The Collected Letters, Volume 28


CHRONOLOGY; 2000; DOI: 10.1215/ed-28-chronology; CL 28: firstpage-28-xxi-lastpage-28-xxiv


1853 January. TC writes to old friends in Glasgow to recommend his nephew James as a clerk (3). JWC has been trying to help William Maccall, now ill and destitute, and tactfully passes on some money from Lady Ashburton. After complaining to his brother Alexander in Canada about the cost and inconvenience of the house repair in 1852, TC admits the result is an improvement, and his health (though complained about) has improved. He is working on Frederick and his period, though with little progress. Montégut visits (11), and TC calls on Dr. Samuel Brown, now settled in London. The nuisance of the next-door neighbor's cock begins (21). JWC calls on Miss Anderton, actress and aspiring novelist, and takes home a manuscript to read. She often visits the Reichenbachs. Anthony Sterling is making Talbotypes, copying Laurence's portrait of Jane and Maxwell's portrait of TC's mother.

February. TC writes Bunsen a long letter asking for reliable portraits of Frederick (3). TC and his brothers are involved in disputes over draining land at Craigenputtoch. TC asks Neuberg for help in finding an assistant for library work (6) and visits Maccall to see if he can help him. Mazzini is involved in an unsuccessful rising in Milan, but escapes capture via Switzerland. The Carlyles dine with the Milneses (28) and receive visits from Sir James Stephen and Gavan Duffy.

March. Lord Ashburton arranges TC's election to the Athenaeum Club (2). Lady Ashburton's prints arrive from Germany (3). TC joins Dickens in supporting William Maccall's successful application to the Royal Literary Fund (6). After Bunsen's intervention, Abeken sends TC the catalogue of the Nicolai library at Berlin with an offer of borrowing rights. TC goes to the Grange (26) for a holiday, but JWC, with a bad cold, declines; the Ashburtons entertain widely, and TC finds it difficult to settle to work.

April. TC returns (4). He sends Talbotypes of himself and JWC to his brother Alexander in Canada. Henry Inglis visits at Chelsea; also Tom Wilson with Robert Tait. TC is plowing through Vehse's German history. He asks for a private room in the British Museum, which Panizzi refuses. Neuberg is asked to obtain a portrait of the Duchess of Ahlden (15). Morgan the carpenter returns to Chelsea to install bookcases, followed by painters and paperhangers. Maccall continues lecturing. Charlotte Williams Wynn visits (15). The Reichenbachs leave for the United States, accompanied by Dalwig. TC offers William Allingham advice on further studies (21). Talbotypes of TC and JWC are sent to Janet Hanning in Canada (22). TC and JWC visit Bath House three times in a week. TC is involved in obtaining a Civil List pension for Mrs. Glen. Jeannie Welsh m. Andrew Chrystal (28).

May. TC and Jane attend a “grand ball” at Lady Stanley's (2). Carpenters have finished at Cheyne Row, painters are finishing; there is prolonged road work as a major sewer from Kensington is constructed. TC receives Landor's Imaginary Conversations of Greeks and Romans (9) and writes to Clough in America (12) with Lord Granville's offer of an examinership in the education office to bring Clough back to England. Edward Chapman and Bosworth both propose publishing TC in a series for railway travelers. His mother is still weak. TC works with little enthusiasm on research on Frederick, while preparing The Nigger Question for publication. Jean Aitken is delivered of a stillborn child (16). TC urges Milnes to press for the abolition of duty on foreign books (18). A French translation of The French Revolution is proposed (21). JWC tells John of the noise and bustle of Chelsea and the interruptions of neighboring cocks (24); she attends Maccall's “excellent” lectures.

June. John Gordon calls. TC indexes his papers and notes on Frederick (3–8). He acknowledges a work from Coventry Patmore and invites him to call (7). He obtains an introduction for Delia Bacon to John Payne Collier, after hearing her theories about Bacon and Shakespeare. ‘I get on very ill with my work’ on Frederick (17). He thinks of using John Ede as an assistant. TC and JWC go to Addiscombe and Hayes (18–20) with the Ashburtons, while painters are at Cheyne Row. TC dines with the Ferguses and Elizabeth Pepoli (23) and breakfasts with Lord Mahon, Hallam, Lord Granville (27). He attends “a grand Ashburton Ball” (29). The Nigger Question is published.

