October 1856-July 1857

The Collected Letters, Volume 32


CHRONOLOGY; 2004; DOI: 10.1215/ed-32-chronology; CL 32: firstpage-32-xxvii-lastpage-32-xxix


October–December 1856

October. TC and JWC are reunited in Scotsbrig (1) and leave for London by train (4). Chapman & Hall discuss a U.S. edn. of Frederick. A drafty train, an infestation of bed bugs, and servant troubles at Cheyne Row lead to a collapse of JWC's health. TC settles to work in ill humor, using Neuberg for research and engaging Frederick Martin as amanuensis (25). His sister Jean's youngest child dies. He tries out a horse with a view to purchase (28).

November. Neuberg, despite family troubles, continues to help TC both with research and, along with Robert Farie, the acquisition of a horse. TC writes to Scotland for saddle and bridle (2). JWC's health remains poor, and she writes to Mary Russell, longing to be back in Scotland where “I am sure I should be well in twenty four hours after getting there” (5). After much hesitation TC buys a horse (“Fritz”), which serves him until 1863; unfortunately Fritz is lamed on his first outing (18) and has to rest after veterinary treatment. TC writes to his brother John that JWC has been confined indoors for five weeks (19) but her health is now slowly improving. Death of Mrs. Montagu (10), and of Adolph Frankau, Neuberg's brother-in-law (12). Fry the photographer applies to publish a reproduction of Cromwell's death-mask in TC's possession (21).

December. TC tells Emerson he cannot accept Phillips & Sampson's proposal for publishing a uniform edn. of Works in the U.S. (2). TC acknowledges and says he will keep in mind a previous offer of help from Vernon Lushington (5), which he then accepts when Alexander Gilchrist's work on revising The French Revolution for the cheap edn. is interrupted by the death of his brother (6). He also accepts help with indexing from Henry Larkin. TC replies to Delia Bacon's letter writing that she has a publisher for her book (14). Neuberg takes up new employment but continues to help TC (19). TC tells Lord Ashburton that Christmas this year will be a subdued affair in the house, with JWC scarcely recovered enough for company (20). JWC invites Craik to visit after a lapse of several years (20) and writes affectionately to Kate Ross apologizing for her long silence (27). Writing to his sister Jean (28), TC regrets the tragic deaths of Dr. Samuel Brown (d. 20 Sept.) and Hugh Miller, who had committed suicide (24).

January–July 1857

January. The two vols. of The French Revolution, the first in the cheap edn. of TC's Works, are pbd. 3 and 31 Jan. TC continues to work on both Frederick and the cheap edn. with Frederick Martin's assistance and also Vernon Lushington and Henry Larkin's help on the cheap edn. JWC's health improves and she is able to leave the house (21). TC is constantly overjoyed with his horse. He orders presentation copies of the first vols. of his cheap edn. for his friends and relatives.

February. TC, in a panic, mislays the MS of book 1 of Frederick (2) but apparently finds it again quickly. Larkin helps him with indexes; Lewes and Neuberg are invited to dinner on 4 Feb. (2). Lady Ashburton continues to be ill in Nice. JWC gets another cold (12). TC rides with Lord Goderich (11) and deals with correspondence, including new Cromwell letters (16). Frederick Martin “banished” to the British Museum or to his own house to work (13). Asked for a contribution to the Dumfries Album, TC sends “The Opera.” Visit from John Gordon, and to Lady Sandwich (23). TC is appointed a trustee for the new National Portrait Gallery (28), and vol. 1 of Cromwell is pbd. in the cheap edn. (28).

March. TC invites Richard Monckton Milnes to ride (3); he rides almost daily for health, while JWC is run down and very unwell. Frederick makes slow progress, TC feeling it is the most difficult of jobs: “the hatefullest and most disgustingly fashous contemptible and difficult I ever was in” (5). TC congratulates Arthur Helps on vol. 3 of The Spanish Conquest of America (10), dismisses Frederick Martin (21), attends a Portrait Gallery trustees' meeting (23), and asks David Laing for another copy of “Project of a National Exhibition of Scottish Portraits” for the Miscellanies in the cheap edn. (28). The first signs of his hernia appear (TC's Journal, 29) and cause him considerable discomfort. Palmerston calls an election (31).

