August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO LORD ASHBURTON ; 4 January 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580104-TC-LOA-01; CL 33: 147-148


Chelsea, 4 jany, 1858—

Dear Lord Ashburton,

The 12th is Tuesday, tomorrow week: let that be the day, as you propose;—Printers to be shoved over the horizon, till the Tuesday following that. I will bring my Horse; and hope to have some rides with you on those ever-memorable Downs,1 where I have had so many. The Quadruped (not to speak of his rider) will be much obliged for his open paddock, and room to stretch his poor toes, lamed by the vile leather soles. Perhaps the fetlock joints too, as you once argued. Certainly the animal is nothing like so light of foot, as some of yours I have ridden,—going like antelopes, or as if their element were the air!—

Today it is bright, but very cold and windy; frost surely coming, one wd think. Last evg, I rode by Richmond way; called on Bates,2 as I had promised that night we met in your room months ago. Bates professed to be slightly under the Doctor; but was brisk jolly and intelligent as usual. A substantial old blade; whom I always like to get hold of in talk. Mrs. also came in; exuberant as a sunflower, as a—Almost too exuberant for me.3 The ride home was rapid, somewhat chaotic; darkness having fallen in the interim. London and all places were clangouring and jangling with their Sunday bells; a heaped-up universe of frosty fog, with flares of gaslight visible in it, hung on my right:—a ride as thro' a nightmare, tho' an ugly fact withal.

If, some day between this and Tuesday, you can advise what train is the eligiblest,—and how long before the starting-time I ought to make appearance with my Horse (for getting Horse-box &c brought out),—the matter wd be ready to the last item; and we shd witht farther writing proceed to execute it.

I hope your gout is off; and I send many regards to Lady Sandwich,—whose “Ironside” Picture is safe hung up, in his place of honour, some days ago.4

Yours ever truly / T. Carlyle