January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


CHRONOLOGY; 2003; DOI: 10.1215/ed-31-chronology; CL 31: firstpage-31-xxix-lastpage-31-xxxiii


[Cross-references to JWC's Journal, March–July (see JWC's Journal), are given where events referred to there are not mentioned in the Letters published in this volume.]

1856 January. The Carlyles are at the Grange. Saffi writes to JWC about meeting the Sterling das. at F. D. Maurice's, 31 Dec. 1855 and regrets missing her in London (1). TC walks, rides, relaxes a little; he is keen to wind up subscription for Lowe sisters. TC congratulates Forster on retiring as ed. of Examiner and on his appointment as sec. to the Lunacy Commission. Tennyson also at the Grange; he reads “Maud” to some of the group; JWC describes her fellow guests to Margaret Welsh (10). The Carlyles return to Cheyne Row (14). Ruskin sends vol. 3 of Modern Painters to TC, who calls it “the real Sermon of the season and Epoch” (18). TC describes himself as “about the Centre of Chaos … which is a very taciturn inarticulate locality” and complains to Lord Ashburton of the inadequacies of Jomini (18). Russia accepts peace proposals from Austria (17). Anthony Sterling visits before his return to the Crimea (19). Subscription list for Lowe sisters seems complete (23), and TC drafts a letter to the Times about the Lowe appeal (ca. 28). TC reading Clausewitz, and orders Browning's Men and Women (27).

February. TC writes to Lady Ashburton that progress on Frederick is still slow, though “I keep puddling along,” and JWC writes to David Davidson of her regret at not seeing him in London (2). TC thanks Alexander Gilchrist for finding him books for Frederick (3). JWC tells Mary Russell about her bruising and pain after accidentally hitting her side (8). TC and John Carlyle help Aurelio Saffi in his search for work (9). Times publishes notice that Lowe appeal is about to close (11). TC reads Jomini in the evenings and complains to Lady Ashburton of rain and mud (13). JWC spends a day with Lady Sandwich, who is moving (13). TC tells Joseph Neuberg of his search for portraits and illustrations of the Frederick period (16). JWC replies with pleasure to William Allingham's proposal of an irregular correspondence and encourages him on his poetic endeavors (23). Paris Peace Conference (25).

March. TC describes Oliver Cromwell portraiture to Thomas Woolner (2). He is deep in Frederick, visits the Athenaeum and attends the London Library Committee, welcomes the debate about the establishment of a “National Picture Gallery” (5). Though mostly solitary, TC visits Bath House and Lady Sandwich's, attends two dinners, one at Lord Stanhope's where he meets Stanley and Gladstone, the other at Darwin's to meet Pertz from Berlin (15, 18). Kate Sterling brings Alexander Ross to meet JWC (ca. 20; JWC's Journal, 25 March). JWC confined indoors with a cold; Jewsbury, Eliza Snowden, and Tait call (25; JWC's Journal, 25 March). Ruskin visits Chelsea (23). JWC calls on Emilie Hawkes (28; JWC's Journal, 27 March). She has a letter from her cousin James Baillie, visits him, and gives him half a sovereign (29; JWC's Journal, 29 March). Maggie Welsh arrives “to stay for a fortnight” (29; JWC's Journal, 30 March). Plattnauer, Countess Pepoli, FitzGerald, and others visit (30; JWC's Journal, 30 March). JWC and Maggie call on Jane Wilson and the Farrers (31; JWC's Journal, 31 March 1856). Crimean War ends (31).

April. JWC calls on Georgiana Lowe (1; JWC's Journal, 1 April). TC writes to Lady Ashburton that “it is only when I fall altogether idle, that I get altogether miserable” and has a jaundiced view of the peace celebrations (3). He recommends J. L. Sandford to Sir Frederick Madden as a historical researcher (11). John Carlyle is in Germany, and TC asks for books about Frederick and his age (11). JWC calls on Lady Ashburton and Mr. Chalmers (11; JWC's Journal, 11 April 1856); calls on Countess Pepoli (12), walks with Plattnauer (13), and goes to Bath House for a dinner (14; all JWC's Journal, 14 April); she and Jewsbury go to a christening performed by Wilberforce (16; JWC's Journal, 16 April), look at pictures at Marlborough House (17; JWC's Journal, 17 April), and hear the evidence of Lord Lucan to the Crimean inquiry (18; JWC's Journal, 18 April). JWC, tired and weak, stays in with Plattnauer, then Jewsbury; Neuberg visits for tea before TC goes to Bath House (20; JWC's Journal, 20 April). JWC, too weak to walk, goes to Islington on the omnibus (21; JWC's Journal, 21 April). TC writes to John that “in all my days I never felt more helpless, utterly unequal to the hideous job I have in hand,” and thinks of going to Scotland in the summer to “lie hidden for 3 months” (22). Ellen Twisleton visits JWC, then Annie Farrer and John Fergus stay for the evening (22; JWC's Journal, 22 April). George Rennie calls (25; JWC's Journal, 25 April). TC writes at length to Browning on the subject of poetry (25). The proofs of the list of subscribers to the Lowe sisters' fund are sent to the Times (28); the Carlyles dine at Forster's with the Speddings (28; see JWC's Journal, 28 April). They dine at the Wedgwoods and see Elizabeth Gaskell (30; JWC's Journal, 30 April).

