Sarah Faraday and Faraday to Caroline Reid   28 and 29 July 1845

Paris July 28th Monday

Dearest Caroline

We are now in the midst of Paris engagements1 and I find it most agreeable to catch a few moments for writing. Yesterday I had fully expected to have an hour to spend with you in quiet [word illegible], as we were sitting reading together (us three) early for we feared interruption, Miss Janet Brown2 arrived, only think how curious, she had found our names on the list & was in the same Hotel, her brothers & sister were going out for the day & she was glad to spend it with us. We took a little walk in the Champs Elysees but found it like a fair & most grating to our feelings so we turned into the shady parts of the Gardens of the Tuileries for a while & then went to Mr J Bells3 when we were together & then dined between 5 & 6 o clock returning home here with them all to tea at least Mr & Mrs Bell4 & Miss Brown. And now dear Caroline we are wearying to get home and find we cannot leave Paris till Thursday as owing to the grand celebrations of the anniversary of the three days 5 there is no meeting of the Society till Wednesday6 & it is desirable that your Uncle should be at one; this causes us to be late in setting off and we may not be at home till Saturday7. We have seen two things that I much wished to see here - the Manufactory of the Gobelin tapestry & the Louvre both well worth seeing - the latter is a most wonderful collection & we (of course) could not see a tenth part as we ought, but I must tell you about the things when we meet. I am not such a sightseer as Miss Hornblower8, it is amazing what she did in that way, we hope & expect she is at home now as Mrs. Rose9 has received a newspaper. Your Uncle is of course a good deal away from us, being taken up with his scientific acquaintances. Monsieur Dumas called10 & I happened to be alone & though we did manage to understand each other it was with difficulty, but I sent for George who was in the Hotel & we invited him to stay & dine with us, as it was near dinner time which he did very pleasantly & we went & dined at his house a day or two afterwards11, we were much pleased with Madame Dumas & their family and it was a pleasant opportunity of seeing a little private French life. There are great preparations going on in the Gardens before us for the fireworks & rejoicing of tomorrow but every one says, "you cannot venture into them, the crowd is dreadful," however M. Arago has sent us tickets of admission to some place to see them12 but I am really doubtful whether it will be worth while to go for hours waiting for we know not what and you know dearest Caro13 that we feel one letter such as yours which speaks of persons & subjects dearest to our hearts is worth all the sight seeing put together - but as we are here we must not turn our backs upon the kind attention of our acquaintances[.]

I cannot help rejoicing that your mother14 is returning home for a while & we may all meet for a time, I hope I shall find you improved by your visit & Margery not worse than we left her, thanks to her & Annie15 for their letter it is the last we must expect Williams16 too was very pleasant.

Your Uncle George is busy making purchases which he hopes will benefit our nieces adding to our French Library, but we are very doubtful about real French works, so we have bought some translations which I daresay Mrs Marryton17 would not approve of, tho' Madame Dumas said the Swiss Robinson was so well translated that she should not have known it was a translation18, so George has that & we have two or three of Walter Scotts19 novels &c.

Now we are in our last week I begin to think of all I shall have to do on our return, Betseys20 wedding, change of servant &c &c &c.

The weather is rather changeable but perhaps better for us than very warm weather. I think upon the whole I am more pleased with the appearance of Paris than I expected to be - the trees are such a great beauty and grow so luxuriantly; the absence of soot makes the atmosphere so different & the statues & fine buildings so numerous & beautiful - tho' after Caen & Rouen I do not care much for the Chambre - we have a charming view from our rooms 4 stories high which looks into the Gardens of the Tuileries & tho' we cannot see far, for the trees are very high & thick, yet in such a bustling town to look as it were into a forest, where the trees are a little varied is very pleasant.

There is to be a general move when we move just after the fête so that we must expect all sorts of difficulties as to carriage however we have prepared our minds & trust to get home by Saturday at latest. I am concerned to hear that your Aunt William21 is not better but hope when we arrive to hear better accounts[.] Now with kindest love to my Father Mother & all friends believe me dear Caroline your affectionate Aunt S. Faraday

I thought you would like to see your Uncles writing and there are a few words quite like himself you will say. We have received a satisfactory account from James Faraday22 of his Father23 & we hope he is now way gaining health again it must have been a very alarming illness. Pray give our love to the Grays24 if you have an opportunity but I do not suppose you will now & we hope to give it ourselves next Sabbath. - SF Yesterday turned out very wet & to day it is also so far [word illegible] for the rejoicings at least the fireworks [word illegible].

Tuesday 29th

I am sorry this letter did not go yesterday but we were out rather unexpectedly and it was not sent.

Just six lines to my dear Nieces Maggy & Cary for no other purpose than an affectionate remembrance to them & to all. As to news or narrative the more I have the less able I am to tell it - as to affection I know I shall succeed there for I believe & know that there is no want of that & that the least sign given is as well understood as the largest. Ah me it seems long since we left you all I never leave home & England but the moment I am away from it I wish to be back & not less this time than any other. Love to Mother [MS torn] brother Robert & yourselves from your Uncle M. Faraday

Address: Misses C or M Reid | 26 Claremont Square | Pentonville | London

Postmark: 1 August 1845

Faraday, Sarah Faraday and George Barnard had left London on 7 July for France. They spent the first two weeks on the coast where Faraday examined various lighthouses. They arrived in Paris on 22 July. On 30 July Faraday was received into the Académie des Sciences (see Comptes Rendus, 1845, 21: 259). On 2 August they returned to London. For Faraday's diary of this journey see Bence Jones (1870a), 2: 214-25.
That is the July revolution of 1830.
That is 30 July 1845.
That is 2 August 1845.
Jemima Hanbury Hornblower (d.1861, age 61, GRO). Ran a school in Stamford Hill and was a Deaconess in the Sandemanian Church. Cantor (1991), 48.
On 23 July 1845. Bence Jones (1870a), 2: 222.
On 24 July 1845. Ibid.
See Ibid., for Faraday's diary entry for this day.
They did go on 29 July 1845. Ibid., 223.
Mary Reid.
Possibly Anna Barnard (1827-1898, GRO). A niece of both Sarah and Michael Faraday.
William Ker Reid (1832-1855, Reid, C.L. (1914)). A brother of Caroline and Margery Reid.
Unidentified. Reading doubtful.
Wyss (1812-27) translated into French, for example, as Wyss (1837).
Walter Scott (1771-1832, DNB). Scottish novelist.
Martha Barnard.
James Faraday (1817-1875, GRO). Gas engineer.
Robert Faraday.
Elizabeth Gray and Adam Greenlaw Gray (1778-1849, GRO), retired saddler.


BENCE JONES, Henry (1870a): The Life and Letters of Faraday, 1st edition, 2 volumes, London.

WYSS, Johann David (1812-27): Der schweizerische Robinson, 4 volumes, Zurich.

WYSS, Johann David (1837): Le Robinson suisse, 2 volumes, Paris.