1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON; 30 June 1855; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18550630-TC-LA-01; CL 29: 345-346


Chelsea, 30 june, 1855—

Dear Lady,—Have you no thought of coming home, then? You are much wanted here, by many persons and for many reasons. We must pray for hot weather in Paris; I suppose there will be nothing else that can act upon you. May the weather grow furnace-hot, then, and awaken all the evil odours. Is it not a shame to think of The Grange and its green woods, in these parching brick wildernesses; or of poor Addiscombe, and what used to be there, in such times? The whole world is like an Opera-air on your Piano: beautifullest possibilities of music, ending all in mere nonsense, little useful to afflicted human nature.

As for me I have not wanted for thoughts about you and other things; but they are thoughts that avail nothing. It is plain you have gone away and left me,—indeed, had left me before you went away: for reasons which appeared satisfactory abundantly,—alas, alas! Also that I can do no work, or in six days not the work of one; so weak am I fallen; and push fruitlessly, waggon sunk to the axle-tree in dismal “Brandenburg sand.” One day, you will pity me, when you have well understood!— Seriously I have been utterly bankrupt in soul, this long while; sleep worse and worse;—and often think of gathering myself together, and cowering off to some obscure hut on the seashore, or “cave where the winds howl to the waves' dashing roar,”1 which would perhaps be suitabler.— In fact, I shall reach “the nadir,” one of these days, I often think; and then we shall see whether there is not some upward tendency possible again?

Of people here, or their doings, I can tell you nothing; for I see nobody, or the minimum of “bodies,” fly out of the way wherever it is possible; and generally, in my imagination, consider the world a ruined dog kennel, with Palmerston and the suitable parties at the head of it,—with which I have no concern, except in this garret here, for a short while longer.

The Johnson's God-daughter affair has not gone a good road, chiefly perhaps for want of you on the scene. A sublime little Memorial was drawn up, signed by about twenty of the weightiest literary gentn; presented to Palmerston by Ld Granville, then urged upon him by Lord Stanley: Palmerston, in about a month, gave £100 “Donation,” and there rested. Lady Palmerston, who was thought to have public funds whh might have supplemented this lame conclusion,—was polite to a degree when applied to (by Lady Stanley) but gives no answer for the last 4 or 5 weeks, which at length we understand to mean “Go to the—Times newspaper!”2— I had no need of all that bother in addition. Dickens is certain “Miss Coutts will give the annual £20 still wanted”; and I too know a Better who was equally munificent at an earlier stage,—to whom I will still apply in extremity.3 But I wish you had been here; I wish you were here,—I wish a million things, and can get none of them! I mean to write soon again now. God bless you ever.