August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


JWC TO THOMAS WOOLNER ; 3 June 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580603-JWC-TWO-01; CL 33: 234-236


5, Cheyne Row, Chelsea, Thursday [3 June 1858]


I was very vexed, in fact savage at finding your card again! It was such an unlikely accident my being out that day! My husband, having no proof-sheets on hand, was suddenly struck with my “thinness” and “paleness” and decided on taking me “a few miles on a railway to try if that would put any life into me!” and we were away trying when you called.

As to Farringford1 I need no representations to make me feel its desirableness! The idea of being in the country with the Tennysons is quite tempting enough; independent of “beauty of scenery” etc. etc.! But till Mr. C. is gone to Scotland, and has settled his further plans, it is no use, I know, entertaining a plan of my own. There is talk of my meeting him in Yorkshire and in various parts of Great Britain! I must just wait till I know if I am wanted, before I think about what I wish.2 If I am allowed “to wander at my own sweet will,”3 however, and Mrs. Tennyson's angelic invitation be still open then, I should really, I think, be able to muster faith and hope and even physical strength enough to go to her for a few days.

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A Chelsea Interior by Robert Tait (detail)

Courtesy of the National Trust Photographic Library and Michael Boys


I wish Tait had not painted Nero as big as a sheep!4 That is what provokes me; more than being transmitted to “Posterity” in “wrong perspective”5 and with a “frightful table cover!"

Yours very truly,


Sunday [6 June]! Oh my gracious! I took this note to the post myself with some others on Monday6 afternoon and I find it in the pocket of my dress this morning.