August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO LORD ASHBURTON ; 15 November 1857; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18571115-TC-LOA-01; CL 33: 117-118


Chelsea, 15 Novr, 1857

Dear Lord Ashburton,

I have somewhat lost the correct track of you lately: Lady Sandwich told me you were across in Scotland; had been at Inverary;1 had breakfasted with her big Grace2 one morning; seen “Le plus vaillant [the most valiant]” and his Spouse,3 of whom I used to hear in Edinr long ago:— I vaguely fancy you may be with Stirling;4 somewhere or other this will come to hand, and remind you that I am still alive. For the last several weeks I have been quite unusually hunted: proof-sheets numerous and, beyond the average, abstruse; &c &c: in fact I never in my life had such time as for the last year; and no such job, I often think, was ever laid upon a reasonable creature, not naturally concerned with it. In truth, it has quite broken my heart, it and its adjuncts; and I pass the saddest heavy-laden days; and in grim fact, often feel to myself as if I never shd get thro' it alive,—not to speak of its being of the least worth to me or others; when got thro'! The Arithmetical truth is, however, we are getting into the actual Second Volume; and if I can hold out till about May next, I shall have this Instalment off my hands,—and a long spell of rest fairly ahead of me.

Lady Sandwich, good old Lady-Mother, is tolerably well; cheery and talky, when I called, the other evening. My Wife takes rather less kindly, I doubt, to the winter weather; however, she too is still afoot, and better than last year this time. I have seen, as it were, nobody; speak to nobody, except to the Prussian Mud-demons and my Horse.— Alfred Tennyson & Wife turned up one day, escorted by Mrs Cameron:5 the melodious man was kind but inarticulate; was gravitating willingly homewards from his Northern gaieties. Twisletons were here one night; the young Boston Sister has a Boston Husband with her this time,—on their marriage journey;6 bound “to Italy,” and generally to the land of Promise: a likely enough young pair. Twn is rather clear as to the “impossibility” of ever colonising India, “such is the cheapness of labour” &c &c: in which notions I shall be glad to find you totally dissent from him: in fact, if we cannot keep a million or two of native white men on the high lands of India (as they do in Cuba among the Africans down below),7 it is not visible to me how we shall ever do good there.

A terrible “money-panic” you must have heard of;8 but, I suppose and hope, have nothing to do with,—clear above it, as I am clear below it. If the sum of all the “Commercial Madness” in America and Europe (every piece of nonsense and unveracity done by a trading man) is getting itself liquidated in this manner, we may fancy it can be no slight operation!— — I am at the bottom of my Paper; and such a sheaf of Proofs lie waiting me, I must not take another sheet. We hope you will be home soon: that is the burden of the song!9 I rode by Streatham this afternoon,—sad remembrances exciting me there; sad but sacred, & blessed in a sort!10—Yours ever T. Carlyle