Correspondence

2950.  RB to Thomas Carlyle

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 17, 109–110.

26 Devonshire St

Tuesday. [Postmark: 23 September 1851]

Dear Mr Carlyle,

I find to my great vexation that I have missed you—& I am unfortunately engaged this evening. Can I write anything that will serve?

We leave London on Thursday: the L. Brighton & South Coast Railway’s Express train (I suppose) leaves the L. Bridge terminus at 10 a.m. & arrives at Newhaven by 12.10m– A steamer leaves Newhaven, on that day at 1.30m p.m. for Dieppe. (Next day, an hour later,—& so following) From Dieppe the trains go through Rouen to Paris at 7.15m 11.35m A.M. and 4.30./9.45 P.M. to arrive by 2.15m/4./ & 11.5m/5. P.M. We purpose staying all night at Dieppe, and leaving in the morning,—for our child’s sake. At Paris we go to the Armes de la Ville de Paris, Rue de la Michodière, Boulevard des Italiens—a very small place that we know. What our delight would be if by any combination you could accompany us, I shall not need, I hope, to say.[1] The objection to this route is the length of the sea-passage—but the day passage is in our favour. We were, I think, some eight hours on board, with bad weather, & hope better things now. This route is the cheapest, however—& having return tickets we can hardly change our plans. I write in utmost haste—can I do anything—beyond earnestly wishing?

With truest regard to Mrs Carlyle,

Pray believe me, as ever,

Yours faithfully

R Browning.

Address: Thomas Carlyle Esq. / Cheyne Row, / Chelsea.

Publication: LRB, p. 34.

Manuscript: Armstrong Browning Library.

1. Carlyle did accompany them. He had been planning to visit Paris in order to meet Lord and Lady Ashburton. On Monday, 22 September, while at Chapman and Hall’s offices, Carlyle heard that the Brownings were leaving soon for Paris. “I walked to their place—had, during that day and the following, consultations with these fellow pilgrims; and decided to go with them, by Dieppe, on Thursday; Wednesday had been my original day, but I postponed it for the sake of company who knew the way” (Last Words, p. 151). For Carlyle’s account of his “Excursion (Futile Enough) to Paris,” see Last Words, pp. 149–191.

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