO TC

Lann Hall Tynron Dumfrieshire Sunday[29 August 1858]

I hope, Dear, that you have stood it as well as I have! and that I shall hear to that effect tomorrow— There may be a letter now lying for me perhaps: but none are delivered here on Sundays.

I left London at nine on Friday morning—in a quiet and cheerful frame of mind—having arrived at the station, without hurry, a quarter of an hour before the time, accompanied by Charlotte and Nero (who would come to see me off) and met, on descending from the cab, by first, George Cook and then Larkin (!) with a fresh gathered bouquet— The former had offered his services before I left Bay House—but Larkin was quite unexpected. Dr Carlyle likewise had offered to see me off “if I had nobody”; but I was charmed to say I had somebody! for he was “very much detached”1 descending on one “like not one crow, but a whole flight of crows”2—asking distracted questions and making equally distracted suggestions, all with a little air of ineffable selfcomplacency enough to drive Job to despair. Especially he secretly maddened me with repeated offers to let me know your movements—and when I said I hoped to hear direct from yourself—he would not take that in for more than a moment, “Oh! he will write to you? (!!)—Yes! Yes! I suppose he will!—Yes—PERHAPS HE MAY! but I shall hear first—I dare say I shall hear first—I dare say you havn't given him the right address—“Lann Hall Tynron Dumfries!—very wrong to put only Tynron”—“(But my letters to that address have always gone.)”—“Yes—Yes—perhaps—I dare say—but its a wrong thing not to put Thornhill—depend upon it a very wrong thing”!—Oh what a plague of a man! Each time I saw him, he left me with the feeling of having been whipt with a flail!— Imagine his suggesting finally that Mrs Pringle would miss me at Carlisle! and “what did I think I would do then?—” What I did at the moment was to thank Heaven that “a previous engagement &c”— He would have thrown me into a fever before ever I had started! “Ah Dio amo gli uomoni tranquili [Ah God, I love quiet men]!”—

Mrs Pringle did not miss me—before I was well out of the carriage an arm was put quietly round my neck and my face brought close to her kindly smiling one—a waiter stood behind her to take immediate charge of my luggage and in two minutes I was in a beautiful quiet sitting room of the County Hotel—and she was putting tea in the teapot—and when I had put off my bonnet and shawl in the adjoining bedroom there was brandered chicken ham &c &c all ready for me—my bed had been so aired that the sheets were actually warm. I slept wonderfully considering the squealing of Trains—hardly awoke with them!— I had been sleeping very ill at Cheyne Row—and was very thankful I had made up my mind to be off again— Next morning when I was thinking about getting up—a white child-looking figure glided in thro the door opening into Mrs Pringles bedroom and sat down on her knees, at my bed side in night clothes and fell to kissing me! She is a very curious woman this Mrs Pringle—so enthusiastic and so calm, almost to outward chillness! so cultivated in mind and so deficient in all accomplishment—so devout and so liberal— She will serve me to study for all the time I stay— We went after breakfast to see the Cathedral3 and heard some beautiful music; service being going on— It was market-day and I looked all about to see if Jamie4 might perchance turn up—but without result! We then drove to a place in the neighbourhood, where a Dr Lonsdale5 “retired” from practice, “on” a woman of large fortune, lives—he is a very old friend of Mrs P's, and a most enthusiastic admirer of yours but I think it is your early revolutionary phase that he has sworn himself to— He told me of a wealthy paper-maker6—who had read two “papers on you” at the Mechanic Institute7—which were “really clever and were extremely well received”— They would have given us Lunch there, but were restricted to wine and grapes Mrs P choosing to lunch at the Hotel rather— At three, after a modest dinner we took the train for Thornhill— (It goes without telling that I was not allowed to expend a sixpence in Carlisle!)— I looked out with interest at Cummertrees—but absolutely not a living being was to be seen—again at Dumfries I looked out—but knew only Lauderdale Maitland8 who came into our carriage— Every step of the road after was miserable to me—and in spite of having been there 2 years ago. I was like to choke when I got out at the Thornhill Station, and drove off in another direction than Templand9— Mrs P kindly refrained from speaking a word to me—till we got home—where a good fire in my beautiful bedroom—and a comfortable “high tea” cheered me up— I slept very well and feel not worse but better for my journey—tho it is raining today—and cold enough to be glad of the fire in the Library— No bother about Church— Mrs P has not gone herself— I must send this unpaid as I am not sure of its reaching you—and dont know what stamps to put on it—and in fact have only a few penny ones10

I sent to Chapman to send me the book as soon as he had the maps and index ready11 John had got himself a copy without— Surely I shall get a letter tomorrow—by the way it is not Land but Lann this place12

Yours affly /

JWC