April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO JULIA STRACHEY ; 23 November 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441123-TC-JUST-01; CL 18: 273-274


CHELSEA, November 23, 1844

DEAR MRS. STRACHEY,— … We are pretty well here, for us,—a complaining set of people. I am exceedingly busy, fishing up out of the depths of brutish human stupidity, washing clean and making legible the letters and speeches of Oliver Cromwell, a heroic man, buried in such an element of mud and darkness as few heroes ever were. It is an infinitely ugly kind of drudgery; I know no man living whom such stupidity and brutality do more disgust than me; but it seems a kind of duty lying on the like of me. I say, “He fought; thy poor trade is but to speak; speak, then, for him.” Happily, this branch of the business is now almost done; we must then try others, which, if still harder work, offer work a little more inspiring. I begin to be much disaffected to the whole business of books, and often think, if I have ever done with this, I will never write another.

We heard in some oblique way that our French travelers1 had all got safe to Nice at last, though not without adventures, disarrangements, and, I understand, sickness to all, or most of them. They were in a steamer, all the Buller family, and driven into Toulon harbor that night Louis Philippe found himself storm-stayed on our coast here.2 Poor Mrs. Buller must have suffered not a little. But Mr. Fleming seemed to say he understood they were all settled and well now.

I congratulate you on Devonshire3 in comparison with London. Daily these many years I have had one desire that never quits me,—to see the green earth round me, godly silence, and a sky undefaced with soot and other dirt. But we have to do without it the best we can. Except by some revolution in my affairs, I do not see how it is to be obtained within measurable periods.

Will you offer my kind regards to Lady Louis, of whom we saw a little in London, whom it must be a great pleasure to you to meet again? Mrs. Phillips,4 too, I think, is within your sphere: ask her again if she still remembers me as I do her.

My wife unites with me in all good wishes and affectionate regards.

Yours ever truly, /