July. JWC leaves with Nero for Liverpool (1) to visit her relations, and goes to Moffat with her cousin Helen (5) to stay with TC's brother John and his wife, while TC remains at home, dining one night at Chorley's, calling on friends, spending a day at military maneuvers at Chobham with the Ashburtons (5), and dining at Addiscombe (10). The workmen finish about the 11th. At Moffat, JWC rests and visits the Grey Mare's Tail waterfall, and Helen Welsh returns to Liverpool (8). JWC goes to Scotsbrig on her birthday (14) to visit old Mrs. Carlyle, who is worse, yet writes to reassure TC that she is better; JWC returns to Scotsbrig (15). TC is restless, dissatisfied with his work, and worried about his mother. He asks a builder for estimates for “an impenetrably deaf‘” attic study (18). Clough decides to return (22). TC, still restless, and troubled by neighbors' cocks, goes to Bath House (24) and to the Ferguses and Brookfields (25) for dinner. JWC, satisfied that TC's mother is rallying, and upset by family quarrels, sleeplessness, toothache, and taking too much morphine, abruptly leaves Scotsbrig for Liverpool and her relatives there (23) without seeing other Scottish friends. TC visits Addiscombe (30–31).

August. JWC returns by train from Liverpool to London (1), and visits the dentist (2–3). TC refuses an invitation from Charles Redwood (5) and urges Milnes to visit Delia Bacon, who is working at the British Museum; after reading her paper on Bacon and Shakespeare, TC calls on her (10) and sends it to J. W. Parker for consideration for Fraser's Magazine. The attic study is decided on, and work is started under John Chorley's supervision (11). JWC invites Kate Sterling to stay (13), but she refuses a counterinvitation (26) because she is in the midst of house repairs. John Childs dies (12). TC presses for an answer about Mrs. Glen by writing to Duke of Argyll (18). Gloves and good penknives are sent from Dumfries.

September. The attic floor is finished (2). Mrs. Glen's pension is settled (4). TC and JWC leave for Addiscombe (13); TC stays till 1 October, while JWC returns intermittently to Chelsea to supervise builders and hire a new servant after Fanny runs off with one of the Irish builders. TC asks Neuberg to ask about Eckermann in Germany, and he even offers to organize a collection for him in Britain. TC mentions Joseph Ede as a possibility for a teaching appointment in Weimar (19) and enjoys the quiet of Addiscombe.

October. TC writes to Vehse with queries about Frederick, visits Forster, meets Clough (9), and acknowledges the gift of a portrait of Hume from Landor (14). The staircase at Cheyne Row is finished, and builders are completing the attic study, though it will not be usable till spring. JWC hears of the death of her uncle John Welsh at Auchtertool (11). TC and Sir James Stephen correspond on their religious beliefs (18). The new servant seems excellent, ‘the best that has been here for many a year’ (20). Neighbors' cocks aggravate TC. JWC refuses to lend Penelope Sketchley £5 for her rent (28). Sir James Stephen (30) calls and tells the Carlyles about Maurice's expulsion from King's College.

November. Margaret Carlyle weakens. Delia Bacon and Charles Butler call (3). TC acknowledges Landor's The Last Fruit of an Old Tree. He supports Russia vehemently in its war with Turkey. He walks to Willesden (12) to visit Neuberg and escape the builders. Thomas Spedding visits (13). TC finds his American bonds, thought worthless, may be valuable; he hears that his name has been put forward by Prince Albert for a pension. Jane describes the attic study as “the noisiest in the house,” and TC as “much out of sorts.” Harriet Martineau calls (23). TC urges J. W. Parker to make up his mind on Delia Bacon's article, which is eventually rejected. H. T. Wake designs a bookplate for TC. TC supports (25) Elizabeth Hume's application to the Royal Literary Fund. John Carlyle writes that their mother “is evidently departing from us” (27).

December. TC writes his last letter to his mother (4). The Carlyles go to the Grange (5), while the painters occupy 5 Cheyne Row. TC tries to work but is very restless at the thought of his mother. JWC is nervous and unwell. TC writes to Delia Bacon to say that her article has been rejected (10). Thomas Wilson, with TC's help, is given the teaching appointment at Weimar. JWC returns to Chelsea (18) to try to arrange for the removal of the cocks next door. TC follows en route for Scotsbrig and arrives in time to see his mother before she dies (25). JWC disposes of the Roncas' cocks at no. 6 under penalty of the law. JWC spends a solitary Christmas dining on Charles Redwood's gift of Welsh mutton. Her cousin Helen has died suddenly (ca. 18). TC's mother dies (25) and is buried at Ecclefechan (29). He stays to settle his mother's affairs and returns to London (2 January 1854).