January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


JWC TO HENRY LARKIN ; 23 August 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590823-JWC-HL-01; CL 35: 176-177


Auchtertool House / Kircaldy [23? August 1859]

My dear Mr Larkin

My “finer sensibilities of the heart”1 have been kept quite in abeyance of late weeks; and all the life in me (you know how much or how little it is!) directed towards keeping me in my senses! If I had been writing to anybody, I would surely have written to you; but I have been holding my peace, wherever I could get it done with impunity; silence being the wet blanket on the chimney which enables it to consume its own smoke!2

Oh Mr Larkin! Catch me ever again taking my holiday in the country along with a man of genius! I saw from the first that instead of a holiday it was going to be the hardest workday I had had for some time! I saw from the first what all that walking as in seven league boots, and galloping like the wild huntsman, and bathing in season and out of season like a merman and all that consumption of “soft food was working together towards!—a bilious crisis bad enough to make a poor wife's hair stand on end! and to make her ask herself twenty times a-day—if it wouldnt be better to tie herself up to her bedpost and be done with it!

We might have been so comfortable here—if he had not already overdone himself at Humbie!—a beautiful airy house, with kind little cousins close by to help us and cheer us— But one's life has been made black and bitter, by this—“accumulation of Bile”!— And as a sick man pleases himself in turning from one side to another in his bed, so shall I please myself in turning from the Country to London.

Mr C has settled to go to Annandale in ten days—where most fortunately there is no accomodation for me. I had intended to make some visits on my own basis, but I didnt then expect to be so worn out in spirits—so now I think I shall go home by myself after having merely rested a few days with my Aunts in Edinr. Most probably I shall take Charlotte to my aunts for a couple of days that she may see Edinr, which her heart is set on seeing— Tho I dont feel sure that all these indulgences are for the girl's good. and then send her home by the Ship she came by. In that case I will write to her mother3 before hand, that somebody may go to meet her on landing—tho’ I dare say she is quite up to finding her own way—after having seen so much of the world! She wants, herself, to “go back by the Princess Royal” having been very happy and hardly sick on the voyage down Mean while I have no trouble to give you on this writing— As I suppose one can learn from a Scotch newspaper better than at London what days and hours the Princess Royal sails4— For myself I mean to go by rail of course—and to stay a night at York to break the journey. It was far too much for me in coming down—

Dont tell Geraldine you have heard from me—above all never tell her I write in bad spirits— She is a person with whom it is prudent to always make the best of oneself— And she is frightfully jealous— If Mr Allen5 wants stamps for the paper give him some my kind compliments to Mrs Southam Assure her I had much more reliance on her than on Mr Gilchrist6

Yours affectionly

Jane W C

kind regards to your Mother7— I have often thought of the poor little niece8

on reflection I will trouble you—to tell me where Charlotte should go and how on leaving the ship—in case nobody came to meet her