April. Vol. 2 of Cromwell in the cheap edn. pbd. (4). TC, writing to Lady Ashburton, encourages both Ashburtons to set up “practical schools” for boys or girls (7); he decides he is too busy to participate in the appointment of a new librarian at the London Lib.; he recommends Frederick Martin to a copyist's position at the British Museum (8). JWC, writing to Helena Ferme (ca. 12 April), complains she has had only two weeks free of colds since her return from Scotland. TC thanks Lydia Miller, widow of Hugh Miller, for sending him Hugh Miller's Testimony of Rocks, in memory of her husband (15). TC rides “daily, to keep myself alive till the job be done” (20). Thackeray's daughters visit JWC (19). TC, strongly opposed by JWC, considers spending winter 1857–58 in Berlin. Tait's painting Susannah, which includes Nero, according to JWC, is to be exhibited (20). TC dines with the Forsters (29).

May. JWC is still very weak. TC, learning to cope with his hernia, is wearing a support; the first two vols. of Frederick are ready for Chapman to begin printing; Tauchnitz enquires about the possibility of an English-language edn. of Frederick, to follow their edns. of French Revolution; TC offers them Latter-Day Pamphlets (1). Vol. 3 of Cromwell in cheap edition pbd. (2). Larkin works on summaries of the Life of Schiller and Life of Sterling and on the Miscellanies for the cheap edn. Lady Ashburton dies in Paris (4). TC tells Neuberg: “I have had no such blow for a long while” (7). She is buried at the Grange with TC, Brookfield, and many others present (12). Frederick begins going to press (11), and TC receives £500 from Chapman & Hall for the cheap edn. of French Revolution and Cromwell (18). TC returns borrowed volumes to the Prussian embassy (21), visits Lady Sandwich and the Goderiches (23), and rides with Milnes (24). JWC, slowly recovering from a winter's ill-health, talks of going to Mary Russell in Scotland, but first visits Lady Downshire in Easthampstead Park (23–ca. 26).

June. TC, buried in work, is irritating JWC, who wants to go on holiday, but Anne is proving “a capital servant” (5). Lives of Schiller and Sterling pbd. in cheap edn. (10). JWC delays her decision about going to Scotland; she is improving the garden at Cheyne Row and “speculates … upon an ’Awning’ … against the blazes of July that are coming” (11); Douglas Jerrold dies; Henry Larkin researches maps for Frederick (11).

July. Robert Harrison appointed as the new librarian at London Lib. (2). TC writes to Chapman that there will be only four vols. (“not Five, if we can help it”) in all of Frederick and confirms that there will be two vols., not three, coming out “next summer [1858] (if all go well)” (7). JWC decides on a holiday in Haddington with the Donaldsons and makes the journey (which is miserable) with the Craiks by night train via Dunbar (7–8). Once there, briefly well, she relaxes, takes drives, visits old friends, walks, and attends the Episcopalian chapel with the Donaldsons (14). In Chelsea, Tait is taking photographs (16) and working on his painting A Chelsea Interior. The weather turns hot, and TC works on Frederick proofs in the garden under the awning, “almost 100 pages … off my hands” (24). JWC visits her old Haddington home (24). The newspapers are full of the Indian rebellion. TC sees Disraeli and his wife while out riding and calls on Lady Sandwich, who invites him to visit Addiscombe with her; Tait “paints incessantly here, and seems to me to make no progress at all”; he had “brought back his malodorous Photographing Apparatus” (26). JWC visits her aunts in Morningside, Edinburgh, and sees her old nurse, Betty Braid, and other friends (27–29). She then crosses the Forth to her cousins at Auchtertool (29). She refuses an invitation to visit Lady Airlie at Cortachy Castle (31).

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