TC TO LADY ASHBURTON ; 10 February 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520210-TC-LA-01; CL 27: 38-39
TC TO LADY ASHBURTON
Chelsea, 10 feby, 1852
Yesterday came your Letter; thanks, gracious Lady: you do for me, right kindly, what good you can; and are, in fact, admirable to me in that as in other respects, and do deserve my wonder and my gratitude both in one. Heaven, I suppose, will pay you; as for me I never can. Or perhaps we are ready to go unpaid? That, I take it, is the genuine way!—
On Sunday evening,1—for I had thriftily reserved my little bit of earthly felicity (so terribly seasoned with bitter salt, many times!) till then—on Sunday evening at the old hour, I set off, in waterproof equipment, towards Bath House,2 under the heaviest pour of rain I have seen for some years: the very hackney-coaches and omnibuses seemed mostly washed away; I had all the streets to myself and my umbrella, no company but the gaslamps and my own independent meditations:—at Bath House you know what I met; but I protest I took it lovingly; and the wet walk (with the Devil somewhat subdued out of it) did me both benefit and pleasure. Alas, we are not very lucky of late! Nor is it easy to see much luck in the distance ahead;—yet, looking into such eyes as yours, it is not possible always altogether to despair. In fact you are a kind of miraculous or altogether exceptional creature, your Ladyship is; and I know not precisely what to think about you!—
The same Sunday afternoon, late, I was at Hyde Park with Clough (Clough probably called at Bath House too); and there we met the Bear3 under an umbrella in the Scotch-mist, with whom I turned. The good Bear: full of hope and cheery speculation, as usual, which one felt to be mostly soft-murmuring pleasant wind!— I do not yet know, and perhaps shan't till Saturday night, “what constitution” we are to live under according to Ld John:4 I have not yet met with one human creature who cared a straw about it one way or the other. Radicals and ultras have no faith in the ninth-part of a tailor5 that he can mean anything effectual in their or any sense; and from other parties, one hears the little trick denounced with sufficient scorn. No more despised “English Govt,” I do believe, ever darkened the light of the sun. A deeply disgraceful fact to us; worse than any “Invasion of the French” is like to be,— even tho' they burn your old Bathing Machine in Stokes Bay,6 and do other conceivable mischief.
On Friday I saw Lady Sandwich, amid a crowd of other Ladies; merry and graceful as need be,—hopeful too, tho' she seems to have given up London and its houses, and looks steadily to Paris again. Jane has seen her since (Jane, but I think, not Nero); and praises, as ever, her pleasant polite ways. Good old Lady:—perhaps Paris will be the best after all, now that it has got an Eagle again.7 “Le premier vol” is first-rate in the genus pun:8 if the French take into “Despotism tempered by Epigrams,” who knows but they may do rather well for a few years again!—Mazzini holds a grand soirée, or Lecture with Coffee (price 2/6), for behoof of his Italian Society, tomorrow evg, in the Freemasons Tavern,9—at which I shall have the pleasure of not assisting.— — Here is some interruption; sorrow on it! I will write soon again: no Answer; but be a good child; and good to me in particular,—if you still can. Adieu, dear Friend,
The Windsor Cover came (thanks for that, too, with its flowing address), and I have answered the Yankee, and burnt him:10 goodnatured chief of Fools.