October 1831-September 1833

The Collected Letters, Volume 6


JWC TO ELIZA STODART; 4 December 1832; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18321204-JWC-EA-01; CL 6:278-280.


Craigenputtoch / Tuesday night [4 December 1832]

My dear Eliza

We returned from Templand last week; our presence there being no longer needful; but rather disconvenient every bed being occupied with newcomers, and the sofa to boot,— Want of consideration in the male half of the creation is no novelty; so one need not wonder at these individual men: but it is a pity that my Mother should have her hands full of that sort of occupation, when it were so much better for her that she were folding them to sleep. Mercifully there has been no return of her nervous disorder; but she is bilious and weak, and likely to be worse, when the excit[e]ment from so many causes ceases to act on her. My Uncle and Alick spoke of leaving a day or two ago— Walter and a Mr Grieve from Glasgow1 (a recent acquaintance whom I saw on this occasion for the first time with small emotion of thankfulness) were expected to go sooner: but as neither my Mother nor Isabella MacTurk (who also is still there) wrote on Wednesday according to promise, to tell us when we should return; I conclude them to be all still there; and till I hear to the contrary I shall mind my affairs at home, which a three weeks absence, and a change of Servants in the interim had brought into extreme disorder. The Edinr project has of course been lying quite dormant in the midst of all this distress and serious business— It is only within the last two days we are returned to the consideration of it. Carlyle thinks we should remove about the time when the Christmas dinners are eaten and done. Will you write and tell me what success has attended your house-hunting? whether Miss Frasers be still vacant—how soon one could enter after fixing? As my experience of furnished houses is very slight, it would also throw considerable light on my packing operations if you would give me a sort of abridged history of the goods and chattels!—(not of each individual house but the likeliest among them) For instance should I need to bring bed & table linen—spoons &c? Have you remarked any pressing dearth in the crokery [sic] line? Knives and forks—table covers and such like items were easily transported— Is there any thing on the mantle piece? that is a leading question silly as it may look—for the answer will give me a sort of notion of the character of the whole appartment I have often seen meagre cold looking places that a warm table-cover—a box or two—a few trifles tastefully arranged could in a few seconds at almost no cost make plenished and home looking—

Would to Heaven the little flitting [moving] were well over “At my time of life and with my cough, going up to Jerusalem2 is an enterprise of weight and danger.

My Mother will surely come to us in the course of the winter, and resume her old connexions; I have not made the proposal yet—one I did make—to come hither for a week or two—being violently waved aside, in a way w[hich] showed me, she should have leisure left her to collect herself, before any proposed change would meet a favourable hearing— Her plans are unknown to me and I believe uncertain to herself— It seems likely she will give up the farm, retaining the House the garden and a park [field]—for she has gained nothing by farming hitherto except annoyance— A House of her own she should always have somewhere—however little she may occupy it—and as well there as elsewhere—WE live here very comfortably, keeping one maid a boy two horses and a cow on considerably less money than her yearly income—and Templand is a cheaper place for living than this being nearer all necessary things— But my Uncle will probably get some arrangement set on foot before he leaves. Her present affliction is likely to be severely felt—and just for the very reason that will make it seem to others comparitively light—the long period of confin[e]ment fatigue and anxiety by which it was preceeded— She now feels that dreariest of all feelings—that her occupation is gone3—that her last evident duty in the world HAS BEEN fu[l]filled— But so long as one lives new duties show themselves and by and by she will find something to exercise her unwearied activity, and feelings of kindness— In the mean time God help her and all of us

You received a letter from me with the birds? in which I expressed my predilection for Miss Frasers house— If not you will hardly see the propriety of the present— [God] bless you dear My love to Brady in which my Husband joins—

Your affectionate / Jane W Welsh4