The Collected Letters, Volume 26


JWC TO MARY RUSSELL; 29 December 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511229-JWC-MR-01; CL 26: 284-285


The Grange, Hants / Monday [29 December 1851]

My dear Mrs. Russell

I must appeal to your well known kindness to help me out of a little puzzle— I left home on a visit to Lord Ashburtons some four or five weeks ago, intending to go back on the day after Christmas—but some people were to be here this week, strangers to Lady A, and known to me, and I was requested to remain another week to make these young peoples visit more agreeable to them. Thus newyears day finds me unprepared—with any little presents for those whom I wish to remind of me at this season— There is a town (Winchester) eight miles off—but I cannot drive there to procure anythings—having caught a bad cold in the first week of my visit which confined me to the house the first three weeks, as a measure of necessity—and I have gone on limiting my exercise since to a walk in the Conservatory and corridors—as a measure of precaution—cold is so easily retaken—and it is so miserable to be ill in other peoples houses— What I must ask of you, then, is, to be so good as to advance the usual sovereign for me which I will repay with a post office order immediately on my return—, and then you must buy for Margaret and Mary1 a pair of warm stockings each—or some such thing—half a crown each you may lay out for them—and dont say but that I sent the stockings, or whatever it may be, from London— I am sure you will do this for me, without grudging time and trouble— I hear very often from Liverpool since that serious illness of my Uncle's— At present he is pretty well—but his life seems to hang by a mere thread now—every little agitation—such as “listening for the guns of the American Steamer, bringing a letter from Johnnie”—produces threatening of the same sort of attack—and another attack will probably be fatal— I wish very much to go and see him once more—and must try to manage it early in the spring— Perhaps I may be in Scotland again next year—and surely you will come and see me somewhere if I should not be able to find courage to go to Thornhill— A young friend of mine married the Earl of Airlie last Autumn and asks me me2 to visit her at Cortachy Castle3—and there is an old Gentleman, called The Bear in London society, who has a beautiful place twenty miles beyond Fort Augustus who has also invited us4— And there I should really like to go—to see again the places where I went with my Mother about thirty years ago—

We have had a deal of company here since I came— Macauley amongst the rest, whom I had never before seen at any length— I used to think my Husband the most copious talker, when he liked, that was anywhere to be fallen in with—but Macauley beats him hollow!—in quantity

You need not take the trouble of writing till after I have returned and sent the money—but then you must write me all about yourself and about dear old Thornhill— Kindest regards to your Father and Husband

Ever yours dear Mrs Russell affectionately

Jane W Carlyle