August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


JWC TO TC ; 28 August 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570828-JWC-TC-01; CL 33: 56-57


Sunny Bank.

Friday [28 August 1857].

Here I am, Dear; an incarnation of “the bad sixpence”!1— Sixteen miles nearer home anyhow!— I left Edinr at 2 yesterday, was at LongNiddry by half past 2 and didn't get to Hadd: till 4!! Such complete misunderstanding exists between the little Hadd: cross train and all other trains; that one may lay one's account with having to wait always three quarters of an hour at the least. Then the waiting room is “too stuffy for anything”!—and the seated structure outside expressly contrived for catching cold in; so that one is fain to hang about on one's legs; in space! The bother of all this, taken together with the excitement of my rapturous welcome, kept me awake, in a high fever, till my doomed hour of four oclock, this morning.— or, something kept me awake, that the Devil only knows!

It was such an arrival after all! The Servants waiting outside the House, smiling and saying, “glad to see you back Mam”— Miss Jess tumbling into my arms on the threshold “faintly ejaculating” (as a novelist would say) “Our Precious”! “Our Beloved”!!— and beyond her, my Godmother a’ donnering,2 with her hands stretched out; groping the air, and calling out in an excited way “Is that my Bairn?”3 The Niece and Grandniece4 were discreet enough to keep up stair till “the first flush o’r meeting” was over, but were very cordial when they appeared; to their credit I must say; they might easily, if spitefully minded, take offence at the preference shown me. Even in the midst of these raptures my eye sought and discovered your letter on the usual table—but I refrained from opening it (paragon of politeness that I was!) till dinner was over; for which I had already kept them waiting an hour.

They think me looking much better. Indeed my fortnight at Craigenvilla, with all its drawbacks of weekly fasts, inordinate reading to, gass, and watercistern was very good for my health, and on the whole pleasant to LIVE I cannot say which of my Aunts was the kindest to me; they were all three so kind! Grace knitted me a pair of such warm stockings while I was there! and Ann flowered me a most lovely collar, and Elizabeth procured a whole calve's stomach5 (!) for me (now in my carpet bag!) that I might have curds at home; as it was the thing I seemed to like best of all that they gave me to eat. And it was so pleasant talking about “dear old Long Ago” with those who I felt (for the first time perhaps) had interests in common with me in it! It was better so, surely I thought after our affectionate parting yesterday; far better so, than if I had gone to law with them about that fraction of my Grandfather's property I might have disputed; and even gained it! and put heart-burnings and resentment between my own Fathers sisters and me for evermore!6 A little true family affection is worth a great many hundreds of pounds! especially when one isnt needing pounds!

Since writing this sheet, I have been to Dirleton Castle!!7 and it is now dinner-time and I must take my letter to the post office immediately after, or you wont hear of me till Tuesday!

Yours affly / Jane WC

No day fixed yet—or indeed to be spoken of at the moment