October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 21 July 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570721-JWC-TC-01; CL 32: 193-194


Sunny Bank / Tuesday 21st [July 1857]

Oh my gracious! these posts are too bad! I posted a letter for you on Saturday morning, and there at 5 on Monday you have not got it! and your letter dated Friday reached me only yesterday (Monday) afternoon! That however was the fault of the double address, for it came with a large “Missent to Chelsea” on it.

I thought there would be some sign of life from you today—so put off writing till after my drive and the midday post-time. And now dinner is ordered earlier I find that I may go to see “the flower show” in the Corn Market—So I shall need to be brief—

I have had no more toothache—but two bad nights from other causes. the one produced by the cow of the Establishment, who fell into “a state of mind” and lowed incessantly, close to the house— the other was due to “derangement in my Interior” (as you would say). on the whole, I have been rather getting the conceit taken out of me, the last few days. Especially, the stillness I was figuring myself on seems to have been after all the imaginary stillness of a top in full spin!—(to use an excellent figure of your own) For I find my “finer sensibilities1 as sharp at present as Paget-razors!2 I went to see “old Mrs Goderich”3 last night whom I had not seen since I left Haddington—when she was a handsome woman—and I couldnt help crying myself sick and sore— To be sure she looked more like a disembodied spirit than anything else, and cried herself, in speaking of my Father. One thing I find this dear stupid little place infinitely superior to London in—and that is its old women! Age does not masquerade and make a fool of itself here: but retires into widow's, or such like caps, and black shawls, and fixes its eyes heavenward— I have had a letter from Miss Wynn, still urging Heidelberg on us, and finishing off with suggestions of “endless barking dogs”—and boring of Bunsen!4 Also a letter from Mr Barlow5 overflowing with milk & honey—“How sticky.6

I mean to leave here on Monday or Tuesday of next week—but I dont go straight to Auchtertool— shall stay one night at my aunts7—and another or perhaps two at Preston Cottage Preston Pans8—on the road to Edinr—Mrs Binnie9 is come to live there and wrote to ask me to stay with her a while.

I do hope I shall get some profit out of this travelling; otherwise it would be “very absurd”— I am certainly a little stronger since I left London— My feet and ancles dont swell, as they did in London every night so that I couldnt keep shoes on—and I can walk further—and I am not dead sick—but for the rest the sleeping and the spirits! I am still to be prayed for—

Yours ever /

Jane W Carlyle

Tell Anne to shake my boa and fur jacket & coat and keep them in the air.

The photograph is beautiful if your face weren't black10