1824- 1825

The Collected Letters, Volume 3


JBW TO ELIZA STODART; 13 August 1825; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18250813-JBW-EA-01; CL 3:370-371.


Templand 13th August [1825]

My dear, dear, angel Bessy! (don't be frightened, there is no commission in the wind.) We were grieved to hear of your indisposition; and, as people have always most sympathy for the inflictions to which themselves are liable, we pitied you the more that your illness proceeded from bile. We hope however that the Enemy is fairly overcome and if so, my Dear, you may sing a te Deum for your deliverance. Think of me! I have been engaged in this same warfare, now, several years; and have never been able to work out more than a few weeks of truce— Eh bien! “Ye shall become perfect thro' sufferings” says the Scripture.1 A wholesome, comfortable doctrine for a bilious Subject!

My life is passing on here in the usual alternating manner. One day, I am ill, and in bed; the next, in full puff at an entertainment— On the whole, however I feel myself better since I came here, than I had done for several months— What pains me most is that between headach[e]s and visiting my education is completely at a stand. Every day my conscience reminds me of this in no gentle terms; calls me fool, and idler and all sorts of injurious appellations: but I try to drown its clamours with p[r]omises of better behaviour in the time to come— And after all I am not very blameable on the score of idleness: it is in vain to think of toiling up the steep of knowledge with a burden of sickness on one's shoulders; and hardly less difficult for a young person with my attractions to lead the life of a recluse however much I wish it— I dined at a club dinner the other day consisting (not the dinner but the company) of all the Justices—(Just-Asses)—in the district, with their wives— Mrs Hunter Arundel of Barjarg was among them, a d—d odd Woman. She drank a bottle of wine during dinner and was never a whit the worse for it. Speaking of d—d odd— James Baillie's match is entirely broken off; and himself on the road to Scotland!! At least so says Captain Gordon a friend of his Sister's, and wholesale Gossip in these parts— There was a letter from the dear gentleman to my Mother since we saw you—but it was after the manner of the Lacedomnians2 & not a word of his affair in it from beginning to end— Your Uncle will be glad to see some prospect of fingering the eighteen pounds— O James! James. “vos discours ressemblant à des cyprès; ils sont grands et hauts mais ne portent point des fruits” [“your speeches are like cypress trees; they are grand and high but bear no fruit”].

I purpose going to Dumfries in a week or two, on a visit to my Grandmot[her] and afterwards into—the lower district of Annandale—to see——the country— How is Bradie? quite reestablished I hope—it is matter of great regret here that you and he cannot or will not come— And how is your half of the child?3 Write to me vite vite [quickly, quickly]— The box arrived but alas! not in safety[;] in spite of your careful packing it was damaged in a great many places—but n'importe! I should be but a young apprentice in philosophy if such things disturbed my equanimity much— I cannot tell you what has made me write so hurriedly and so ill for I am not at all pressed for time— A restlessness in my mi[nd] I suppose— Love and a kiss to your Uncle

I am ever— / Your faithfully / attached friend /

Jane B Welsh