TC TO LADY ASHBURTON; 13 April 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550413-TC-LA-01; CL 29: 289-291
TC TO LADY ASHBURTON
Chelsea, 13 April, 1855—
Thanks, thanks, dear Lady, ever good as beautiful; the sight of your handwriting again is a blessing to me,—I suspect you do not know how much! Nor need you.
And you know we will not come to you? What on earth has put that into a head so clear as yours! A certain Gentleman in black must have been very busy lately. The fact is indisputable. I suffer somewhat in cohues of commonplace people, noisy children &c &c; and nowhere in Nature are they so afflictive [to]1 me as in your Ladyship's presence: but in the absence of these—How often must I repeat it? Nay, at last, when no better can be, even with these— For the sight of you, from time to time, is by no means hateful to me; surprising as it may seem!
At any rate the second indisputable fact at present is, we will come, so soon as asked, for 3 days, four days, one day,—any way your orders please to run. Or if “we” will not do; then “I,” individually, in a strong pair of shoes, mean to treat myself to a walk out, one of these days,—and shall need no orders. The very trees, I want to see them,—and I have no doubt they will be rather glad to see me, I have liked them so long and well!— For the rest, give my earnest counsel to Lady Sandwich not to run away so soon out of the bright spring now that it has come at last: the dirty Town seems to me a mere dogkennel in comparison; who would return thither that could help it? Very bad for bronchitis, too, and the dust often flying. Be good children, both of you!—
If it was Louis Napoleon, so-called Emperor, that made this “French Exhibition,”2 it shall be another of my griefs against him; which already make a heavy score,—taking in Sebastopol, the Thief-Acrobat General-in-chief; the Charlatan that went to put stars in the Holy Places, and gather votes from dirty French Priests—pah!3 I find that a very damnatory symptom in the man. My poor Fritz, scraggy as he was, would have much scorned any such adventure, at his worst pinch. He will never “fix” himself, except in Chaos, by these methods. He will go to the Devil, I doubt;—and this “Glass Box of never-imagined size” (equivalent to the Millenium in the minds of simple persons), which whirls you away to Paris again, this also will be charged to his account.4— My notion really is, there has been a triple portion of folly in the English Nation ever since that Year of Loud Inanity, when it was said to all manner of Paxtons, Coles5 and flabby windy creatures, “Jubilate!” and to all manner of serious thinking persons, “Hold your peace, under penalties!”—
I am sorry you don't like Adlerfeld;6 read away (you have only to do that), and you will find in him, under much dry confusion, an actual mirror of that grand Iron-King and of his ways in this world, so as they can be conceived and believed to have been.— As a penalty I impose Herzen, & his Russian red-republic,7 on you, in the interim.
Poor Mrs Clough has had an interesting misfortune;8 poor little soul. The Twistletons were here one night;9 just about taking up house this very day. She is really quick and bright, but petite, petite. He, good man, hangs both by the Empyrean and the Daily Newspapers; a good man, to whom Blockheadism is not always so unpleasant as it ought to be.— I have not seen even the Poodle10 (good Poodle, after all) since you went away; and know not in the least what you are doing:—will come and see; that is the remedy. God bless you ever. T.C.