October 1845-July 1846

The Collected Letters, Volume 20


TC TO LADY HARRIET BARING ; 5 November 1845; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18451105-TC-LHB-01; CL 20: 43-44


Chelsea, 5 Novr, 1845—

My dear Lady, You are a member of the London Library, or will be on Saturday first;—and you will never get out of it without paying £6 sterling! If it bring on a financial crisis,—alas, we must apply to your richer friends, we will never see you bankrupt among us, no! The sleepy Librarian has got the Fléchier of Thiers (an old Political Manuscript of the Esprit Fléchier's, not of much interest I should doubt);1 but the sleepy Librarian has tied it up somewhere among his bales, and cannot get it out. Here is what he has of attainable according to the List he sent me last night: over any or all of these you can command if they be of the smallest value; these are not yet put up into bales pray note what of them you would like, and they shall be ready for Mr Baring on Monday next. For the Fléchier also I will make another attempt; tho' I fear it will come to nothing with this fat gouty man of ours: slumber and dust and unswept cobwebs reign over his book-dominion; and when you poke him up, he merely utters good words, and rocks from side to side. Tell me if there is any other direction I can endeavour in.— Mr Baring, I think, will find at Stanhope Street the Titlepages, Indexes, and other outskirts of your Cromwell sheets; which, if they are all complete, a Gosport Binder will soon stitch to a book.2 A clean copy will be ready before long: but this present one we are to keep too, for a memorial, are we not? There will be no Portrait in it; which, as matters threaten to turn out, is perhaps an advantage. Today I am to go and look after the unfortunate Mechanic (“Artist,” as he calls himself) who is managing that,3 and decide finally whether his whole work is not to be thrown into the fire. If it were not for breaking the poor Booksellers' heart, I should at once decide that way: at all events, I shall know him and his “Artists” another time

As to his “day of Publication” I find there is no certainty in it till “between the 15th and 20th”; happily however I have discovered a way of managing that matter without staying here: so we will come independently of that. Another small matter out of Scotland seems to plead for a little delay: but this also we will cunningly eschew:—and on the whole, O Freundin [Friend], we will decide to come, we will actually hope to see your face, “about the end of next week,”—say “Friday or Saturday”!4 The day and the hour shall be duly specified, that none of your bounties may fall to the ground. And the Heavens, if they are kind, shall turn it to good; and evil shall not dwell in it;—for surely it does come out of Heaven, in a sense?

“All winter”:—O my Lady! Have you considered what the cares of sovreignty are; internal administrations, defence from foreign enemies; rule and management in general;—and that the Fall of Man is an anciently established fact? You have magnificent ideas; for which the Heavens and I will bless you;—and we will realize the same victoriously, so far as we may. But “three weeks” seems to me a much more reasonable date; in fact that is the general limit we have vaguely had in view here: and such it may continue,—as a Bill read a first time; and the sovereign lady and Estates of Parliament can fix it decisively when the term draws nigh.—

Have you decided what German Book you are to read? Let me know it, that I may bring a copy too— Have you a good German Dictionary? You ought to have a good one:—I think you learn all things very fast, German among others. Can I do anything other in the book way for you? Predict as exactly as you yet can.

For my own behoof I wish you would ask Lord Ashburton to lend me over to Bay House his copy of Matthew Paris and William of Malmesbury, old Latin Historians of England, (especially the latter, if he have him):5 I think they are both at The Grange; among a long row of white new Books (Historical Society Books, or some such title) between the end of that Piano where we heard the fine Scotch tune, and the window near the Drawing room door.

How is Lady Ashburton; is Lady Harriet still well? Here is a bright noon: cold abating fast on my part; cough otherwise rather on the increase;—but the wind has turned to the south which will help. Adieu dear Lady.

Ever yours, /