January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


TC TO LADY SANDWICH ; 23 July 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590723-TC-LS-01; CL 35: 156-158


Humbie Farm, Aberdour, Fife, 23 july, 1859—

Dear Lady Sandwich,

My wife wrote to you; but I think there has no return yet come; and now I am getting rather impatient to hear some small bulletin from you, all being so silent on that side of the world to us here. Please, one little word, to say how you are, and whether London stands where it did.

We have been steady here, ever since quitting your neighbourhood; and, once the various adjustments and preliminaries were got thro', we have been doing tolerably well,—or better than tolerably one of us, for I (an industrious bather &c) persuade myself I am getting daily benefit out of the free air, the idleness, the solitude, and the other fine elements round us here. The poor wife, I always hope, prospers a little too; tho’ it is evidently in a fainter degree: she has (not without difficulty) acquired a respectable Ass (called “Cuddie” in these localities), and rides on him, very moderately, when the weather is inviting: she is nearly incapable of walking, especially in these steep paths; and will not ride, either led by me on my own most trustworthy quadruped or driven in any vehicle by such a Jehu,1—or in short in any way but on her own independent Cuddie. Unfortunately she has caught some whiff of cold in the late damp weather we have had, and does not go out at all: so that, for the last two days, she is rather below par. We depend much on the sun in this establishment! It is, in all weathers, one of the prettiest scenes the eye can look on; Edinburgh, and the Mountains and Islands, and the seas and woods, lying under one's windows, far and wide (Edinburgh 10 miles off, to south-east, with its sky-lights glancing on you): but in wet weather, all gets slippery, slopy,2 the woods an avoidable object, and the prevalence of mud for a short time is extreme!— We have two Parks, no fewer, to stroll in, very pretty both, and wooded to the sea-brink: a Lord Moray's, whh is carefully kept (tho’ the Mansion, most of it, is lately burnt);3 and Lord Morton's, still more agreeable, being all run to a wild state, the House a mere ruin long since.4

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Jones' Views of the Seats of … Noblemen and Gentlemen in
England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland

Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland


In the village, Aberdour, whh stands low down nestled between woody mountains & the sea, there are quantities of visitors, Edinburgh snobs mainly as I judge, with whom we have nothing to do: being rustics we, and living on our own hilltop, half a mile off.— In the way of work I do nothing at all, or next to nothing; but do not want for confused thoughts, and multifarious remembrances, as I saunter about. We have never heard whether Ld Ashburton arrived or not! Nobody has written, nor have we.5 Adieu, dear Lady Sandwich; take care of yourself till we meet again. Yours ever T. Carlyle