TC TO LADY HARRIET BARING ; 25 December 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471225-TC-LHB-01; CL 22: 182-183
TC TO LADY HARRIET BARING
Chelsea, 25 decr, 1847—
Only thanks today; and a word about the Books. Croucher's two men, the week you went to Normanscourt, shewed me the Moise on its way to Stanhope Street, and engaged, almost with oaths, that the Christ should infallibly follow it next day.1 Whereupon I took their oath for a prediction of the fact. To my horror, I discover yesterday, clearly for the first time, that the Book has never gone. Rowe for Croucher, in consequence, and for Croucher's men; immense search of registers, of shelves; embarrassed hurlyburly; ending with desperate doubt on the part of Croucher, whether the Book, tho' printed in his Catalogue and sworn to as above, was ever actually extant in his Collection at all,—or other than a Shadow in the fields of Hope,—much less, sent to you, as sworn! Poor old man, when “soft sauwder [flattery]” will not serve, which he has ready in any quantity, he rocks in his list-shoes, and is ill-bested. As to the État actuel [actual fact], neither he nor any Bookseller I can yet consult, has heard of such a Book: but I persist in my assertion: on Tuesday next, I am to have evidence contra, or else pro, and in that case perhaps the Book itself; which shall be taken care of. On Tuesday, Christ too is promised me. You shall hear a word of them, on Wednesday or Thursday.— As to Hayward,2 I have it here; will leave it for “the Cook,”3 who, it seems, sets out towards you on Monday. Frown not at the big folio shape (Kennet's big volume,4 which contains much else than Hayward); rejoice rather that you have it legible, and that it will not put your eyes out,—which would be unsuitable to me. Item, if William,5 yesterday, brought you down two volumes of a Book, wanting the first, and created wonder, wait till Monday, and it will be all right: if he brought you nothing as is likelier, never mind this. It is a Book of no use, if you even had it.— And so let the Book account close for today.
A much more important business, that of the visit to Alverstoke, hangs on the balance here, trembling till Monday! My Wife is decidedly weakly; I too, for the last fortnight, am much below par (tho' recovering now); the late hours and big rooms of The Grange rather frighten the weak female nerves;—and to me myself “the 15th of February” seems a date beyond what I can claim, in these abstruse conditions! For they are abstruse; you know not, may you never know them! And so I keep silent; and may the Gods decide it,—to the best for us. And O my Friend, let us try to be regular, to be serious at some kind of work, while the Fairy Castle is our beneficient Hospice! Why should that be a Castle of Idleness? Only in things real and serious can poor I ever be anything to you. Think of that, for it is true. Daughter of an Ironside, I am a kind of Ironside yet,—fallen also on base times!— Adieu, my Beautiful and Good. On Monday, more. Yours T.C.