August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


CHRONOLOGY; 2005; DOI: 10.1215/ed-33-chronology; CL 33: firstpage-33-xxxiii-lastpage-33-xxxvi


1857 August. TC, working in Chelsea in the summer heat, often under an awning in the garden, writes to JWC staying with her cousins in Auchtertool, Fife. Tait has been photographing Cheyne Row and is working on A Chelsea Interior. TC rides to Addiscombe (3–4), but notes, “I pretty much have the Town to myself.” JWC is restless, irritated by household annoyances at Auchtertool: “I sleep shockingly, and the sickness has come back” (3); she declines invitations to Scotsbrig, Thornhill, and Cortachy Castle. Larkin has been “amazingly useful” (11) to TC in his writing, and is helping with maps. Printing of Frederick has begun; further volumes of the cheap edition are published. TC notes widespread prosperity and an excellent harvest after good summer weather (11), but warns of looming financial crisis (13). JWC leaves Auchtertool to stay with her aunts in Edinburgh (13). TC asks Larkin and Charles Robson to send an early copy of Frederick to his brother John in Scotland. TC complains that there are few visitors, despite visits from Woolner, Lady Downshire, Darwin, and Geraldine Jewsbury (17, 25); Jewsbury writes to JWC with Chelsea news (18) that annoys JWC. She enjoys being with her aunts and visiting friends in Edinburgh (26) before going on to an affectionate welcome from the Donaldsons in Haddington. TC finds progress on Frederick slow and difficult. He rides regularly, usually alone, once with Lord Goderich (27).

September. TC works in Cheyne Row, trying to control his irritability, while JWC goes to stay with the Donaldsons in Haddington. Weather oppressively hot in London, and TC longs to have JWC home, “if you were in harness beside me again” (3). He dines twice with Lady Sandwich and rides for exercise, while during the day he works hard on proofs. JWC hesitates about her railway route back to London, finally choosing the east coast line (9); she returns to London in improved health. Count von Usedom sends TC materials for Frederick (10); TC expects more trouble to come in India (15); and with Larkin's help, TC begins preparing maps for Frederick (16). David Hope's death brings a sense of loneliness and of old friends dying (17). JWC's good health continues, but she soon gets another cold (17).

October. Larkin book-hunts for TC and, with Lushington, prepares indexes and revisions for the reprints of Sartor and Heroes. Varnhagen von Ense provides material on Voltaire for Frederick (7). JWC complains she has lost her “fine gift of walking” and misses the exercise; her cold finally abates (8). TC tells Chapman, his publisher, that two volumes of Frederick will be ready for the printer in March (in the event, June) 1858 and asks him to think about American publication arrangements (25).

November. TC acknowledges Robert Story's finely printed Poems (1). He asks Neuberg to do the summaries and indexes for the Chartism and Past and Present volumes of the new cheap edition (2), while he concentrates on Frederick. JWC writes affectionately to David Davidson with reminiscences of Haddington (5). Neuberg is translating Frederick for a German edition (1858–59) (13); TC revises earlier work for republication in the cheap edition of his Works and works on Frederick, though he feels in his darker moments “as if I never shd get thro' it alive” (15). There is a London stock market crisis following a financial panic in the United States. JWC complains of Tait's excessive attention to detail, painting their home “with Vandyke fidelity” for A Chelsea Interior (20). Maggie and Mary Welsh are to visit at Chelsea en route to the Isle of Wight, and JWC has carpenters and seamstresses in the house to repair earlier flood damage to the spare bed in preparation for their visit; the servant Anne gets a beetle in her ear, which the apothecary “extracted piecemeal” (23).

December. J. H. Stirling visits (1). Tait continues to paint downstairs, getting on both the Carlyles' nerves. The steamship Leviathan is proving difficult to launch into the Thames (7). TC, overwhelmed with work, refuses most invitations, and leaves the detail of the cheap edition increasingly to Larkin. Maggie and Mary Welsh visit (14–24). “My book goes lumbering on” (20), the printers as usual finding TC's manuscripts difficult. Provisions arrive from Scotsbrig, including oatmeal (23). Printing of first two volumes of Frederick advances and “Xmas and the two days following” are spent “with the most refractory set of Proofsheets I expect in this work” (28). Ruskin sends his lectures on The Political Economy of Art, “not bad of their kind” (28). Both send New Year wishes to friends and family. JWC is glad that her cousins' visit is over, and that she has so far escaped her normal winter cold (29).

January–June 1858

January. TC retrieves proofs of Frederick volumes 1 and 2 from Forster (1). Larkin is helping with the maps, but TC reports himself “crushed down with contemptible overwhelming labour this long time” (3). He is glad to hear from Leigh Hunt after a long silence (3). A. J. Scott visits (4). For relaxation, TC joins Lord Ashburton at The Grange to ride on the Hampshire Downs (16–20); TC leaves his horse, Fritz, there to rest during the cold weather. Despite intending to join TC at The Grange JWC remains at Cheyne Row suffering from a cold. Jewsbury is in Manchester, and the Carlyles' servant, Anne, is being difficult. Jewsbury returns while TC is at The Grange, just in time to have “her judgement commuted” (18). Nero is ill. Neuberg in particular helps TC with proofreading Frederick. JWC gratified to receive pictures of Haddington from Lady Kinloch, “crying, these ten minutes like a little Girl” (27). JWC acknowledges Scenes of Clerical Life in a letter to George Eliot beginning “Dear Sir” (21). TC, on his return to Chelsea, tackles some ninety pages of proofs, and finds the masons troublesome as they repair the fireplaces.

