August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


JWC TO TC ; 18 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570818-JWC-TC-01; CL 33: 36-38



Tuesday [18 August 1857]

Perhaps a letter from you may be just at hand Dear Indeed I am sure there is! But if I wait for its coming, there mayn't be leisure to write after; as I have engaged to make, today, a series of calls in this quarter.

Mrs Thomas Graham (Agnes Veitch)1 Major Davidson,2 The Miss Dunlops (nieces of Mrs Rennie of Phantasy)3 Agusta Stodart4 are all planted in ‘Willas’ within sight of this one. Besides Mrs Paterson, for whom I will leave a card5—she is as most likely at Linlathen6—and poor Mrs Samuel Brown,7 whom I will call for, tho' I never saw her because these Browns and Little Johns have such a reverence for both you and my Father.

As I was driving out here the night of my arrival; my cab was met by an open carriage with two Ladies in it; one of them had her face turned full on me—a tiny face, sharp as a razor with large dark eyes, set off by hair as white as snow, and plenty of it. The thought passed thro' my mind “can that possibly be Agnes Veitch? she lives hereabouts, and they said her hair was quite white.” At the same instant the thought was passing through the other's mind, “can that possibly be Jeanie Welsh? there was luggage on the cab and they said she was grown so thin.” Next day she asked her brother, Colonel Hamilton8 to come with her to the address I had given him a fortnight before, to see if I was come and if that was me. Both of us at meeting exclaimed the same words: “and it really was you I saw!”—“I can't understand it she said: “you seem to me grown so—tall!” It was she who was crined into a little fairy! Dear! Dear! “Forty years maks a great odds on a girl!”9 I observe the only people who recognise one readily, are the men who were in love with one. John Stodart looks always as if he not only knew me at any distance, but was meeting me by appointment! Yesterday James Seaton10 who had not seen me since I was Miss Welsh, after one hesitating glance, came up to me in Princes Street and spoke— He seemed so pleased that I on my side recognised him; and I did not tell him, it was because he had grown into his own Father11 whom I knew to be dead.

I had a letter from Geraldine yesterday morning doing her best to undo your considerate kindness, and make me uncomfortable— Ann was “still so weak and far from well”!—even “Nero poor dear! was looking so thin!”— You, indeed she represented as well—and in the best humour and spirits—dwelling on it, as if she wished to ‘make me sensible’ how much happier you were for having me out of your way! Her letter rasped me all over like a file. and I told her so, and begged her not to write about my home affairs in future. She said she had prescribed camomile tea for Ann. Will you tell Ann with my kind regards that I particularly desire she will not take anything Miss Jewsbury prescribes,—for she knows nothing whatever of medecine and would poison a cat if she had her way. But I dare say Ann's good sense will make this caution needless

I mean to go to Sunny Bank on Saturday. Not that I am not doing better here; but I begin to weary of seeing “How they ak in the various places”;12 and to long for home—if only I could do any good when there! I never thought of staying longer here than into next week and my experience of last Sunday shows me it will be better to escape another— They did not urge or indeed ask me to go to church; for I was evidently weakly and it was a wet day (by good luck) But on Sundays it is the rule of the house to have no dinner!—only tea two hours earlier than usual—along with which I, as a stranger, still in the bonds of the flesh, was permitted to have one egg—then; to compensate to the Soul for the exigence of the body; five sermons were read to me in the course of the day! no evading them without getting into hostile discussion—and the quantity of sermons with the no dinner gave me an indigestion during the night— My other nights here have been “pretty fairish”—so I think it will be best to not incur all that again: when I was meaning to go in another day or two in any case

No letter come yet only one thing—the first delivered from poor little Mary at Auchtertool—deploring my departure as “the only charitable individual who did not ‘worry and bother her about making efforts &c”— Your fellow feeling makes me wondrous kind

No more proofs for me yet?? I should like the novel sent to Sunny Bank I could read it aloud to them.

Your ever / Jane WC

Just as I had put my Letter in the envelope, yours is come. Many thanks. For Godsake, when lightning comes, don't take shelter under trees!!13