August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JWC ; 25 June 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580625-TC-JWC-01; CL 33: 250-251


The Gill, 25 june, 1858—

Dearest,—There is nothing whatever to hinder me from sending you this poor sprig of Annandale Heath, plucked this morning, for a token; it is the one thing I undertake by way of external history for this my second Day here; said Day wd otherwise be flat zero in the record. I am perfectly alone; nothing round me but the grey winds, and the abyss of TIME, Past, Present, Future: a whole Sanhedrin, or loudly debating Parliament (so to speak), of Reminiscences and Ghosts is assembled round me,—sad, very sad of tone, in the mind's ear; but not unprofitable either: a little live Note to Goody will be a comfort to myself, and no displeasure to Nero and her, over the tea tomorrow morng.

Yesterday I had hardly finished when there came to Mary a Note from John, intimating that Jamie and he were on the road hither to see me; he direct, by walking a few miles; Jamie to rejoin him here in the gig, after Annan market, ‘about 5 p.m.’— Being very sleepy I decided for bed nevertheless; flung myself down in dressing gown &c, and had hardly done so (as was afterwards evidt) when poor Jack arrived; but had to wait 4½ hours, whh he did patiently till I woke again. Did not see me till dinner abt 4 p.m.; had sauntered about,—and himself dined “on rice and milk” in the interim. Poor soul, he was very friendly; grown sensibly whiter (indeed he is quite hoary, with skin reddish); otherwise quite well, and making not the least complaint of men or things. He told me much about the Commercial Nephews1 (Jamie Aitken at Liverpool a wearisome story), about “Dr Arnott2 & one Miss Vietch3 of Hawthorn Bank”4 (a jilting affair on the part of said Miss V.), “about his horse” a good deal; and about this and that in a brotherly human manner. There had been sad bother about that “horse” (cost £43, a great stalking coach-horse, I found, whh had then proved unsound &c &c); and Jamie was down at Annan that very day chiefly on the errand to try if he cd settle it. Jamie did not come at 5; not till past 8, and then considerably gone aree5 (traceable even after tea when I first was introduced to him); he had not “settled the horse,” whh I then got actual sight of; he was very anxious to be correct and comme il-faut [as it should be] with me; anxiety far too traceable: Ach Gott, I saw my poor old Annandale wrongside out, as it were; that too was necessary. They went off about nine: in a week or so I am too6 see if this damaged coach-horse can be given me in trial: so long I decide to wait before sending for my own horse.— I went out a long solitary walk; grey gurly evg, rather cold; and did not want for reflexions. Excellt drop of porridge at my return; bright glud of fire &c: at midnight the wind had mostly sunk; there were short breaks of moonshine in a grey sky overhead; & such a silence all round as only Eternity could surpass. I slept well, in spite &c. Would I could believe the like of a certain other party! Her little Note will come tomorrow. God bless her ever.

T. C.