July 1847-March 1848

The Collected Letters, Volume 22


TC TO LADY HARRIET BARING ; 3 November 1847; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18471103-TC-LHB-01; CL 22: 143-144


Chelsea, 3 Novr, 1847—

Yes, dear Lady, Mr C. will write to you again:—it was the saddest of all thoughts for him that he never should! But for the present he is pressed together, as if dead, and in a leaden shroud; if you knew him (which happily you do not) you would not wish to hear much of him.— There is misery in complaining; there is misery in mixing soot among ambrosia; so let us close our lips, and say nothing rather.

You are to be here on Monday fortnight then? That is the important fact; that, and that you are well. I too,—except that the Fogs are dark; the Fogs without and within; and I am not fit to appear before Queens.

Emerson went on Friday night last; I was torn to pieces talking with him; for his sad Yankee rule seemed to be, That talk should go on incessantly except when sleep interrupted it: a frightful rule. The man, as you have heard, is not above bargain;—nor, if one will be candid, is he fairly much below it. A pure-minded elevated man; elevated but without breadth, as a willow is, as a reed is; no fruit at all to be gathered from him. A delicate, but thin pinched triangular face, no jaws nor lips, lean hook-nose; face of a cock: by none such was the Thames ever burnt!1 A proud man too; a certain sensitive fastidious stickishness, which reminded me of a miniature Washington's;2 very exotic, tho' Anglosaxon enough; rather curious to think of. No getting into any intimacy with him, talk as you will. You have my leave to fall in love with him if you can!— And so he plays his part: gone to lecture in Lancashire; to return hither he knows not when:—it is privately privately3 hoped he may go to Rome! I wish him honestly well, do as I am bound respect him honestly; but Friends, it is clear, we can never in this world, to any real purpose, be.4

And next a wretched mortal, called Weigall, is “modelling my face” (an old promise of seven years standing);5 and makes me very unhappy, he too! What has he to do with my unbeautiful face (of which he will never make a likeness either), the unhappy creature?

O my noble Lady, do not you be angry at me, or impatient with me: You, in the deepest depth of all fogs and confusions, I love always well. Adieu.— More if I can in a day or two; if not, not. “Fort peu de chose [Very little to say].”— Yours ever