1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON; 9 December 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18541209-TC-LA-01; CL 29: 212-213


Chelsea, 9 decr, 1854—

It is de Profundis [from the depths] that I write to you one word, O excellent and ever-dear Lady! We have been ill; both of us bad colds; my Wife not out these 3 weeks and sometimes in bed: add to which, carpenters (again!) tearing up my floor, which had been made of green wood and let in wind enough to turn a wind-mill,—Oh “the progress of the species”1 in this epoch! My poor Brother too has been here, to confuse us farther: a poor wandering soul, ever since the tragedy of August last. In short I have been in the worst of spirits (if that was anything new to us); and have not had the satisfaction, tho' working daily, to see my poor task advance hardly a handbreadth, if advance at all. You can pity me in your goodness; if you do not pity me more or less,—if you ever altogether take away your goodness from me,—then it will be that you do not understand; that you have misread the strugglings of a poor wretch, and not known how firmly the Fates have got him in their pincers,—poor devil! But I won't give in either; I mean to struggle yet a while, and not yield till I see the thing out. So instead of pity, say “Courage!” to me: that will be better.

On the Tuesday announced, and on the Wednesday, I was duly at Bath House for tea: but blessings do not come to us by merely opening our mouths;—so nobody had come, nobody was coming.— I saw Lady Sandh about a week ago; much better than when I had last been. Very cheerful and talky; had not Madam Walewsky come,2 and sent me off

Poor Eckermann is dead at Weimar;3 which has added to the sadness of my humour. The Twisletons are off to Paris: him I have seen and talked with up in my garret here; her not, she staid below, twice: a pretty creature,—very petite.— That sordid tragedy of a Turk war will at least bring you up to Town; and if you belong to the Celestials, as I always think you do, I shall see you the night you come. God bless you always, & keep you safe, and good to me.

Ys ever

T. Carlyle