The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO CHARLES REDWOOD; 26 December 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511226-TC-CR-01; CL 26: 279


The Grange, Hampshire / 26 Decr, 1851—

Dear Redwood,

Tho' we are not at Chelsea this Christmas, we learn that your good gifts are duly there, waiting to welcome our return: thanks for your modest silent friendliness, which fails no year!— We shall be home again in time to see what real Welsh mutton is, after all; and shall duly remember the Giver, whose constant kind thought of us, in his still solitudes, is beautiful and valuable to us.

This is the Lord Ashburton's big Mansion, this ancient “Grange” of the Winchester Monks; now for the last 3 centuries a secular abode of dignitaries. My Wife has been here almost a month, I nearly a fortnight,—one of the gaudiest, kindliest, and alas utterly idlest scenes. We have had celebrities and grandiosities (Macaulays, Lansdownes &c &c),—to me there has nothing been of really perceptible profit and enjoyment, except the daily ride of two hours whh I execute alone in these entirely silent woods and rustic lanes, not without abstruse reflexions, and emotions often of a far other than laughing character! On the whole we are right glad at the prospect of silence and quiet in our little Chelsea hut again: I, for one, have had quite enough of this for one while.

Last night there had secretly come a “brass band,” really of rather excellt quality, from the neighbouring Town or Village of Alresford (4 miles off too): they had stationed themselves, in the dark, under a huge greek portico there is here; and suddenly the black night burst into Auld Lang Syne,1 and other soft-breathing articulate, melody which lasted for an hour, and was really touching to the feelings here and there. The night before, immensities of little gifts had been delivered, round a Xmas tree, to all the Labourers' children &c; ending with due tea, due cake and bun. Christmas comes but once a year!— Adieu, dear Redwood: with many thanks with many Good Newyears. God bless you. T. Carlyle