The Collected Letters, Volume 27


JWC TO HELEN WELSH ; 30 December 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18521230-JWC-HW-01; CL 27: 386-387


Thursday [30 December 1852]

Thanks my dearest Helen—

Your packet came in on Monday morning and was just as welcome then as it would have been on Xmas day— The little scarf does honour to Kircaldy taste—and will suit my scarlet waistcoat (!) charmingly— Yes indeed my dear—I have a waistcoat of scarlet cloth—the same as soldiers coats are made of—and what is stranger still I look quite—I was going to say beautiful but that were too strong even for familiar correspondence—look quite stunning in it! and several of my friends have in consequence named me Robin-red-breast! The only Xmas remembrance I received this year besides yours—for I dont count the Ashburton Turkey and the Redwood Welsh mutton which would come just the same if I were dead and buried, was from dear old Betty1 who sent me in an old band box a large “cak” “like what we made at Haddington, half a dozen mill flour scones, and two red cheeked apples!—that dear soul, god bless her, will never get to think of me as anything but “little Miss Welsh” her “ain bairn”—first I laughed over these things and I cried over them and ultimately I fell to eating the seedcake; the scones and apples being inapplicable to what my neighbour the Laundress next door calls “a morbid state of the stomach” which occasions me to protest against her “innocent cock” damn its innocence! My dear if you see in the Police reports that your cousin has been had up and is sent to Bridewell2 for poisoning or otherwise ridding the world of a vermin of poultry set up next door; you must just console yourself by thinking that I can “live down calumny”—Meanwhile I am going to do a little Sister-of-Charity work, to call on poor Annie Farrer who is doomed to a sofa for three or four months having broken her tendon Achilles— Geraldine has been nearly dead of inflammation of the bowels is still very poorly—

I wish I heard of my Uncle being out again— Maggie evidently tries to give me always the comfortablest accounts of him—but I feel uneasy at her late letters— Oh dear how sad it is that we are all so far apart—

You ask about Miss Mulock I think her so far as I have seen a very good sensible girl—and wonderfully little “affected” considering the life she has had to lead and the flatteries she has received— Her last book Agatha's Husband is the best novel I ha[ve] seen for years—and I have no doubt she will be the first female novelist of our time—her progress is so steady—and her ideas of her own talent so moderate—

Kind love to Walter and Jeannie

Your affectionate / Jane W Carlyle