1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO DELIA BACON; 4 October 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18541004-TC-DB-01; CL 29: 160-161


CHELSEA, 4 October, 1854.

DEAR MISS BACON,—We are very glad to hear of you again, and that you are doing well, and getting that wild jungle of sticks victoriously tied into fagots. That is a right success, due to all faithful workers, and which nobody can deprive one of.

My wife cannot by any means recollect the least particular of Mrs. Spring's address at Hampstead, though she was once there, and saw the place with her eyes. However, she assures me it would have done nothing for your present enterprise; it was a place let (unfurnished with servants) as a whole house; was very dear, and also (as is thought) very dirty,—not at all like what you require.1 Other lodgings, no doubt, are abundant in Hampstead, especially at this season of the year; but neither of us here knows specially of any, nor can Jane bethink her just at once of any person whom she could confidently consult on the matter.—I myself do, at this moment, call to mind a certain Mrs. Dr. Wilkinson, an accomplished American lady withal, and wife of an accomplished and truly superior man,2 who lives in that neighborhood, not quite in Hampstead, but on this side of it,—to whom I would offer you an introduction if you went towards that region. Hampstead is very airy, and has still a set of silent country walks, though the Bricklayer is fearfully busy there too in these last years; you could have no real difficulty in getting a cleanly, honest, and tolerable lodging there; the worst fault I know is that of the water; very hard, all of it, from the chalk; which fault, however, applies only to the Hill, or Old Village, as I suppose? Nay, indeed there is no pure water to be had in this big Babylon itself, for all its wealth and faculty; the Queen herself has to drink dirty water (as I often think) when she favors us with her company,—so extremely wise a set of “successful men” are we hitherto in these parts.— Of lodgings about Chelsea, or indeed, in all quarters urban and sub-urban, Jane thinks there can be no doubt of ample choice on every hand; and she will very gladly give help whenever you embark on such a search.

Her notion, in which I entirely agree, is at present, That whenever you decide on a removal you are simply to leave your things all packed at St. Albans, and come off at once to the vacant room I told you of as waiting to welcome you here,—therefrom to institute whatever search your fancy and judgment point to, under the favourablest auspices. This really is the wisest, and also the easiest; confess that it is, O you of little faith,3 and do it.— I was just going out (by appointment) yesterday when your letter came; could not write till now.

Yours very truly, dear Miss B.,