The Collected Letters, Volume 27


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON ; 30 December 1852; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18521230-TC-LA-01; CL 27: 384-386


Chelsea, 30 decr, 1852—

Well, here is a bright morning to welcome you to The Grange again; and if you are a good child (as I hope), surely there is no brighter creature enjoying the heavenly sun today,—at least none known to me, by sight, memory, or image procurable in my travels in this world hitherto!— That is decidedly my private opinion; and I may as well state it in passing, let you make of it what you will.

And so my little gleam of sunshine,—for it really was like a burst of sun, suddenly in black December, that piece of news Ar Russell1 gave me that evg,—is suddenly gone out again, in the way we saw; and the general dark element has swallowed it again, as so much else!2 It was very miserable; and I could be abundantly elegiac, but will not. Let us take all things with piety; be impatient, be disloyal about nothing that can happen! Besides, it was in good part my own blame;—want of talent (if you knew it), not want of goodwill: had it not been for that, I might have seen you on Monday at any rate, and my defeat had not been so total. But perhaps it will be amended yet, before the end of all things. Perhaps—I always think there must be good lying in wait at the end of all actions and endeavours that are good, on the part of mortal creatures; and it is my fixed orthodox creed even, that we simply get out of all things the good (accurately measured, weighed in the eternal balance, difft very from our poor temporary one!) which we ourselves have put into it: this in looking back upon my own old years, and general past life, is often solemnly made manifest to me. We will despair of nothing.

Jane, I think, is writing to you today, about some affairs of a certain Maccall:—it appears she had never yet thanked you for the illustrious Christmas Turkey, ungrateful that she was! As to Maccall, I know nothing but what you have repeatedly heard from me; and wish nothing, except that you follow the bidding of your own clear judgement and just heart, as if I were not there at all (which indeed I properly am not,—remember that, I pray). The man is of ardent, high-flown, but lean and angry nature, true as steel, and very sharp too, but not otherwise of distinguished faculty, has also a tendency to theosophies (of a kind) and to fanaticism in new forms; and for the rest has suffered such poverties, obstructions and contradictions as I hardly know an instance of in these modern days;—till at last, it appears, he has gone as good as mad, for the present; and I fear it will be difficult to achieve an effectual deliverance for him! Alas, alas— But enough of poor Maccall.

Here has Darwin come with his Newyears wishes, and nobody at home but I: I wish he had chosen another time!—

I have to write to you soon again about Pöllnitz3 and the Thiers Books.— Say nothing about this; and till then farewell in haste!