The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO LORD ASHBURTON ; 3 March 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530303-TC-L0A-01; CL 28: 59-60


Chelsea, 3 March, 1853—

Dear Lord Ashburton,

A gentleman of the name of Magrath, who writes a scraggy hand, but in a civil style and with pleasant news, informs me last night that I am elected to the Athenaeum on Tuesday last “under Article 2 of the rules”; and that at this date, apparently by the special interposition of Heaven (for he says nothing about monies or other vulgar terrestrial objects), I am actually a member of that honourable Club!1

Really I begin to be ashamed of myself; and, now that I have reflected on it, know not what to say:—better perhaps that I say almost nothing! Certainly there are munificent souls still extant in this world; certainly here is one of the handsomest acts done in the handsomest manner! You have really given me a very pretty Freehold for the rest of my life; and in a way that cannot be refused,—that can only be accepted, with a feeling which is itself a real possession to one. I do return many thanks; and will not speak another word.— — It is certain, except for this or some such miracle, I should never have been a member of any Club: and we will take the consequences, which may really be considerable for me, with hope. For the rest, I will not enter the place till after your arrival on Monday; and you shall introduce me, some evening while you are here,—to the “Club Epoch” of my existence, if peradventure any “epoch” lie in that! We shall see.

Neuberg's Note here inclosed is not worth anything except as a sign that My Lady's German Prints are not in jeopardy by having been committed to the Post, as my apprehension was: I wrote to Neuberg again last night; and probably he is at this very hour girding himself together to negociate about them. By Saturday one might almost fancy they would be in Bath House; after which event I will directly write to Doyle;—and so, on Monday evg, perhaps the whole matter might lie ready for the royal sanction; the rejected Prints laid on one side, the accepted on another, and nothing needed farther but la reine le veut or (dreadful to think of) la reine s'avisera!2

I get on shockingly ill with what I call my work; alas, I seem fast losing the tradition of what practically deserves the name of “work”; and look sometimes as if I should never work more in this world, but only saunter and stagger, and painfully lean upon my picks and shovels, looking at the unspeakable mud-quarry! The prayers of The Grange are desired for one in great distress.

Our weather too is still very harsh, tho' it pretends to a kind of thaw; nothing but rumours of sick people near and far. I hope My Lady keeps well within doors; and rallies strength for Monday next. I send my blessings and regards; and am always,

Yours sincerely /

T. Carlyle

The Austrians will not get Mazzini in the Coffins at Milan: Jane and our Postman (M's late landlord)3 ascertain from the Great Deep of Philo-Italian Sansculottism here that there is at least no danger of that.