August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


JWC TO JEAN CARLYLE AITKEN ; 22 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570822-JWC-JCA-01; CL 33: 46-47


Morningside, Saturday, ‘22 Aug., 1857.’

My dear Jean—Thanks a thousand for your kind invitation. Certainly if I could be persuaded into changing my mind, and doing what I had settled not to do, you would have persuaded me, by the warmth and urgency of your words. But I am, as you can hardly need to be told, “vera obstinate in my own way!”1—might challenge the world, I think, to produce an instance of my ever doing a thing I had once positively refused to do! And, my Dear, I positively refused to go to Dumfriesshire this season, weeks ago. You may be sure it was not from want of asking that I have not been to Thornhill and am not meaning to go. … Thornhill where I had never been till last year since my Mother's death,2 and then for only a few days, still looks too emotional by far for weak nerves and worn-out spirits. If I got strong and courageous and all that at Sunny Bank, I might perhaps go home by Thornhill, I thought; I would wait and see. So I waited and saw—that it was “no go.” Not that I am not stronger since I left London. For the first week or two, I improved very decidedly; and tho' I have fallen back since, especially during my fortnight at Auchtertool (where I couldn't avoid going, being so near), still I have not fallen back to the London point of inability; and hope that my travels in search of health won't be trouble and money wasted after all.

But I am far from feeling up to any superfluous knocking about, or superfluous excitement; am, as dear Betty says, “ower wake [too weak] for toiling myself.” So I wrote to Mrs. Russell a fortnight ago, that I had quite decided to go back to London the way I came.3