July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


JWC TO TC ; 10 September 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580910-JWC-TC-01; CL 34: 175-178


Lann Hall Friday 9th [10 September 1858]

“Blessed are they who do not hope &c”1

Yesterday's delivery was the only one all the week that I did not wait for with a certain impatience. Yesterday, when “the tutor”2 returned from the post, I was not at the pains to come down to hear his tiresome “nothing for YOU Mrs Carlyle”! so your letter was welcomed with the undeserved honours of a pleasant surprise! I was sure of it! knew, without being told, that the bathe in the Baltic had given you cold. You ought to know by this time, that just the more you feel drawn to do these rash things, the more you should keep yourself from doing them! God grant this wild-huntsman rush over germany dont spoil all the good you got in quiet Annandale! But you had to do it! Would not have finished your Book in peace without having done it!

Larkin writes to me yesterday that he has every hope now that the Map of Prussia with its old and its present boundaries3 “will turn out better than he expected”— He had had to make a great rush at the British Museum, not knowing till he went there on the 28th that the Museum would be closed for the first week of September.4

I saw Eaves about the horse before I left, but he could not go out to Richmond till the following Sunday, when he got a good ducking to settle his account for the Sunday-breaking. He had no difficulty in finding the Horse, who was “in capital condition,” and “as nimble on his feet as the Irishman's flea” He (the horse) has no end of pasture to roam about in, and has “found a friend”—formed a romantic attachment to another horse of his own way of thinking; they are always together, both in their feeding and their playing and evidently enjoy their liberty and their abundant grass. So you may be quiet happy in your mind as far as the blessed horse is concerned. Charlotte is behaving herself quite well so far as I can ascertain— The sparrow whom I did design to train to flying and “eventually” to flying away, died before my return from Bay House—but the poor little canary has recovered health and feathers under the nursing of Mrs Huxham—in whose “bosom it spends several hours every day,”—I should think not too happy hours!—

To conclude about the live stock; I am as well here as I was at Bay House, tho' terribly off for weather!5 But a carriage that can be close or open as one likes, with a man and pair of horses that are not considered, nor consider themselves, “either sugar or salt,” that they should mind the rain, is an immense compensation for the wet days I have had—

For the rest, one's life here is remarkably cheerful. It is the very loveliest glen, I ever saw, endeared to me by old associations. The people in it are all remarkably prosperous, and were always hospitable. They are glad to see me again and I am glad to see them. The practical result has been a perfect explosion of Lunches, to my honour and glory, all over Glenshinnel6 and Glencairne!7 I would not be out after sunset, so these Lunches are early dinner-parties. and Oh my! “What ornament and grandeur”8—“what “suet and plooms!9 I assure you, not at the Grange itself, have I seen better food or better wine—(Champagne!!) than these big Farmers—or little Lairds bring forth to me here “in a Lordly dish”!10 And it is so much heartier a sort of hospitality than one finds in the South! It makes me feel younger by twenty years! I catch myself laughing sometimes with a voice that startles myself, as being not like my own but my Mother's—who was always so much gayer than I— Indeed it is good for me to be here! and I wish my visit had come off while you were at the Gill that you might have tried it too. Better material accommodation you could have no where and Mrs Pringle has tact and consideration enough, I think, to have suited the moral atmosphere to the shorn——Lamb11(?)

The question is now about your journey home? Are you going straight to London? If that is decidedly the most convenient way for yourself; of course I should not so much as suggest your returning by here—and so far as my own journey back is concerned I should rather prefer doing it “all to myself” (as the children say) perhaps I might choose to stay a night at Liverpool: at all events I might need to have a window shut when you preferred it open12— But if you liked to return by Leith and to be a little longer in the country, under easy circumstances, you could not do better than stop here—about your welcome you may feel the most exuberant assurance.

If you decide to go straight to London, I should know as soon as possible: that I may shape my own course accordingly— For I should not like your being done for by only Charlotte——

I have a week's visit promised to Mrs Russell—and I also undertook to stay a few days at Scotsbrig in case Dr C and his “poor Boys” lingered on at London till the end of my time here. I will see Mary and Jane13 on my road back. But I need to give myself as little rough travelling as possible not to be going and catching a cold after all these mighty efforts to strengthen myself——

The Donaldsons and my Aunts14 wont believe I can mean to go away without seeing them— To see the dear old women at Sunny Bank once more I would gladly incur the expence of the journey there—but that is the least of it—the “tasking” myself which Betty15 so strongly protests against must not be ventured—

We have had just one perfectly fair beautiful day since I came (last Wednesday) and I spent it in an excursion to———Craigenputtoch! we took some dinner with us and eat it in the dining room!—with the most ghastly sensations on my part!— The Tenant16 was at Dumfries—the Wife very civil—the children confiding to a degree!— Their Father “had wine”!— “whiles took ower muckle”——We called on the Austins and Corsons17 nobody knew me!—could guess me!— Peter18 said I micht hae spoket to him seven year, and he wouldna hae found me oot”! Peter privately stroked my pelisse and asked Mrs Pringle “that'll be real silk am thinking?”—“Satin” said she “Aye” said Peter “nae doot nae doot—the best o't!” Rob Austin almost crunched my fingers in his big hand and that—was the only pleasant thing that befell me at my “ancestral home”! Ach Gott!

I wrote already to Dresden

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Mrs Pringle has been trying to write you a note pressing you to come here on your way back—and now she comes with her face like to burst—asking me to “say it all for her” she is so afraid to write to you!19