The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON; 13 September 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18510913-TC-LA-01; CL 26: 172-174


Scotsbrig, 13 Septr, 1851—

The kind little slip of paper, dated “Interlachen 8th” last, came to hand this day; a thousand thanks for it: to my poor weak imagination it has been a wonderful solace. I answer, in great haste, but without delay, tho' there is still nothing more to be said since the vague story I wrote two days ago, which probably they have forwarded from Bath House: either it or this or both of them ought to be “waiting”; and if you come on Monday, there is not a post to spare. How one's poor mind, in sick humours, does go wandering! You shew me, very unconsciously you, the solid rocks and firm foundations again, and spectral vapours settle into what they are:—and I am much happier already, let Paris go as it will. Oh, my Lady—But we will say nothing; at present nothing, perhaps forever nothing, tho' I suppose you too can read it well enough unsaid.— How strange, since (as Dr Gully says) we are made almost altogether of water (hardly a 20th part of us solid matter, and that mostly lime, magnesia and the like) that human creatures should be so important to one another!— But, in all ways, whether of water or not, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.1 And some of us are very well made too; and are inexpressibly beautiful and good,—and were made in Heaven, the essence of them, I do believe!—

Today I learn from Jane that she had addressed herself to Blanche at Alderley for light about our four days there,—“four days next week,”—or rather she has with delicate propriety insinuated that as the wedding is so near, might not a flying visit of one day without night, from herself, while now in the neighbourhood, be the more appropriate method? No answer had yet had time to come, owing to mistakes, but was hourly expected: if it be in favour of the half-day plan, it will be well for Paris and me! But I shall not know till probably Monday:2—and in the meantime what can I say? Yes, what! Any day after Monday I hold myself in readiness to start from this; but if Alderley do lie in the road, we are at the end of the week before reaching Chelsea; and of your “ten days” how many are gone before I could be with you? At the most only some 4 left to me after such a whirl on railways. Alas, alas!— You need not at any rate make any provision of room for me till you hear farther: in any and every case, one bedroom (the nearer the garret the quieter I suppose) is all that M. Caillet3 could do for me; and that is probably always attainable. But on the whole, the 4 days,—does not that of itself say no to the enterprise? If there be but four days. Certain it is, moreover, that in Paris there will simply be one human soul whom I want to be in sight of,—the rest without exception I had fully rather not be in sight of;—and this invaluable unit shall I not see this one in a day or two by simply staying where I am? You will have to be at Addiscombe, will you not? A day or two at Addiscombe (were all else equal), how much pleasanter than Paris with its unmelodious noises and inanities! And yet, and yet— On the whole, will you write again, whenever you do come, and have fixed approximately as to times; direct to Chelsea as the surest: by the time I see that, my decision will at last be positive,—and I shall have another word with you at any rate by that method.— You will see Cavaignac at any rate, I hope?4 Pray also give my real regards to Lady Sandwich:5 a good Lady whom I honour in several essential respects, and cordially wish well to. Oh, be good to her! You will find no other altogether like her in this world. And a day will come, a sad day, when all your tolerances will be great possessions to you.

Thanks for the scarf to Jane, a thousand thank[s]6 O noble woman. You are good and royal; and to me when I think of everything the most miraculous being (or nearly so) that has been created in these epochs.

So soon as the Alderley news come, I will write a word again; at latest, so soon as your Chelsea Letter7 (which will be forwarded if needful) comes to hand. Adieu, and blessings on you