July-December 1858

The Collected Letters, Volume 34


TC TO LORD ASHBURTON ; 25 October 1858; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18581025-TC-LOA-01; CL 34: 225-226


Chelsea, 25 Octr, 1858—

Dear Lord Ashburton,

Your grand and unexpected news,1 you need not doubt, is abundantly interesting here; nor, in its suddenness, and escorted by its echoes in one's memory, could it be otherwise than welcome and of glad omen. “Life belongs to the Living,” says a wise man; “and he that lives must be prepared for changes.”2

No friend of yours but must have seen with sorrow, little as you complained about it yourself, how in this late time your existence had become such a desert to you in comparison; not a solitude only but, as it were, a desert:—some remedy much needed surely, could remedy be found. And now, beyond our expectation, here in some fair likelihood it is; a New Era actually rising for you, which may bring the future tense into some similarity to the past; and be a great improvement indeed!—

I have had the honour to see that amiable Lady more than once;3 nor has rumour been silent about her many qualities: she is very good to remember me on such an occasion. I beg you to offer her my homages, my congratulations; none can wish more cordially a prosperous and noble course to her under the name she will now bear. For her own sake, and yours, and that of many others, such may well be a general prayer.

I called twice at Bath House,4 on some false prophecy of you there. As matters have turned out, we will not lament the prophet's downbreak; on such terms it is worth while to wait a little. I will say only: May a blessing be on this new Epoch of Your Life; and may nothing but good (or if that is too much to hope in terrestrial things,—may a conspicuous overplus of good) follow from it to everybody!

I am and remain / Yours always truly /

T. Carlyle