The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO THOMAS ERSKINE ; 12 July 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520712-TC-TE-01; CL 27: 164-165


Chelsea: July 12, 1852.

Dear Mr. Erskine,—I foresee that, by stress of weather and of other evil circumstances, I shall, in spite of my reluctance and inertia, be driven out of this shelter of mine—where I have already fled into the topmost corner with a few books; and, aided by a watering-pot, would so gladly defend myself as at first I hoped to do. The blaze of heat is almost intolerable to everybody; and alas! we, in addition, have the house full of workers, armed with planes, saws, pickaxes, dust-boxes, mortar-hods, the two upper storeys getting a “complete repair” which hitherto fills everything with noise, dust, confusion, and premonitions of despair. I foresee, especially if this hot weather holds, that I shall have to run. My wife, who is architect and factotum, will retire to some neighbour's house and sleep; but cannot leave the ground till she sees these two upper storeys made into her image of them. I have fled into a dressing-room far aloft; sit there very busy with certain books, also with watering-pot, which, all carpets &c. being off, is a great help to me. Here I would so gladly hold out; but in spite of wholesome and unwholesome inertias, shall too probably be obliged to fly. Whitherward? is now the question, and I am looking round on various azimuths to answer the same. Tell me, if you are, or are likely to be, tolerably solitary for a ten days at Linlathen, and about what time. A draught attracts me thither, so as to few other places. But alas! in every way there lie lions for me, weak in body and strong in imagination as I am. It seems sometimes as if, could you leave me daily six hours strictly private for my German reading, and send me down once a day to bathe in your glorious sea, I could try well not to be sulky company at other hours, and might do very well beside so friendly a soul as yours is to me always. Tell me, at any rate, how you are situated, and regard this pious thought, whether it becomes an action or not, as proof of my quiet trust in you. Hearty good wishes to all.

Yours ever truly,