July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


JWC TO TC ; 17 August 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580817-JWC-TC-01; CL 34: 135-136


Bay House. Tuesday— [17 August 1858]

I cant but feel glad that you are not off this morning, and that there will be a letter for me on the Hall table at five—for almost as long as I am here to clutch it! Won't there? Oh that Foxton! What a companion for YOU!—

I had written to Charlotte I would return next Saturday (the 21st instead of the 23d) that I might have time to put fresh ribbons on my bonnet, and make a few other feminine arrangements, preparatory to starting off again in the end of the week. But Emily1 and Mrs Mildmay press me so kindly to stay over Sunday, that we may all break up together on Monday; that it would be ungrateful and uncivil to refuse. So I am about writing again to Charlotte, ordering dinner for Monday. After all; what could I do with a Sunday at Chelsea if I had it? with a Presbyterian pedigree and education, one cant trim ones bonnet and wash ones laces on the Lord's day!

I think to be on the road on Friday—perhaps on Thursday, if I go by Liverpool— That was my plan before I got Mrs Pringles last letter—to go by that train to Liverpool at a Sovereign first class— and sleep either at Alicks2 if a bed were offered me beforehand, or at the Inn—and do the rest of the journey next day. But Mrs Pringle proposed another plan, so kind and thoughtful, that I accepted it at once— She would be waiting for me at Carlisle, and “have a bed and tea ready for me there.” and her carriage would be waiting for us next day at Dumfries. “She was very glad of my improved health” she said; “but it would be a positive disappointment to her, if she were not allowed to consider me and treat me as still a sort of invalid” That was putting the thing gracefully and with the same tact she added—I was not to fancy it any effort her coming to meet me at Carlisle, for “she had friends there whom she would much like to see”! The vision of her, with her calm kind face, waiting for me on the Platform at Carlisle to take me to tea and a bed, has the encouraging effect on me of a bit of red cloth flashed before the eyes of a pusillanimous Turkey!3 I have written that I accept the offer—and will appoint the Train on my return; This makes the nights rest or at least the nights lying at Liverpool of less moment. But I had written to Maggie4 who is still there, of my possible passage that way. If Alick and John are gone to Fife,5 and Sophy6 (who has lately added to the Happiness of the nations, with another child)7 wishes to see me, there would be a spare bed, and she will offer it cordially—tho' I expressed my intention to sleep elsewhere if I came. In defect of such cordial offer, I shall now I think “pass by on the other side.”8

But I must stop if I am to have any exercise before dinner No I—

It is still fine but I shouldnt wonder if it rained before night—

Emily is making such a pretty drawing of this place for me! Mrs Huxham writes that my invalid Canary (left to her care) has “washed and pecked himself” “Praised be his name”9

Yours ever