candlestick

July 1847-March 1848


The Collected Letters, Volume 22


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TC TO LADY HARRIET BARING ; 6 November 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471106-TC-LHB-01; CL 22: 152-153


TC TO LADY HARRIET BARING

Chelsea, 6 Novr, 1847—

My salutations to you, Lady fair. I never think of you but when I write, and that is very rarely now. Such is the fact, is it not? I did love you once, but do not any more. A most alarming consideration!— —

Well, let me hope you have sunshine at Alverstoke; sunshine and a cheerful merry heart, as heretofore. A merry heart is beautiful and a virtue: so is a sad heart too, in its way, provided it can become a composed one.— We here are very foggy; clammy dark November weather, the sight of the sun a rarity: today I think it is raining, the other night we had a regular black fog, strong smell of soot and the other accompaniments: we cannot help it; we do entirely believe that the sun still shines, that half a mile above these odious vapours there is nothing else but sunshine. Which is a glorious faith; and helps one wonderfully along, in the worst of weather.

Today I have not a moment: that infatuated man of chisels claims me, four miles off, in an hour,—may the Devil fly away with him!1 But two journeys more are to finish him: this day week I shall have done with that affair; then let him catch me at it again.

I have burnt up considerable quantities of rubbish: alas, much yet remains; nor is any clear course of action, even in the way of writing Books, yet opened for me. I feel utterly sick of the wretched lake of twaddle in which all things lie soaked and putrefying, and have long lain. For the few years that yet may remain to me I would so fain do something wise and useful! I too have a kind of word to speak; a terrible word, if I could get it out of me. Or if it will stay in me, may not that be perhaps as good? “Fame” &c is literally not worth one penny to me: but it is sad, in this divine universe, to be an undivine thing; an empty soap-bubble, blown about by every wind, as the others are, and then collapse into a drop of sour suds to all Eternity,—trampled down to Hela's realms,2 no place among the Brave, at all forevermore! Really this is true, tho' I phrase it wildly. True too for you, my Heroine,—ah me!

I find, by indisputable traces, the first Earl of Sandwich was Captain in Oliver's Ironsides.3 Raised the “St Neot's Troop” while hardly yet eighteen, and fought in it; a brave young Ironside, beautiful to see! And against his Father's will too, I rather apprehend. There is a man for you,—before the Ages of Cant began. By God's blessing they shall end yet; and Hudson and Albert, and the Bp of Oxford and Lord John, and the British Parliament and the Thirty-nine Articles,4 and whole troops of Phantasms shall go and not return!

May blessings forever be on you, dear lady; Queen by Nature, if I ever saw a Queen! I thought to snatch you from amid the Phantasms; and perhaps it will not and cannot be? Perhaps rather the reverse can be? No, may the gods forbid!— Farewell, O Queen; blessings on you always.

T.C.