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Can't find a valid termcap file at .../Readline.pm

I used to have a slink system which was running basically just fine,
then in a moment of Neanderthal adventurism
decided to try to "upgrade" to potato in one fell swoop.
Well, I got swooped all right, and have been trying to dig myself out
from a hole of unknown depth ever since.
I'll spare the boring or exciting (depending on your mood) details,
and focus on one very specific remaining problem:
I had trouble running debconf in "gtk" mode,
so decided to back off and settle for just "text" mode in debconf.
But now whenever I do an 'apt-get install whatever',
I get the error message

Can't find a valid termcap file at /usr/lib/perl5/5.005/Term/ReadLine.pm line305

What do I need to (re)install to cure this,
without (further) breaking my system?


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