January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON ; 2 February 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560202-TC-LA-01; CL 31: 20-21


Chelsea, 2 feby, 1856—

Dear Lady,

It surely cannot be unlawful to beg for a word of clear news from you in these distressing circumstances. I am grieved to the heart to think of your anxieties, confusions, and of poor Lord An's painful time;1 and I do not even know whether you are still at Bornemouth or distinctly how or where you are! This is surely beyond what the Law, with its biggest wig, can prescribe. One little word of clear history, I beg in pity from you.

Of a truth I do not think too seldom of you, whatever I may do, tho' I write nothing! The truth is, I am all dark as the winter-solstice in Spitzbergen;2 and do not afflict you with my Night Thoughts till the morning dawn3 again. As surely it will and must?— To add to all, I am a good way below average in health;—sad dinner at Lord Goderich's4 (and nothing but Spedding,5 Venables, Brookfield &c; a mere rechauffée [reheated dish], with mournful reminiscence even of the hot state of that article!) has quite spoiled me all this week; and instead of being better (as I counted that I was, and perhaps really am, poor foolish soul!) I am sorrowfully worse. “Serve him right!” that is what the bystander may well say; and what I myself say.

One sad consolation is, I do not quit work: I must not, or I should go mad! At a snail's pace (sometimes, alas, at a crab's, the wrong way), I keep puddling along, whether dead or alive: some day I shall get delivered; and then—perhaps all things will be better!

One word, dear Lady,—and as many merciful thoughts as your kind heart can spare, the noble goodness of which I will not doubt of, whatever else I may fall to doubting.

The “extremity of haste,”6 that too is my category at present. Seldom did son of Adam write on such terms altogether.

Yours ever /