August 1857-June 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 33


TC TO LORD ASHBURTON ; 22 January 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18580122-TC-LOA-01; CL 33: 167-168


Chelsea, 22 jany, 1858—

Dear Lord Ashburton,

I got home very quietly that Afternoon; found my wife a little improved,—sleeping rather better &c, tho' still coughing a good deal;—and such a lot of Printer incumbrances, for quantity and quality, as I hard[ly]1 recollect before! Nothing was done upon them that night;—nothing till after your Letter of next morning, and other breakfast phenomena, whh was highly welcome at its Address, and is to be answered, I hear, in some happy moment the first that comes.—I sat all day, struggling with multiplex chaos in its least dignified form; and was well nigh stupefied to extinction before I got loose from it close on dusk. One welcome circumstance, whether a quite wholesome one or not, was, that I had not then to go out riding in the fierce east-wind and inhospitable dark.

I suppose Lord & Lady Sandwich are gone by this time: I presume to like his Lp very well;—pray tell Mamma2 that small fact, if it can be of the least use to her: and at all events, do not forget to explain my French leave-taking;3 and how it was produced by the invincible force of circumstances. If Mr Ellice is with you, I will also beg to be recommended to him.

Orsini,” it appears, is a man who used to be about Mazzini in former years; understood to be a man of high rank in his own country;—had to go about armed, at one time, here; certain Italians (I think, of the Pickpocket or Begging-Letter species) having tried to “assassinate” him on the streets one night. The reddest-hot radicals, who like the so-called Emperor worst, are disgusted utterly with this reckless piece of murder and mischief; and I think will vote generally that hanging is the suitable response to it.4

I have not yet found the Rhymed Say (Saw) in Goethe, tho' I have looked a little,—found that it is not among the Tame Xenia (Zahme Xenien)5 as I once thot. You shall have chapter and verse one day, and perhaps a Say or two more of the like sort: meanwhile here, correct in substance and I think even in words, is the one we were talking of:

Wie, Wo und Wann? Die Götter bleiben stumm.

Du, halte Dich ans6 Weil, und frage nicht Warum.7

(How? Where? When? no use asking the Gods such questions: Hold thou fast to the Since (‘Weil,’ while, ‘such being the case’); and don't bother about the Why’).— Enough for this day; if the gout have gone its ways?

Yours ever truly / T. Carlyle