August 1846-June 1847

The Collected Letters, Volume 21


TC TO LADY HARRIET BARING; 24 March 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18470324-TC-LHB-01; CL 21:187-188.


Chelsea, 24 March, 1847

The day before yesterday, arrived your Clipping from the French Newspaper!— Thanks. You are always gracious to me, always graceful,—gnädige Frau [gracious Lady]. This little piece of French fatuity, may it be to me a little mute messenger with sense and truth in the heart of it!

Of course I was much surprised, that Tuesday morning, when they answered me at Stanhope Street, “Her Ladyship is gone to Paris, sir; not to be back till after Easter, sir!” That same evening came your kind little note from Folkestone:—and so you were away; and the ocean-tides and foreign Provinces already lay between us. By the will of the gods! Reflexions were numerous; profitable, and unprofitable.— We have heard since that your Lady Mother's danger appears to be quite over; which surely is one blessed thing. I did not learn till Sunday last that Mr Baring was with you; the House lay all shut and smooth; Wills came out in serene benignity, very bright indeed: “Not coming till May, Hy happrehend, sir!” But I flatter myself he does not know. The “will of the gods” shall be done. That will be so, whether we will or not; and it will be wise for us to be on the side of that, not on the opposite side, I think! On the whole, what an imbroglio is this world: here and there a thread of gold, imbedded in deep mountains of distracted rubbish,—not to be extricated without almost miracles of labour! And again are there not threads of tinsel too, which but seem gold? I compare it to your opera music at Alverstoke: ravishing notes, out of which no soul can build himself a rational tune, that will tell him anything. I wish it would alter:—but it will not, for some time.

We are very well here; very silent; full of meditations, of the abstrusest sort; which amount hitherto to little or nothing. “The insoluble case of biquadratics!” That is a case constantly recurring, in this life; solution of it depends, say the Hindoo Algebraists, “on a clear judgement and the blessing of God.” Seriously I am, at present, in all manner of ways, very much at a pause. Never in my days have I been so idle, seemingly and actually without movement anywhither, as in these late months. I feel disgusted with my trade (which has been a supreme blessing to me, too); disgusted with the whole pack of miserable rope-dancers who follow it in our day:—and the times also are getting too swift for books; I think often we are perhaps on the edge of great and terrible times. For all Reform-Bills are a small matter to this of the Potatoe, if it continue dead! And I would fain speak out the whole mind of me before I die. Shall I set up a weekly Newspaper? Shall I squeeze into Parlt itself, and there speak Pamphlets, hot and hot, right from the heart,—and burn up the World-Humbug!

Adieu O schönste, Beste [most beautiful and best]: may the Heavens keep you.


If you don't return soon, I will write again.

Last night at Bath-House all very good and pleasant; scanty news of you, however.