The Collected Letters, Volume 27


JWC TO THOMAS CARLYLE ; 27 August 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520827-JWC-TC-01; CL 27: 257-259


Friday [27 August 1852]

Oh my Dear I should be thankful to know you fairly in the steam boat, “all right”— I am sitting in momentary expectation of your passport— Feeling no certainty that I should find the Ashburtons at tea time yesterday; there having been as yet only one change on their programme, I made Darwin drive me there before going to the Balloon1 and learnt from George2 that my presentiment was correct—a letter had come that morning saying they “had not crossed” and were not to be looked for till late, if at all last night”— I went on to see that poor boy off, meaning to drive afterwards to Bunsen's—without much hope however of finding him—but at the Balloon I was addressed by Captain Strachey, who thro' his brother George3 in the Foreign Office undertook to manage the thing for me in a correct manner and before post time today— It might be necessary, he said, to forge your signature so I gave them a piece of your letter to copy from— It is now half after three and Capt Strachey is not come yet—surely he will come! But if, in spite of his solemn assurance given in full knowledge of the haste required, this passport should not come in time for todays post to Edinr it shall still meet you at Rotterdam or a passport shall meet you there— I rushed up to Bath house this morning at ten—and found they had arrived last night at eleven— if Strachey failed today, which Lord A considered “impossible” he would do the needful for me tomorrow— But I wish to Heaven Strachey may come—I am as nervous and flurriable as yourself today—Had little sleep last night—thro expecting that boy down from the skies— At one in the morning a telegraph Despatch came from him (at the public expense) But the awful double-knock at one in the morning, and the hollow-voiced man in green who presented the letter, and the evasion of Nero who full of sleep thought it was Mr Piper come for him and went off with the Telegraph Man without my noticing—and only returned after I had come down stairs and unbarred the door for the second time and whistled some ten minutes in the streets! All that was not a good preparation for a nights rest—

Both Lord and Lady A looked quite well— I showed him your great desire to have him with you—and he answered politely he would like it &c but without an idea of going—

I was to go back in the evening, but shall not, unless it is necessary to go about the passport for they are tumbling all the things out of my bedroom—and I must go to Hemus Terrace to sleep—and Mrs Thorburn has not been warned yet!

And Fanny4 too comes tonight and I am busy and fussed to death and not at all up to visiting!—


Oh if Strachey would come!

It is ten minutes past four and no Capt Strachey it is just possible he may for want of time be sending the thing off himself I told him to do that if run to the last moment by delays—but he should have sent to warn me— I must send this off not to miss the post myself— I shall then go in search of Capt Strachey—(happily I took his address)—the Foreign Office will be closed I fear—and having ascertained what he has done or not done I will then go after Lord Ashburton— So that if no passport is at the Post Office Edinr you may certainly expect it at Rotterdam

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