April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO ROBERT BROWNING ; 21 May 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440521-TC-RB-01; CL 18: 48-49


Chelsea, 21 May, 1844—

Dear Browning,

This Mr Field,1 Oliver's descendant, seems to be a kind of fool; and I find I shall have to attack him thro' you,—for your sins!

He called here the other day, at an hour when there is no admission; I wrote a small civil Note indicating that a copy of Oliver's Letter would greatly oblige me; that to see himself afterwards, if he found good to call again, any day after two o'clock, would give me &c &c. He answers after ten days by this enclosed Note; seems not to understand that the Copy of Oliver's own Letter, not Henry's or the drawing of New Hall near Chelmsford,2—is the only part of his possessions that interests me; and writes, in short, in a very illegible hand too, considerably like a goose! I fear unless you take him in hand, I shall have a great deal of corresponding with him yet!—

He lives somewhere about Blackheath; he is known to some friends of yours: could not you, by your dexterity, contrive to introduce some legible penman, for ten minutes, into free contact with that invaluable Autograph, and get a correct copy of it;3—we should then leave Field to rhyme the matter in his own head, quite at his leisure, and to call here either during the summer or the winter as it seemed good to him! Do this, if you can, for me; and I will march Field out of my memory straightway.— There is no haste, I ought to say; a copy any time within six months will serve all essential purposes. You can wait your time therefore; but when the time favours, let your Charity keep me in view.

For the rest why don't you come and see us here? You are found absent without leave. We are at home almost as good as every evening, and indeed every morning too; and your face is a pleasant phenomenon here.

Yours (with many apologies) ever truly

T. Carlyle