January-October 1859

The Collected Letters, Volume 35


JWC TO JOHN GEORGE COOK ; 9 July 1859; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18590709-JWC-JGCO-01; CL 35: 138-139


Humbie Aberdour Fife Saturday [9 July 1859]

My dear Friend

I was very glad of your letter—not only because it was a letter from you, but a sign that you had forgiven me—or still better,—that you had never been offended!—

I assure you, an hour or two later, when left alone and quiet in the railway carriage, I wondered as much as you could do what Demon inspired the tasteless jest with which I bade you goodby! in presence too of the most gossipping and romancing1 of all our mutual acquaintance!2 I was so tired that day! Oh my Heavens! so tired!— And fatigue, which makes a healthy human being sleepy, makes me, in my present nervous state delirious. That is my excuse—the only one I have to make at least—for the foolish words I took leave of you with.

Mrs Hawkes3 will have told you that I arrived safe, and that I am quite content with the “Farm House.” It commands the beautifulest view in the world, and abbundance of what Mr C calls “soft food” (new milk fresh eggs, whey &c)— The people are obliging, and the Lodging very clean. Mr C bathes in the sea every morning, lyrically recognises the “pure air,” and the “soft food”;—and if not essentially in better health, is in what is almost as good,—that make-the-best-of-everything state which men get into when carrying out their own idea—and only then!

Charlotte is the happiest of girls! Not that she seems to have much sensibility for the “Beauties of Nature”4 nor that her health was susceptible of improvement—but, that the “kindness of Scotch people” fills her with wonder and delight—“young men that dont so much as know her name, passing her on the road, say to her Bonnie wee Lassie!!” and the Farmer here gave her “a little sugar rabbit” and said to her “little girl you are growing quite pretty since you came”—did I ever hear of such kind people?

The Horse also likes “the change.”5 Mr C says “he is a much improved horse!—is in perfect raptures over his soft food (grass and new hay) but incapable of recovering from his astonishment at the badness of the Fife roads”!

Nero bathes with his Master, from a sense of duty; and is gradually shaking off the selfish torpor that had seized upon him in London—he snores less, thinks of other things besides his food, and shows some of his old fondness for me

Myself is the individual of the party who has derived least benefit hitherto from the place and its advantages— Indeed I am weaker than before I left home— But great expectations are entertained from——an ass (Cuddy they call it here)! which arrived for me from Dumfrieshire last night. My own choice of animal to ride upon! Mr C mounted me twice on the enraptured and astonished horse— But a cuddy will suit better. As Betty remarked, when she was here;6 “it's fine and near the grund, Dear. It'll no be far to faa”!

The farmer says—“I hope it'ill gang!— Them Creturs is sometimes uncommon fond to stand still”!

I am just going to try it—

Geraldine sent me a note that looked like being written on a ship in a storm at sea—such scrawling and blotting I never beheld—and the sense to match!

If Mr Mantle makes his way here7—we shall give him a friendly welcome but it is a much more laborious affair than from London to Richmond.8

Yours affectionately

Jane W Carlyle