January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO ROBERT S. TAIT ; 7 August 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560807-TC-RST-01; CL 31: 152-153


Gill, 7 Augt, 1856—

Dear Tait,

Your valuable heavy Parcel came safe yesterday morning; full of beautiful impressions of the “Little Drummer,” the choicest ones on Card, as I could notice, of which due regard shall be had. I am again very much obliged to you.— These Copies will amply suffice for the present: but pray keep the “Negative” carefully, for it is of value.

Could you compute, with commercial accuracy, what the printing of, say, 2000 Copies, each on a bit of paper the size of a leaf of Macaulay's History,1 and in a colour sure of standing, would cost? There is no manner of hurry; but pray try by degrees. I have a notion such a frontispiece wd do very well for the first volume of such a Book as mine.2 No Engraving will ever come near that Photograph in point of excellence.

Meanwhile wd you do me another favour: Go to your Frame-maker,3 namely, and ascertain accurately what his charge for men's work, expended on this present adventure, amounts to. It would be intolerable to me to think of your being called to pay money over and above;—and this is one of the few points that can be got at. Plan to pay him at once, and I will pay you back in Postage-stamps; and so we will stop up that little hole.

I am still perfectly secluded here; and seem to myself to be making marked improvements in regard to the health department. We have had a week of the hottest weather known for 30 years. Yesterday it thundered all round in the distance, all day; and at length in the evening, right overhead, with copious down pouring for near an hour: today all is dry again, and it is as warm as ever. The thunder killed an Ox in the next farm, but did no other mischief that I hear of. The heat is most welcome to the farming world;—means broad bannocks for everybody,4 for which there was a bad outlook lately.

I have not heard from my Brother since the morning of his outset: he did not then seem to anticipate being home so soon as his word to you had indicated.— Foxton5 writes in a very cheery manner, inviting Cheyne Row to come and see Rhayader.6 Fn is brown as a berry, he says; his ill-health all gone, by virtue of rustic labours, and a natural way of life.

Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle