The Collected Letters, Volume 25


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON ; 5 July 1850; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18500705-TC-LA-01; CL 25: 115


Chelsea, 5 july, 1850.

What a day you had yesterday for company to your sad thoughts! Today is brighter; you will at least look upon peaceable green fields and summer trees; prophetic to one, surely, of good among all the miserable sorrow that there is. It does the sick heart good to look in silence on the face of our old Mother and her skies.— Alas, dear Lady, I fear we have both of us a great many sad thoughts to struggle with in these days! We must try not to struggle ignobly with them. We must do the best we can with our griefs and contradictions and provocations; in them too lies good,—and we shall get it if we be ourselves good. That is my faith always: and you too I love always the more the nobler I see you. Know that always, if it is of any use to you to know it. Eheu, Eheu!—

Yesterday I wandered, for afternoon walk, to Whitehall Gardens;1 I know not well why to such a sad spot. Some rain was still blowing about; there stood a shifting group of people, gentlemen and common people, looking sorrowfully on the House and the carriages, rich and poor, that seemed to be continually driving up,—three there while I passed. All men were silent, all looked grave and sad. The house with its white curtains, as if winding-sheeted; and in that gay room where I had been the other night—ah me! Passing out at the other end of the Banqueting House,2 there came the old Duke3 to do his sad ceremony too; he had nodded to his coachman to go round the other way before I noticed that it was he; some poor people lifted their hats to him, the old hero staggered on,—I thought, on the saddest errand I had seen a man go. With many thoughts, I turned home again. The sympathy of all the world is notable; all men feel that there has a great and sad thing befallen.

If I do not write something to reach you on Saturday night,4—then shall I bid you expect me? Alas, you know well how gladly I would come. I will try actually; if the day be fair, and certain other things not quite too wasteful do not forbid the project. God bless you, brave and noble Friend. About 2 O'clock on Sunday probably:—but some time or other I think I really shall be there. Adieu, I kiss your hands

Yours ever /

T. Carlyle