January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO EDWARD FITZGERALD ; 2 May 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430502-TC-EF-01; CL 16: 148-149


Chelsea, 2 May, 1843—

Dear Fitzgerald,

You have not drawn Cromwell's House at all! It seems to be Stewart's House at Stuntney, Cromwell's Uncle's, but not Cromwell's own! This is a great mistake. The real House that Cromwell occupied (according to Noble, and to all likelihood) is in Ely City itself, about a gunshot west of the Cathedral; abuts on St Mary's Churchyard with its one gable, and on the big Cathedral Barns with its other: an old, much humbler House, which “Mr Page” used to live in;1 which is now empty, and will soon be ruinous, abolished, and altogether expunged from human memory,—unless your friend Peacock2 or you will take a real portrait of it while it yet stands. There is a huge old wreck of a horseblock still lying in front towards the western end; there Oliver doubtless now and then mounted his horse, 203 years ago; there I, last year,3 took the liberty of smoking a cigar, under the starlight and gaslight, with several reflexions. A fraction of the old stone came home in my pocket, and is now here.

Bobus4 is an exquisite painting; no better likeness need be desired. Unadulterated ugliness adorned in the highest degree; ugliness, obesity, and an earnest energy withal, as of a reforming man and sausage-maker; and then the vision of the gig:—seldom, it seems to me, has either Raphael or Snoggins5 hit anything better on the head. It is to be framed, and carefully preserved in some place of honour.

We were much grieved on Sunday to learn, from Bobus and Plugson, that Thacker[a]y6 and you had been here,7 and we had missed you! It was a great pity. Something might have been contrived about Naseby;8 for really I am not indisposed to go for a couple of days, now the Sun is shewing face again. How long are you to be here? Perhaps we might manage it in the beginning of next week. I am engaged on Wednesday and then on Saturday;—and really most frightfully dyspetical and atrabiliar! I wish I had a swift horse, nay some Highland pony or even a Highgate ass,9 to ride about upon, in green places, for six months to come, and not speak a word to anybody!—

Except on the nights above mentioned we are always at home here.

Yours most faithfully /

T. Carlyle