1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON; 1 June 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540601-TC-LA-01; CL 29: 108-110


Chelsea, 1 june, 1854—

Dear Lady, dear Friend,—If I had anything that was pleasant or useful to send you out of this high garret of mine, how gladly would I! But there is nothing such; nothing to say that you do not either know, or that were better not said;—and here is such a sputtering vile pen, and such scandalous paper; made as all things are, on the “cheap and nasty” principle! A most poor garret this, inhabited by a solitary, who may be defined at present as the poorest of all souls that now are.— However, it is certain said poor soul still continues well affected to your high Nobleness, very much so indeed; and it seems natural I should continue to wave you some melancholy signal now and then so long as we both continue living on this Earth.

My garret really, after all, is not so bad; lumin1 as day, almost too much light rather, and almost perfectly silent (for all practical purposes), at least on windy days, when I can get it shut completely. For example, all is clangorous with bells &c (God knows for what) when I go down into the Garden; and up here there is nothing to be heard but the general howl of the East wind,—all bells, organs, dogs, fishwomen, Times articles and other noises beneficently swept away in it. The misfortune is, I am lamed and broken utterly in my own inner man; unable yet to rally heartily, and get on fire for any victory of working or endeavouring,—“victory,” alas, alas! However I am getting up the needful Books &c about me; getting accustomed to the strange place; trying daily to do some vestige of work;—above all things, getting daily more wretched, desperate, and utterly enraged at myself, so long as I can do none. You know the nature of the beast; not alterable by hellebore or human art: pray for the poor devil, and don't be quite angry at him till we see!—

I met a great crowd of known faces about Hyde Park Corner on Sunday,—few or none of them beautiful to me, unluckily;—and I had not time to go and look at Bath House, and convince myself that it still stood there. The bird was flown; I knew; the Bird of Paradise, and even the Green Chimera;2 but I hoped they would come back to me in a week again. One Adderley (whom I think you love) informed me the Twisletons were now in Paris; due here on the 10th; Twisleton and the Petite are therefore to be restored to us: blessings of their sort, perhaps, as matters go. The said Adderley, a well-intentioned, placid, and I doubt always rather stolid man, poked into me some questions, of Parlt, of the Turk war; got nothing out of me but mere fire and brimstone, of which I was heartily ashamed, so soon as I got away from the astonished country gentn and the poor young ladies he had about him.3 Fleming4 came next: “A message from Lady Alice Peel”!5 cried the divine Fleming, with triumph in his eyes. Unluckily I knew nothing of this Lady, except incidental rumour of her name, thro' Another very greatly more important to me: “Lady Ashburton is to be there,” said Fleming; “and the Duc d'Aumale,6 and”—in fine he has sent a Note yesterday (which burn); but I promised nothing; and cannot by any means go; and am thinking only to manage that in the politest way,—which I suppose will be by silence, and a card left afterwards?

Senior hove in sight afterwards; fat and jolly himself;7 full of news about the general “detestation” everybody in Paris felt for everybody,—of a general union (on the Senior plan) produced by mutual repulsions,—which is a very unprofitable speculation to me. Senior vanished, however, and everybody vanished; and one was left alone with the dark riddle of things,—and a few dull Books on the History of the Heilige Römische Reich [Holy Roman Empire].— The day before yesterday I even left a card at Stafford House for your sublime Friend;8 was even ready for a brief interview, had the flunkies been propitious; but they were not; in fact I believe her Highness had really gone out to walk before dinner. That account at any rate was settled.— Today I am for the lanes and Parks; do not mean to see London Town at all; having got little but weariness, chagrin and contemptible sorrow out of it since a certain human being went to live elsewhere for a time.

Today there is a stormy wind blowing down the great Avenue at The Grange; you must go southwards (on the back of Patience) if you are well advised. Abbotston Down,9 shd you be rash enough to climb thither, will quite blow you to pieces; at least blow bonnet and ugly both away, and you will return home in a distressed condition!— However, I hope Lord An is getting fast on; and that you have a pleasant interval of quiet, you too, among the summer luxuriances and blessed solitudes there.— If you know of anybody aiming for “German Education,” this is the Wilson sent by me to that country;10 please send his Paper (which is all true, I believe)[to]11 such fit party: if you know none, burn and forget it at once. On Monday afternoon I hope to see you,12—once more a sight worth something to me in this world. Till then, and ever, I give you to the keeping of whatever good gods there are: in my opinion (if they regard that) they will find few things better worth their attentive regard in the world that now is, with Lord John Russell at the head of it.13 Adieu, Adieu. With my most scratchy iron pen, and with all pens and lawful methods, I subscribe myself Yours / T.C.