July-December 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 30


TC TO ROBERT S. TAIT ; 29 December 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18551229-TC-RST-01; CL 30: 146-147


The Grange, Alresford, Hants 29 decr, 1855—

Dear Tait,

This morning there has come, in some large Packet of prose and verse from Weimar addressed to my Wife not to me, a Letter for you from Wilson;1 which I, not knowing that it had a stamp upon it, agreed to furnish with one, there being incidentally a small message of my own with which I have been threatening you for some time. Wilson's Letter goes on its own footing, and my message also shall go.

It relates to that Kranach Picture,2 with which you have already had so much trouble. If, as I understand, you have got the best Photograph you could expect from it, then there is still one other thing you can do for me in regard to it,—that is, return it to the owner, which I am not there to do at present. Lady Wm Russell, 2 (or perhaps it may be 3?) Audley Square (foot of Audley Street, and the No in question is close upon the wing of Chesterfield house):3 I have written the Address upon a Card inclosed; if Picture and Card could, in any safe way, be left there, it would end one branch of this business, and be a new favour done me. It will otherwise have to lumber your studio for three weeks longer, till I myself am on the ground again,—not one of the alertest of men either in regard to such things! However, if there is no handy messenger, never mind, but let the thing lie: I believe in fact there is no hurry about it, only my imagination is getting uneasy.

Nay I recollect there is still another preliminary, and your troubles are by no means yet ended. I have to depend on you for copying into the final Photograph (with your customary exactitude) the Painter's mark, the Letters “V. D.” &c;4 and all this will require to be done before the Picture goes! So probably there will still some time elapse; and if all be ready at my home-coming, and the task of carrying back the Picture be left to myself (whom of all mortals it belongs to), certainly I shall have no complaint to make, whatever else I have!— In short, do as you like, dear Tait; only let us get thro' it, for I want to have the thing sent off to Germany and my hands rid of it.

I hope I am gathering a little health here; if not that, I am certainly gathering nothing; for except riding and walking, my idleness is nearly perfect, as indeed that of others round me is. I keep as much alone as I can, and ride a great deal; that is all my virtue. Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle5