1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON; 18 November 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18541118-TC-LA-01; CL 29: 203-205


Chelsea, 18 Novr, 1854—

Dear Lady,

I got the Paper this morning; many thanks to you, and low apologies, for all the trouble you take: I perceive the ancient rudimentary scrawlings of that confused Paper had been included in the ultimate edition of it, when I snatched up the whole, that evening, and gave it to you:—I wonder you had not flung it into the fire, in a rather forcible manner, along with the provoked log! In fact you were much in error, your Ladyship was, as to my meaning about the Lord Chamberlain,1—but infinitely magnanimous withal; as indeed you are in the habit of being. Enough, we are all right now, on that side of things; and you go about like a beneficent Genius or Goddess, commanding intricate entanglements to disappear, and paths to open themselves for a poor wayworn individual; who is at least grateful for your help.— Let me say however that there should really be a place found for that Picture of the Boy Fk Drumming:2 yes indeed! There are 3 or 4 prints of it at Windsor, all rather coarse and bad; the Prince Consort suggested the original at Charlottenburg (as yet ignorant that there was a first-rate Copy in these parts);—and indeed I think it an excellent Picture, if we look at practical worth in Pictures, and forget a little the “corregioscity of Corregio3 (as it is rather useful to do, now and then): for my share, I would not give it for the best Flaying of Bartholomew, Flight into Egypt &c,4 or indeed readily for any “beautified Fiction” whatsoever, the thing here being a “naturally beautiful Fact” (as we may call it) not without importance to mankind & me. Hang it up, therefore; hide it not under a bushel;5 let one's eyes light on it now and then: that is my humble petition;—and so I end.

Nothing goes on here but the old story; now drenched in three days of muddy rain, now (as today) dried again by fiercely howling northwind. Lord An says you are well; which is right good news, coming by accident. He himself seems to be quite well again too, which we had always rather doubted till last night. Twisleton has got his letter (as perhaps you know, if an answer have come): I inquired next day, and found Yes.6 Vaughan's Address is “Hampstead,”—I suppose, sufficient if one put “Oxford,” “Professor” &c upon it; as I did last night, and sent it on its way. I have not seen the man for a long while; a worthy man, serious, studious and wise,—rather inarticulate, and with a tendency to be slightly wearisome if you have him long!— Thackeray, I hear, has fled the country somewhither, not being well in these weeks:7 poor soul, busy too, and I suppose not in high spirits always,— as the like of me is! God help us all. I will write about the “2d january” question soon.8 Adieu, dear Lady.