July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


JWC TO TC ; 12 July 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580712-JWC-TC-01; CL 34: 36-37


5 Cheyne Row / Monday [12 July 1858]

“Oh! what an unexpected El Dorado!”1— A letter this morning, after what you had said, came on me like a little miracle! It was going to have been such a long waiting till Tuesday! I am glad that Ecclefechan is less pious than Annan, with its two ns and be hanged to it! I's no longer “ashamed to say I's no better”!2 for the last three days I have been steadily mending. I have still a good deal of coughing and spitting and my head is still very stuffed—but my pains are all gone—and I sleep and eat much as usual I mean to go out a little today if the sun keep out—but the weather is very uncertain. You surprise me with your talk about heat—it is not so like winter as it was last week; but for heat—! I cannot dispense with a fire all day long; and am wearing two flannel petticoats besides flannel drawers and shift!

If Miss Baring sends me any further message about Bay House, I shall certainly accept—provided I be up to travelling at all—but the thing was left in the vague—and perhaps Louisa Baring may have her Brother's turn for forgetting.3 I dont think she and Emily came that day4 with the slightest intention of inviting me—it was “a sudden thought”5 struck Louisa on seeing me all alone here, and on being well amused by some things I told her (in the “troppo-grazia- [too much grace] St-Antonio”!6 style) after talking about it (my coming) in reference to high dresses caps &c &—she said “you could come down with Mrs George Mildmay7—you know HER—she comes on the 30th—but just think about it!” When she went away, the matter seemed left, on an understanding that the invitation should be repeated in a more definite form—at least I dont feel that I could go without further invitation. She did not say “I will expect to hear from you” or any such thing”—only “think about it.” My notion is, that having been herself surprised into asking me she herself needed to “think about it” and talk it over with Emily— we shall see—it wont be my fault if I dont go; but of course we “must keep up our dignity Mr Arnott!”8— On the same ground (dignity to be kept up) I wont go to the Tennysons.9 It was all very well that Mrs T should send me a message thro' Woolner.10 But when told by him—as she was sure to be—that I was not averse to the visit she ought, if she really wanted me, to have written a specific invitation herself— Besides I hear from time to time of her being “poorly”11—and Heaven preserve me from ever exciting the feelings, which a visitor, forced on me when “poorly,” excites in my own breast!

And now good by I am actually going to put on a bonnet and go as far as the pier12 at all rates!

Yours ever