May. TC advises an unidentified correspondent against a literary career (1). He thanks Ruskin for the 4th vol. of Modern Painters, invites him to Lady Ashburton's party at Bath House (2). The Carlyles go to Lady Stanley's party (3; JWC's Journal, 3 May 1856). TC thinks he may send the first half of Frederick to press in autumn (“Two Volumes cd perhaps be done in that way,” 5) and welcomes the prospect of a “Cheap” edition of his works from Edward Chapman, with Lushington's help (5–7, 9). They dine at the Rennies (7; JWC's Journal, 7 May) and attend a “huge soirée at Bath House” (14). JWC meets Julia de Winton at a tea party at Jewsbury's (15; JWC's Journal, 15 May) and goes to the Messiah at Exeter House (16;JWC's Journal, 16 May). Kate Sterling marries Alexander Ross (17; JWC's Journal, 17 May). TC sends Lord Ashburton a report of Ruskin's Oxford speech (16). TC visits Addiscombe (18–19). Julia de Winton and Jewsbury lunch with JWC; also visited by Tait, Edward Sterling, and John George Cooke (18; JWC's Journal, 18 May). TC refuses to give a reference for Alexander Scott for the chair of logic at Edinburgh University (25). JWC goes to Richmond and catches another cold (ca. 20; JWC's Journal, 20 May). TC writes to thank Charles Butler for his care of TC's Illinois bonds (28). They watch the peace celebration fireworks from Bath House (29; JWC's Journal, 29 May). Mrs. Rennie, Elizabeth Gaskell, and John Carlyle call at Cheyne Row (30; JWC's Journal, 30 May). JWC drives around with Countess Pepoli in a fly (31; JWC's Journal, 31 May).

June. Allingham, then John George Cooke, visit JWC (1; JWC's Journal, 1 June). TC writes to Lady Dillon about her kinsman Gen. Ulysses Browne (3). JWC lunches at Erasmus Darwin's and calls with him on Mrs. Rennie and Lady de Capell Broke (6; JWC's Journal, 6 June). TC and JWC at Addiscombe (7–11). George Rennie calls (15; JWC's Journal, 15 June); JWC dines at the Pepolis with John Fergus (18; JWC's Journal, 18 June). TC signs contract for collected edn. of his works (with Alexander Gilchrist as volunteer ed.) with Chapman and Hall (18). Ellen Twisleton says goodbye “for this season” (19; 3JWC's Journal, 19 June). TC and JWC dine at “old Mr Richardsons” with the Milmans and the Aldersons (19; JWC's Journal, 19 June). JWC sees Jewsbury and Darwin (20; JWC's Journal, 20 June 1856). Concluding first part of Frederick, TC thinks of publishing it in the coming winter (20). John Carlyle and three of his stepsons are in Chelsea, frequently meeting TC. Countess Pepoli, Jewsbury, Charles Terrot, George Rennie, and others visit JWC (21, 22; JWC's Journal, 22 June). JWC visits Kensington Palace with Jewsbury and others and goes with TC to a family party of Lady Charlotte Portal's in the evening (24; JWC's Journal, 24 June); JWC goes to Hampstead with Jewsbury (27; JWC's Journal, 27 June 1856). TC and JWC dine at Lord Goderich's, where JWC remeets Sir Colin Campbell (28; JWC's Journal, 28 June). Sarah Ann Newton visits JWC (29; JWC's Journal, 29 June 1856). JWC lunches with Charlotte Williams Wynn, then goes to the dentist (30; JWC's Journal, 30 June).

