January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 29 July 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560729-JWC-TC-01; CL 31: 138-140


Auchtertool / 29th July [1856]

I am glad that all has gone so well with you hitherto. “A good beginning makes a good-ending,”1 and we have both begun more prosperously than could have been anticipated. Even the lost clogs are quite well supplied, I find, by the things I bought, and which must have been made originally for the wife of Goliath of Gath2—and they have got me a new box of Sedlitz powders, and new cloroform from Kircaldy.3 I have needed to take neither, “thankS God”!4 For the rest all goes well with me also; only no sea bathing has been practicable yet nor does it look as if it would ever be practicable here; the dog-cart having many other more important demands on it, as well as old John5 and Walter himself. There are preachings going on per ogni done6 just now, at which Walter has to assist. Last Sunday his place was supplied at his own Church by a grey-headed Preacher called Douglas,7 who flattered himself he had been at school with you—but the Thomas Carlyle he had been schoolfellow to “had redish hair and a sharp face.”8

I am never done thanking heaven for the freshness and cleanness and quietness into which I have plumped down, and for my astonishingly comfortable bed! and the astonishing kindness and good humour that wraps me about like an eider-down quilt! It is next thing to being at Templand9—I could almost immitate poor old “Kelty” and fall to writing “A Visit to my Relations in the Country,” followed up by “Waters of Comfort” in verse!10 Of course I am sad at times—at all times sad as death—but that I am used to, and dont mind. And for the sickness it is quite gone since the morning I left Chelsea, and I am as content, for the time being, as it were possible for me to be anywhere, on the face of this changeful Earth.

Of course I will never be “within wind” of Scotsbrig without going to see Jamie and Isabella who have treated me always with the utmost kindness; If I had been their own Sister they could not have made me feel more at home than I have always done under their roof. I never forget kindness—nor—alas! unkindness either!

My plans are still in the vague. I feel no haste to “see my way.11 My cousins seem to expect and wish me to make a long visit. And I am not at all likely to take to feeling dull nowadays, beside people who really care for me, and have true hearts, and plenty of natural sense. Besides I have two invitations to dinner for next week!! And have made acquaintance with several intelligent people!!—

Meanwhile I have written to my Aunt Elizabeth, who I believe is alone just now at Morningside,12 and also to Miss Donaldson13 to announce my proximity; and it will depend on their answers whether I pay them a few hours visit from here, or a longer one—when I leave here altogether.

I hear from Geraldine that Ann14 has got the kitchen white-washed and yellow-washed and that poor little Nero is no redder on the back but monstrously dirty.

I shall write to Ann to day that he must positively be washed twice a week as usual— There was no other news from London except that Miss Wynne's15 favorite dog had got its leg broken by the kick of a horse and they had been obliged to poison it! Heaven avert such accidents from Nero!

Give my kind regards to Mary16 and the rest. I am sure you will want for no attention she can show you; or she must be greatly changed from the kind soul I knew her at Craig o'putta

faithfully yours /

Jane W C

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