February. JWC “still a close prisoner” with the cold (10) and intensely irritated by the servant, Anne, with whom relations have broken down; Anne is to leave at the end of March. Emilie Hawkes is painting JWC for a Royal Exhibition show. Geraldine Jewsbury is a frequent visitor. She wants to talk about Walter Mantell, but JWC will not allow it. TC writes a testimonial for Thomas Ballantyne to Lord Grey, presumably to help Ballantyne to raise money for the Statesman (14). He thanks Larkin for his work on Frederick and Sartor and warns him he will be needed for the index to volume 2 of Frederick (15). Neuberg is busy throughout with research, and Larkin with maps, for Frederick.

March. TC describes Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre as the best modern book there is on education (3). TC, declining invitation from Lady Stanley (9), begins gathering data for the corrections to the reprint of Cromwell (21): the printers are “sluggish to a pitch” (23), and “I never was so solitary intrinsically” (26). JWC has a relapse of cold (25), and the change of servants make it worse. Larkin is “a very indispensable blessing” to TC in his difficulties (26). On the day the new servant, Miss Cameron, starts, TC is invited (to Jane's relief) to Addiscombe by Lord Ashburton (29).

April. TC returns to Cheyne Row (1) and finds the new servant satisfactory to JWC, though inexperienced. Larkin's brother offers to engrave the maps for Frederick. JWC tries to persuade David Davidson to come to London to serve on a committee for Indian questions. The new servant suddenly absconds and leaves the Carlyles servantless (15). TC, “on my last Chapter” of first part of Frederick, envisages completion at the end of May, and promises himself a long rest (16). The cheap edition is almost finished. TC, thanking Montégut for some French volumes, asks for specialist works on Frederick (16). TC dines at Lord Ashburton's where Tyndall says that he and TC were “the most joyful pair at the table.” He receives a picture of Frederick by Francke from William Warren Vernon (22). JWC sends family photographs, unframed, to Mary Austin and promises to bring frames later.

May. A Chelsea Interior exhibited at the Royal Academy (preview, 1; public opening, 3). The Carlyles go to Addiscombe for a rest (3–10), JWC's health steadily improving; TC has almost finished the copy for Frederick (2): “Truly I am quite worn out.” He rides with Lord Ashburton and his health improves; he contemplates a trip to Scotland. JWC uses her leisure to write to Betty Braid in Edinburgh and to Charlotte Southam, age sixteen, her temporary maid in Chelsea (8). JWC asks their neighbor Anne Gilchrist to give her tuition in baking (15) before the arrival of her cousins Maggie and Mary (16) for a visit; they come twice to Chelsea (16, 27) but do not stay. Charlotte is installed as permanent maid, “such a kindly, human, open little girl!” (ca. 16). JWC continues a warm correspondence with Mary Russell with exchange of gifts. TC writes to Richard Owen about bones uncovered in excavations in Belgrave Square (17) and feels very restless as printing of Frederick is slow, preventing him from planning a holiday; the last proofs arrive at the end of the month.

June. TC writes to Emerson in answer to a letter of 17 May, saying Emerson's friends the Longworths will be welcome at Cheyne Row (2). Thomas Woolner invites JWC to Farringford on behalf of Emily Tennyson, but she refuses (3). Dickens's separation from his wife, Catherine, is finalized (12) and talked about in the newspapers. TC's proofreading, with Chorley's help, is complete (8); index and maps all but ready; publication is expected in September in two volumes, but with the number of pages equivalent to three; TC tells Chapman he should be paid accordingly (9); he leaves the financial details of bargaining with Chapman to John Forster (11). The weather turns hot; TC writes in the garden at Chelsea under an awning (12) and wishes to leave for the countryside and find quarters for his horse, contemplating a steamer from Liverpool to Scotsbrig, and considering a visit to Whitby to see a house they have been offered as a seaside retreat (18). Both Carlyles go briefly to Albury (19–21) to visit Henry Drummond. TC finally sets off for Scotland (23), directly by the west coast line, abandoning the visit to Whitby and making overnight for the Gill (24). JWC writes to TC about the price of Tait's Chelsea Interior picture, which Lord Ashburton has bought (27), and relaxes in peace at Cheyne Row, enjoying being “well let alone” (27). TC sends a friendly letter to John Stuart Mill (28) and an apologetic letter to JWC (28) for his bad temper in the London heat; his sister Jean visits him at the Gill “nothing like so cheery & merry as she once was” (30). He writes letters of recommendation for A. J. Scott, who is hoping to lecture in the United States (30).