July. JWC pays the rent and fire insurance on Cheyne Row and calls on Mrs. Farrer (1; JWC's Journal, 1 July). TC and Alexander Gilchrist begin to work together on the collected edn. (1). TC hesitates about going to Scotland for a holiday (1); JWC writes Mary Russell about a possible visit (3). JWC sits for her portrait to Emily Hawkes (3) and calls on Anna Dorothea Montagu (4; JWC's Journal, 4 July). JWC reads in Battersea Park in the morning and spends the evening alone “as usual” (5; JWC's Journal, 5 July). TC still reading widely, “continents of Prussian rubbish,” for Frederick (5), and arranges the binding of Voltaire's and Frederick's Oeuvres (8, 14). He suggests unsuccessfully to J. W. Parker that he publish a manuscript by Helen Mackenzie about her husband's involvement at Bolarum in India and arranges for Robert Tait to photograph the Ashburton's copy of Pesne's Little Drummer Boy (15). TC recommends Goethe's Wilhelm Meister to Lord Ashburton as essential reading on education (19). Browning comes to tea (20). The Carlyles travel to Scotland with Lady Ashburton in her private railway carriage; it catches fire (23). They stay first in Edinburgh, then Auchtertool, Fife (24), where JWC stays on, and TC goes to Scotsbrig (25) and Gill (27) to visit his family and sea-bathe. Alexander Gilchrist and Robson the printer in London embark on the collected edn., starting with The French Revolution, while Ann arranges to whitewash the kitchen at Cheyne Row. TC acknowledges Coventry Patmore's gift of Angel in the House, bk. 2 (31).

August. TC enjoys riding and sea bathing and quiet rest with his relatives. Tait's proof photograph of Pesne's “Little Drummer” arrives (1) and a parcel of larger copies (6); TC considers using it for the frontispiece of vol. 1 of Frederick. The Ashburtons are at their estate, Kinlochluichart, where TC sends Lady Ashburton copies of Tait's photographs of the Pesne painting (7). JWC stays with her cousins at Auchtertool until 6 Aug., visits her aunts in Morningside, Edinburgh, then the Donaldson sisters in Haddington (7). TC orders new clothes from Dumfries tailors, returns to Scotsbrig (7). He reassures Coventry Patmore he will try to find reviewers for his poems. JWC expected to return to Edinburgh to her aunts (12) but persuaded to remain in Haddington despite rain, while TC returns to Gill, arranges for his new clothes to be made up, writing to JWC for advice (12). He visits Jean Aitken in Dumfries (14). JWC is given two canaries born in her childhood home in Haddington; she returns to her aunts in Edinburgh (18–25) and then to Fife with a bad cold. TC begins to make some progress with the intro. to Frederick and moves between Scotsbrig, Dumfries, and Gill.

September. JWC, still at Auchtertool, writes to Maj. David Davidson of her future visiting plans (1). TC offers article by Gilchrist to North British Review (2); Gilchrist is working on editing TC's French Revolution for the collected edn. TC writes to Lady Ashburton of uncertainty of plans for traveling northward (2), invites John Carlyle to use 5 Cheyne Row (2), and writes to JWC of his complicated traveling arrangements (4). He leaves Gill for Ecclefechan (5) and Edinburgh by rail, stopping one night in Kirkcaldy (6), visiting Auchtertool briefly, then to Aberdeen by train (8), to Inverness by train and coach, and finally to Kinlochluichart to stay with the Ashburtons (10); the party includes Lord and Lady Grey. The post is infrequent, and letters cross one another; the weather is wet and windy. Lady Ashburton invites JWC, who, however, plans to visit Dumfriesshire (9). TC replies to Emerson's Aug. letter about a U.S. issue of TC's works from the stereotypes of the London edition (16). JWC recuperates with Jessie Fergus in Kirkcaldy, then (declining David Davidson at Stirling, and cousin Jeanie in Glasgow) makes a final visit to Auchtertool (13–14) and to Edinburgh, after a rough crossing and much seasickness, to visit her aunts (15), and on to Scotsbrig by train (16). Leaving there her two canaries, she visits Mary Russell at Thornhill (22). TC is not enjoying Kinlochluichart, “not ill in health, but decidedly uncomfortable. … [T]he Lady goes her own roads, the Lord is always deer-stalking … we are much obstructed by the state of the weather,” and asks JWC to send him two pounds (16); she sends a five-pound note (18). TC refuses an invitation from Edward Ellice to visit Glen Quoich and complains of “sprained ancles (not quite)” (23). TC tells John Carlyle that it is “a deplorable country,—good for the Painter with its fine lights, misty veils, rainbows, cliffs lochs and bursts of sunshine;—good also for the deer-stalker, but for no other person whatever” (25). JWC writes to Lady Ashburton requesting that she persuade TC to travel back to London “under their protection” (25), but TC insists on traveling as far as Inverness with the Ashburtons, then on to Edinburgh and Scotsbrig to accompany JWC home to Chelsea (29).