The Collected Letters, Volume 26


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON; 11 December 1851; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18511211-TC-LA-01; CL 26: 265-266


Chelsea, 11 decr, 1851—

Dear Lady,—On Monday morning there was some tradition of a Letter from you, but no Letter came; none came on Tuesday, nor on Wednesday either,—at least not till night, being “accidentally delaid” (some Postman said),—and, in the interim, little Fleming,1 in Piccadilly, had told me you were “ill and confined to your room these two days”; so that the Letter itself, when I found it on returning home, was rather a relief to me on that head. But surely yr general bulletin of health, coupled with my Wife's of this morning, is rather a sorry one. All ill at once, days [of]2 sore-throat, day of headache, poor Lady Sandwich also ill: three “unprotected females” decidedly in no good way!— However, we shall see with our own eyes the day after tomorrow; we will hope much may have improved before that time. I have written to Lord A. to give me warning of his hour; which I will conform to;—and if anything go wrong on Saturday, I hope it will be his blame and not mine; punctual and correct in all things as I mean to shew myself!—

Macaire has not made his appearance; nor perhaps will, after my former message at Greek Street: but if he do, I shall be ready for him. The unfortunate creature seems to be very clearly, if not a swindler (which I do not think), a lazy vagabond lout who has got into the way of living by beggary; in which course there is not the least reason why you should aid or confirm him: let him take her Majesty's bounty, and apply to the drill-serjeant since he cannot guide his own steps better! Such “pathos,” unattended by proper veritable exertion, on the part of a stout young fellow, a yard across the shoulders, and weighing sixteen stone avoirdupois, is not pretty but disgusting.

I have had ten days of a silence—equal to that of Jonah in the Whale's Belly; whh perhaps wasn't quite silent either! Oh my Lady, my Lady! Good be with you—till Saturday. Yours ever