April-December 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 18


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON ; 26 October 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18441026-TC-LAAL-01; CL 18: 249-251


Chelsea, 26 Octr, 1844—

Dear Lady Ashburton,

Some weeks ago, a vague bad hearsay incidentally came to me, That your hurt was not prospering so well as the Surgeon had at first anticipated. Since then I have heard nothing whatever;—having indeed been out of the way of hearing anything; living apart from all extant human creatures; conversing only, in a very sorrowful manner, with those that are past and dead two centuries ago! You will do me a real satisfaction if you can assure me that the news are now of a better complexion. Perhaps they were never so bad as the hearsay represented. At all events, I should like to know how you actually are: “Time and Patience!” Time is running on always; and your energetic Patience, I think, will not fail you!—

Our French Travellers are probably near Nice by this time? We hear not a word from any of the parties. My Wife had a Note, several weeks ago, from some of the Bullers, despatched, if I remember, from Chalons-sur-Soane; a general rendezvous at Lyons was shadowed forth there; which we suppose took effect.1 It is our last hint even for a guess: the rest is all invisibility and good hope— Our weather is very disagreeable here; many things are disagreeable;—nevertheless one has to say in many senses, under all kinds of weather and circumstance, “Blessed is he that continueth where he is!” Such blessedness we will anticipate for the brave Lady, next year, and the coming years.

Emerson is publishing a new Volume of Essays; which, I imagine, you will have to read. The Bookseller here sends me the Sheets of the Reprint: I find it a very attractive, yet rather a stiff kind of reading. The noblest spirit looks thro' the man; an Old-Greek spirit in the form of a new and newest New-Englander: but he writes very much into the vague, like a man soliloquizing in unpeopled vacancy; sometimes in a distressingly fantastic manner, really hard even to understand. His little aphoristic enigmatic sentences do not cohere: the paragraph, the Essay generally, is not like a solid ingot of metal but like a well-tied, bag of shot,—so many pounds of lead-drops held together by a tight piece of canvas!— A much better Book for you, if you have it not already, will be Walpole's last Series of Letters to Horace Mann.2 They are full of English news, written during and after the American War. Harsh, bitter, withered so far as I have looked; but full of vivacity, pictorial distinctness, and very amusing to read.

Philip Pusey has abolished the Game Laws on his Estate: the Tenants are to preserve the game or shoot it as they please, only to have no prosecutions on the Game Act! It is verily so. A good old Clergyman, to whom I reported the matter, exclaimed almost with tears, “May the Almighty bless him!”— —

I ought to have stopt long ago; having my whole day's-work still before me, and nothing but an emphatic How-are-you really calling to be written:—and now my Paper stops me.— Yours most truly

T. Carlyle