The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON ; 28 February 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18520228-TC-LA-01; CL 27: 53-55


Chelsea, 28 feby, 1852—

No news from Chelsea today, not a word of news; only a salutation to you, and a blessing for the sunday morning, as you look out upon the snowdrops and green buds and prophecies of coming Spring. Really if the everlasting powers of this Universe, which do not fail or lie to us, did not send us some good news, I know not where we should seek them at present: for on the Earth with its palavers and fatuities all seems to my afflicted sense to be sinking more and more into universal vileness and wretchedness,—worthy to be governed by a “Talking-King from Houndsditch”;1 and that is saying much! But, from the Pope of Rome and Archbishop of Lambeth,2 down to friend Thiers, Disraeli of the Exchequer, and Nero of No 5 (who was out with me this morning in a very dirty state), the world looks not a little unbeautiful at present; and many things are very unworshipful indeed. Alas, alas! But let us be patient too. The beggarliest mass of yellow cabbage-leaves in the “garden” they call Covent-Garden3—well, that too will get itself cleared off by sure scavengers; and indeed I think I know a certain FIRE that will be the brighter for it, and will rid us of it all, one day! God is great; nor is England quite dead,—even tho' our Whig ministry has just shuffled out, and (miraculous enough) a still uglier has shuffled in.

All men seem to be laughing at this new Batch of Temporary-Kings; who to me are no laughing matter, but rather a terrible finger on the wall, writing strange prophecies amid our gay banquet.4 The saddest, too, I clearly think, is this of Disraeli. To be governed by imbecile Lords is a fate long since appointed us by the wisdom of our ancestors and the immortal gods; imbecile Lords fall on us from the sky like rain and influenza; but here have we been raging and reforming, all the world battling and screaming since 17895 for some new era; and the new era with its ballotboxes brings us—a Pinchbeck Hebrew,6 almost professedly a Son of Belial (skilled to make the worse appear the better reason,7 and to vend new-dyed Old-clothes, and varnished falsities, in a profitable manner): he, with Guizot, Thiers, Falloux8 and Compy across the water, was our coming man! I think if I had ever believed in suffrage, free parliaments, force of public opinion, and all that melancholy rubbish of which men's heads are now full, I shd have rent my garments (torn one's Galashiels9 Peajacket) and gone about in sackcloth and ashes, for a sign!— —

I have not seen M. Thiers again, in fact I have seen nobody,—have rather kept out of everybody's way. I called yesterday with cards at the Bear's; but did not find him,—was found, on the contrary, by a dreadful Bore, who ran across the street, and took me captive till I got near home again. Alas, there too my very Book, I knew, was a Bore of Bores; nine volumes on the Teutonic Knights,10 which shd, and could easily, have been distilled in to half a volume: that is my sad companion all this week, and it is not yet near done. Stupiditas Stupiditatum, omnia stupiditas [Stupidity of Stupidities, all is stupidity]!11— — But in fact I had better hold my tongue than persist in this strain. A Queen of the world may be thot to deserve a better serenade (or aubade) than this sad charivari and concert of pots and pans. Forgive me, O Queen!

You were very good in the affair of Camisoles, on Monday evg; you are always good. Jane came home much pleased, tho' you had refused her the Mazzini Book.12 Next day I confidently expected one other glimpse of you (under difficulties); but you were off like a bird of the air. Yesterday I thot to have tried for some news of you at Bath House; but in that too I was foiled; and today, I conclude, Lord A. will be gone. Heigho!

I will ask for my Hue13 at any rate, tho' I have not yet read a word of the other volume.— Well, I love you very well after all, and always thank Heaven for you quoique [anyway]—! Is not that strange?— God bless you. And take care of yourself. Adieu, dear Friend. T.C.