August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO JWC ; 28 June 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580628-TC-JWC-01; CL 33: 260-262


The Gill, 28 june, 1858—

Thanks for your good little Note, whh lay waiting for me at the due hour, on Saturday morng when I returned from my “first smoke” and stroll amid the breezy furze. I hope you have seen your hayfield,1 poor little soul, and begun that wiser course of existence! The one thing I objected to in your Note was that of my being “discontented” with you, or having ever for an instant been. Depend upon it, that is a mistake once for all. I was indeed discontented with myself, with my hot fetid London, generally with all persons and things (and my stomach had struck work withal), but not discontented with poor you ever at all. Nay to tell you the truth, your anger at me (grounded on that false basis) was itself sometimes a kind of comfort to me: I thot, “Well, she has strength to be cross and illnatured at me; she is not all softness and affection and weakness!” On the whole, it will now be better. “The cares of bread”—poor little being, I could both laugh and cry at the thought of such a problem laid on such a back.—

Here all goes on without jolt; well enough, we may define everything to be. I find the air, the &c decidedly wholesome to me; I do my sleeping, my eating, my walking, am out all day in the open air;—regard myself as put in hospital decidedly on favourable terms, and nearly certain to improve daily. One of my worst wants is clothes! My thin London dress does not suit this temperature hitherto; and positively I am too shabby for shewing face on the roads at all. The excellt Tailor2 being officially here, I made him mend my old dressing gown (whh is quite a trim article again), and engaged him to come directly so soon as I had got cloth. A new dressing-gown, do Cape, two do jackets (like the brown one, remnant of brown dressing-gown), steel-grey “Orleans stripe” for winter trowsers; I cd even take another winter coat, so excellt the tailor, had we only cloth! In search of cloth, Jamie Austin drove me into Dumfries on that same Saturday afternoon3 (Jean having written that she was not coming): we found Jean &c all brisk enough: but no cloth that looked tolerable could be at once discovered there. Jean is coming out this evening, with a more deliberate set of specimens and counsels. I am not certain but I shall have to apply to Bull & Co in St Martin's Lane:4 the Cares of bread are done; but what if the “Cares of Cloth” start up on a poor weak creature! No, I will not, if I can help it.

Yesterday Jamie & the Dr came driving over,5 unexpectedly, when I was getting to employt after breakfast. Day not to be complained of, tho' it went to zero. I winded up by an immense walk; clearest air, beautifullest sunset & summer evg I had seen for 7 years,—lame ancle I steeped in a burn for 5 minutes, and made it do. Growing better rather.—

Today I have written to Tait; absolutely countermanding that Picture Bargain, and requesting him to refuse the Picture to Lord An,—on the ground of “certain whims of mine.” I told Tait plainly (as politely as I could) what my mind & yours was. If they apply to you, stick to the same doctrine,—and do your wisest; keeping it off me if you can! Adieu dear little woman; rain is near, I must run for a walk.— T. C.