August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


JWC TO TC ; 26 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570826-JWC-TC-01; CL 33: 52-53


Craigenvilla / Wednesday

[26 August 1857]

Only the shortest of letters today Dear. I am going in, by the eleven-oclock train, to take leave of Betty; and call at the railway station, in “pursuit of knowledge under difficulties”;1 and wind up all for my departure tomorrow.

On the whole my visit here has answered; “better than I deserved”!2 My Aunts have been really kind, and sympathetic for me, and I have improved in their hands; tho' it must be owned I went entirely off my sleep last night; for no assignable reason, unless it was that there had been too much talk about rail-ways, and I went to bed feeling myself a part of the soul confusing thing! Miss Hamilton (of Gladsmuir long ago)3 came to tea, and told us she was going to Manchester on Monday with a return ticket (15 / ), which included one view of the “Art Treasures”! And “the Company” furnished “a comfortable bed” at eighteenpence; and in short it was to be like George Irving's Agnes's Brother's4 deathbed, “all very COMfortable”! Wouldn't my Aunts go, too? Wouldn't I go— The same beneficient “Company” would give me a ticket to London after, for 12 / !— To my astonishment Ann & Grace agreed in one moment!! and before I had recovered breath, they had consigned to Miss Hamilton 2£ for their expences! What a thing iron nerves are after all! Their constitutions are no better than mine, but they are up to ten times as much, on the strength of sound nerves! So it was settled they should go by this Excursion Train on Monday, returning the following Friday—and that I should not go with them for the universe! but give the “Art Treasures” a wide birth!5 But—in “screaming at the idea of it,”6 I lost my sleep!

I sat out with Major Davidson yesterday, two-hours and more, under the trees in his park; where the great new house is being built,7 and got such capital good talk out of him! I do think he is a real kindhearted, serious-minded man—living for the things he sees to be worthiest. Not without a tinge of insanity in him perhaps! but a quixotical insanity that one likes him no worse for. He was laughing like a boy about your “smashing of the opera”—8 “There wasn't a word of it that he didn't most cordially agree in.” And “what you had said of the opera might be said of every other public amusement at the present time” His wife9 is very intelligent and engaging, and a thorough Lady in manner. There is a room in the new House to to10 be “kept in expectation of—you,till you come”! Don't it wish it may get you? Yet I am sure you would like the man when he was once at ease with you.

I calculate in finding a letter when I return from Town today. Oh such a ghastly tea-drinkin[g] Grace and I had at Miss Grove's (Mrs Anderson)11

Yours affly / Jane W Carlyle