January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


JWC TO HENRY LARKIN ; 4 July 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590704-JWC-HL-01; CL 35: 131-132


Humbie Farm / Aberdour / Fife [4 July 1859]

My dear Mr Larkin

It would be a disgrace to human nature that I should not have written to you before this; were it not that poor human nature is sometimes not responsible. I don't hold myself responsible for anything I have done or not done since I took leave of you at King's Cross!— Mr Barnes1 told me that “weakness of mind was the natural and inevitable accompaniment of weakness of Body; that no woman, as weak as I was, could make her mind bear up—any more than she could make her legs bear her up!” He ought to know! at all events, I find consolation—a melancholy consolation in believing him! And the fact that I have been arrived at my destination a whole week2 without a word out of my head to you, has no reproach for my conscience in it—I simply accept it as a part of my illness.

For the rest; “the view” is all that could be wished! I never saw so beautiful a view even in a dream! And the “Farm House” is all that could be asked of a Farm House and more! We have got two sitting-rooms after all— A great mercy that!—and the whole appartment is of good size, well aired, well furnished and very clean—no “small Beings”3 in it! (Mazzini's name for Bugs and Fleas)—

Mr C bathes every morning and rejoices much over the “soft food” for both himself and his horse. The Horse, he says, “is in a perfect ecstacy at his plenty of grass and new hay tho’ unable to recover from his astonishment at the badness of the Fife roads.” I shall see today perhaps how a horse expresses ecstasy for I am to ride him or, more probably speaking, to fall off him!— But next week please God I shall have an ass—more adapted than an ecstatic horse to my present spirit of enterprise!

Charlotte is the happiest of Girls! The Scotch men, she says, are the kindest she ever knew!—“they call her “bonnie wee Lassie” as she passes; without knowing her!!” and the Farmer4 has gone the length of giving her a sugar rabbit—which she “would be sorry indeed to eat!!” she told me.

They all do better than poor me! Even Nero's touch of mange is being cured by seabathing! He bathes regularly, from a sense of duty, along with his master— But I get no strength and am as sad as death—5 Yours affectionately

Jane Carlyle