January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


JWC TO GERALDINE E. JEWSBURY ; 5 July 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590705-JWC-GEJ-01; CL 35: 133-134


Humbie Farm / Aberdour / Fife N B / Tuesday [5 July 1859]

Having seen you take down my address, dear Geraldine, the idea had somehow insinuated itself into my mind, that I was not to write, in the first instance, but to be written to!— I grant it to have been an unreasonable idea enough, but reasonableness was never my forte!—

Had I been ever so alive howe[ver] from the outset, to what reason and “duty” required; I couldn[t] have written much sooner under the circumstances. “When one's body is fallen into extreme weakness; it would be as absurd to reproach oneself for one's mind giving way as for one's legs giving way.” Mr Barnes told me that, and I have found a melancholy consolation in it!

All that bustle and bother before setting out—the frightful fatigue of the journey to Haddington—the trouble of soul that always overtakes me there—and then the new fatigues of the journey here, and the oppressive strangeness of our hired lodging—all that seemed to use up the little vitality left in me; and I have spent my first week here in a state of complete prostration. But yesterday Mr C having realized a side saddle, had it put on—his own horse!! and compelled me to mount him, tho’ in deadly terror—the horse being not only what it had always been; very high, and very spirited; but (Mr C had informed me) “in a state of perfect ecstasy over the soft food afforded him here! tho’ unable to recover from its astonishment at the badness of the Fife roads.” My terror then in being set on his back, and led off by Mr C was not unnatural in my present condition of nerves—but I was the better for getting into the open air, the first time since I arrived—even on this terrific principle!—and to do myself justice, I came back without being led! In a day or two please God I shall be in possession of a—“cuddy” (donkey) “all to myself”—on which I may get about in a more placid state of mind. As for walking! I cannot so much as get up and down stairs without holding on to the bannisters!! And so I have only been once down since I came here—when I went on the horse yesterday! Our rooms are all on one floor happily. Such nice rooms! well sized well furnished—and so clean! And by a little invention we have managed to have two sitting rooms as well as two bedrooms. As for the view it is beautiful beyond all description! Charlotte is the happiest of girls, no end of “young men” making up to her Nero the happiest of dogs, curing his mange by sea bathing—and the Horse as I have said in “perfect ecstasy”! Mr C and myself are the least benefited! Mr C bathes every morning and overdoes the milk diet—and I think the betterness he professes to feel is nothing but biliousness— As for me I am past mending—

Yours ever /