August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


JWC TO TC ; 6 September 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18570906-JWC-TC-01; CL 33: 73-74


Sunny Bank Sunday

[6 September 1857]

A last brief letter! very brief it must be; for I have not free use of my right hand for the moment; and never could do any thing with my left, and cannot, like Miss Biffin,1 manage the pen with my tongue.

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Sarah Biffin, Self-portrait, 1830

Daphne Foskett Collection, no. 69, Scottish National Portrait Gallery
From the Photographic Survey of Private Collections, Courtauld Institute Courtesy of Courtauld Institute


I “happened a misfortune”2 yesterday morning—such an innocent idillic misfortune!! I was stung by a wasp, in the fore finger of my right hand! My sponge was in the basin of water; I took hold of it to squeeze it out; and sprang as if I had taken hold of a torpedo! Such a shock of pain shot up to the very roots of my hair!—gazing amazed at the dropt sponge “as in presence of the Infinite”3 I saw walking fierely over it a discomposed wasp! Then I knew what had happened to me and ran for honey. Of course my finger is all swelled up like a little black pudding; but the pain is abatting. and I dare say it will be all right by Wednesday. The absurdest part of it is, that just the night before I happened another misfortune to my left hand!! poured some fierce acid over it (under the name of aromatic vinegar) with which I was filling Miss Jess's vinigrette and that hand had to be wrapt up in cotton wool for twelve hours!—it is now merely red—

Under these adverse circumstances I will confine myself to the strictly practical— I keep to my purpose of going on Wednesday morning by the NORTH British4— I think I have dscovered5 a system of Trains by which I can get from here—to London, in the day time, without the long carriage drive at the outset—

I expect to arrive at Kings Cross at half past nine—but dont come to meet me as we should not find each other in the dark and I always manage well enough with my luggage It will be best you wait for me at home—

The book6 goes on like an old Romance, WITHOUT THE FICTION. What better kind of History could one wish? If there were plenty such; you would have the consolation of seeing one abjure novels—

On Wednesday then please God

Yours affectionately / Jane W C

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