James Joseph Sylvester to Barbara Leigh Bodichon

Scope and Content

Autograph letter, signed, 4pp. on Athenaeum Club letterhead.

'My dear Madame Bodichon -- It was a great pleasure to me to receive your nice note -- the next greatest to seeing you -- as it proved to me that you must be recovering or have fully recovered your former health and strength -- if the handwriting may be taken as a criterion on these points. [Barbara Bodichon had suffered a stroke in 1877.] And then it was very kind of you to think of me and / / to take the trouble of writing.For news of scientific meetings I must refer you to 'Nature' which I suppose you take in and strongly recommend to you to if you do not already do so. I was three days at Dublin under the gentle compulsion of friends when the British Association met there on the 14th. On the 22nd the French Association for the Advancement of Science met for the first time in / / their history at Paris (on account of the Exhibition) -- the meeting was expected to be a very brilliant affair but I regret (on account of the opportunity it afforded of meeting foreign mathematicians) that I was unable to be present. On the 21st of Septr I expect to be on my way out to New York -- and hope to resume the work which I was engaged upon in Algebra which my visit to Europe has sadly interrupted / / It is most probable that I shall not return to Europe in the ensuing year. Profr Clifford is back from Italy. He was last at Cromer whence he returned yesterday to pass a few days in London until ordered away to some better climate by Dr Andrew Clarke whose directions he follows implicitly. His voice is very feeble and he is not in a fit state to give public lecturers -- but his mind remains fully active and under the care and inspiriting tenderness of a really womanly wife, I think there is a fair hope that his valuable life may still be spared for many years to come. With kind regards to Dr Bodichon believe me ever yours truly JJ Sylvester.'

[William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) was a Cambridge mathematician who had gone to Algiers for his health in 1876.]