April 1848-March 1849

The Collected Letters, Volume 23


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON; 4 November 1848; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18481104-TC-LA-01; CL 23: 149-151


Chelsea, 4 Novr, 1848—

Today Lindo is to be ready at the Library: I will send the first volume by post (post can “omit it for 24 hours”); the other volumes may lie at Bath House, waiting an opportunity, which will perhaps occur before you are ready. Perhaps you will stick up in the very first, in spite of your ardour!

Winter advances on us; London is getting ever dirtier, even thronger: that is still our only news. Yesterday I went into the City for money; returned walking: the streets were clammy with thick mud; the sky itself, grey, damp, and bitter with smoky foggy Northeast wind, seemed made of mud: men's faces except those of the draymen, had all a look of painful haste and travail, some one or two of a kind of ferocious discontent,—which on me operated almost profitably, as a kind of rebuke: “Resemble not these!” In St Paul's Churchyard, looking up, as my wont often is, to see the image of a grand soul of a Sir Christopher there, I caught, as my eyes came down again, the lean fanatic visage of Anstey, last seen in Winchester,—whom I cut, not without emotion!1 No other known visage did I see till near Chelsea again;—neither were these beautiful ones.

If you ever write to Lord Clarendon, will you some time remind him that he must not, in any wise, send Duffy (were he once convicted) into the herd of common Felons;—that in fact nobody in the least believes the Irish rumour of his meaning to do so. I wrote to him, last week, a long letter on the subject; but forbade any answer. Duffy's attempt at escape, they say, was grounded on this frightful surmise, which is currently rumoured in Dublin, tho' I do not believe in it at all. A certain fact is, that Duffy is intrinsically no “felon,” more than I am; but on the contrary a good and even genial man, and, so far as I can judge, distinctly the best of that sad company he has got into. Here is the Note from him,2 which gave rise to that Letter to Lord Cn;—but please do not shew that to any one except Lord Ashn, for it is of a shrill exasperated nature, and does the poor man no justice, exhibiting him in a mixed mood of panic and rage, unjust both of them, tho' not inexcusable.

The “Individuality of the Individual”3 will not do much for you: nevertheless read it, that you may know the man again on occasion. A poor Scotch Calvinist Preacher, who fled into Socinianism and England; preached there, in various places, various ever lighter tints of that poor doctrine, till at length (as you see) it has flatly quitted him altogether; and he is here now, these two years, trying, with the frightfullest prospects, to work out some independent basis for himself. A man really of considerable faculty; brave enough; cheerful too, tho' with a large fund of spleen in him: poor soul, if I were a miniature Providence in this world, I would not quite see him strangled yet for a while! Did you never think of that divine function? It well beseems the powerful everywhere; it is the summary of all that could beseem them at present! Perhaps I shall speak to you of that some day;—and you will listen, according to ability? Soup Kitchens, charities &c &c are not the way; but there is and must be a way,—and it is worth finding, for the like of you.

Oh my Lady, dear Lady, there lie volumes in me; but the margin to say them in, is it not small exceedingly? Most small; equivalent to none! Adieu then, in silence. Forget you; no, not for a long while yet; no!— — For the rest, take care of yourself while winter is setting in; ride Muff daily up the quiet sea-beach daily, with many thoughts, among which be remembrance of those that love you.— Write to me when you have anything. Farewell, my Queen.