October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 29 July 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570729-JWC-TC-01; CL 32: 207-208


Craigenvilla Wednesday [29 July 1857]

Oh my Dear, my Dear! “ye maun just excuse us the day”;1 for with all the good will in the world I cannot make you “a suitable return”—just “to let you know I am in being—this is intended for a sign”2—for a deliberate letter you must wait till I get to Auchtertool; and reenter in possession of my little writing desk and of my own soul—to a certain extent—

Since Monday morning when I fell to packing up at Sunny Bank, I have been feeling like a whipt top! In the hurry of gathering my bits of things together, I was summoned down stairs some half dozen times, to different visitors, who had chosen that most inopportune moment to show their civility At last I was off—spared plenty of tears by my wild promise to stop there again on the way back— The short journey to Tranent3 was complicated by 35 minutes waiting at Longniddry station4 where one is always bitten all over by that accursed “new insect” the “harvest-bug”5— At Tranent Station Mrs Binnie was waiting for me and took me home to—a dinner party! young Ladies in white muslin looped with artificial flowers &c &c— Oh such a bore! and all day I have been ill of headach! Next morning I rose to begin ameabilities again—a good many of the guests being staying at the house— Then at eleven I was whirled off to Edinr—such bother with my luggage which had to be left at the different offices— On arriving in Edinr the first thing I did—before setting foot in any house was to rush off in search of a pocket comb for you6—(observe I had not then got your letter) and you cant think how many shops I was in before I could find one that I thought you would like,— I took it into a book shop bought a slip of writing paper to entitle me to ask for pen and wax, (I could not write I was all so shaky) and made it up—then carried it to the General Post office where I met John Stodart,7 who walked with me to near Bettys8— I took curds and cream at Bettys—then on per cab to Morningside—where I was most warmly welcomed and found your letter. I was so provoked that you there told me to get a comb!—for my packet would then arrive as the mere fulfillment of a commission instead of a spontaneous “delicate attention” which it was— I am excessively vexed about your “feverishness”—for I know it is just that you are taking the opportunity of being your own entire master to sit up at nights and work at odd hours and play the devil with yourself— I must come back if I dont get better accounts of you—

I am to start at half past eleven to catch the mid day boat to Burnt-Island9— and the morning is already gone in breakfast “Prayers” &c &c—

I write this on a hard table in my bedroom—with my head in a whirl of anticipation of—sea-sickness &c &c

The hedgehog ran away!10 Oh please do take care of yourself—and write me another as long nice letter— I will speak of the proofs nextime—

Yours in haste

Jane W Carlyle