July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


JWC TO HENRY LARKIN ; 11 September 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580911-JWC-HL-01; CL 34: 181-182


Lann Hall Tynron / Dumfries Saturday [11 September 1858]

My dear Mr Larkin— I have such a headach! Not that I am fallen into the old bad way; I continue well (comparatively speaking); but I eat a great lump of cold plum tart to supper last night! and the consequences may be conceived! I have tried starving, then tried a long drive, then tried ‘lying down,’ and all wont take the tight cord off my head! So I sit up and write to you, as the St Giles's1 people eat oysters “in wera desperation”!2

You see tomm(!)morrow3 is Sunday so, if I miss todays post you can't get your answer till Tuesday; and you have already waited for it too long! Of all the “secluded glens” ever seen this is the most extraordinary; for every body keeps a carriage in it—not “a gig” but a coach and pair!—and so, naturally, everybody in4 in motion—what they call “seeing our friends”—I have been here now a whole fortnight, and it has been one continual explosion of Champagne Lunches all over this glen (Glenshinnel) and the neighbouring glencairn. I believe they are to my honour and glory these flare ups, but anything serves here for an occasion to make a feast. A retired wool-merchant of Halifax,5 the most perfect Bore I ever encountered, had just been féted all round, before I came, and is now being done over again, along with me!— I never felt more disposition to kill a man, who had done me no intentional harm—and there is no love lost between us: till I came he “had the gang all to himsel”6—and now he cant get a platitude uttered in peace! So he cant hide his jealousy of me, and his spite!

But I go away from here the end of next week—and that being the case—you need not send the Frederick at all— It was for the reading of my cousin here,7 that I wanted it—lumbering books about with me will be an incon-venience If Mr C can spare me a copy “all to herself” it will be sent with best grace, in a perfect state, after my return—

My journey was altogether prosperous, in spite of its being undertaken on a Friday—except indeed, that I lost a ring from my little finger—given me by Mazzini's Mother seventeen years ago, and engraved with the Young-Italy watch-word ‘ora e sempre’ [now and always]—

Charlotte wrote to ask permission to “attend the Citizen's Ball!”—the Citizen steamboats Ball8 I suppose she meant.

Mr Carlyle has been lost to that knowledge of his family and friends for more than ten days. retained by the blandishments of Olympia Baroness von Usedom, at her Shloss [castle] in the Island of Rügen. But he has now rejoined Foxton and Newberg and is rushing about to the different battlefields expecting to be home in two weeks so far as I can make out his plans

In that case as I dont think he will return by Leith—I may prepare my mind for returning to that horrid Cheyne Row where I am always ill and generally miserable! My kindest regards to your Mother9 ever affectionately yours

Jane W Carlyle