The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JOHN A. CARLYLE ; 1 April 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530401-TC-JAC-01; CL 28: 95-97


The Grange, Alresford 1 April, 1853—

My dear Brother,

Your two Notes have duly reached me: the first came to Chelsea after my departure, and followed me hither, the second arriving along with it: I was very glad indeed to hear of our Mother's holding out so well, for the weather, tho' bright enough, has been very cold in these parts. We had, for the first time, last night, a violent convulsion of storm and rain indicating that the wind was getting round to the West, where it now is, and where may it long remain. It will do us all good to get out of those fierce Northern influences; my very hands are chapped and cracked by them.

I got here, according to program, on Saturday; there arrived along with me a Dr Hofmann; Liebig-Chemistry Professor, a very honest soft intelligent and modest Giessen specimen, who staid only till Tuesday, before which time other English specimens (Venables, Ellice, Poodle-Byng &c) had arrived, who still continue for another day: on the evening of the same Tuesday came four Latin personages, Portuguese Ambassador “Lavardio” and his Wife; two Turin Azeglios, Nephew and Uncle (Ex-minister), which latter, a kind of lion at present in these parts, was specifically the hero of this rustic party of ours. Not very much of a hero, I think, but intrinsically an amiable worthy kind of man. He is tall, lean, of acquiline stooping figure, long acquiline nose and big heavyladen grey eyes, the whites of which, excessively large, are grey-yellow: a dyspeptic, melancholy Ex-minister; carries still a bullet in his knee, caught at the Battle of Novara, & has a great terror of Austria and Mazzini. Speaks nothing but French; eats infinite sugar, with or without boulets de gomme [gum balls] from the waistcoat pocket, and smokes daily about 20 paper cigarettes. We had some difficulty in agreeing at first; but got on very well after the preliminaries were settled. His Nephew, Turin Ambassador, is a flaring big man of no visible parts or faculty except that [of]1 eating &c; like a figure painted on a teaboard, so fluid and foolish-looking is he. The Portuguese Ambassador, a talking glegman, puzzled me by his look all the time; at length I discovered he had the very face of one Tommy Muir, a venerable Pedlar whom I recollect at the Ecclefechan fairs out of very old times! H[is] Wife was a nice little black jenny spin[ner] of a body.— They all went off yesterday; and nothing but English is now needed: a great relief to some of us. The rest, except Miss Farrar and I, go tomorrow; Miss F. and I are to go together on Monday; and so the business will happily end. A very idle business; yields me a ride each day, & very little else that is of much use or pleasure. Today they are shooting fowl on the Lake; bang, bang, I hear the guns go; Ellice talks within doors about Thiers and the Russian question:2 last night at dinner Lord An got notice that there was a fire visible in the neighbourhood; silently he glided out, galloped off; “a farm burnt out, 6 miles off,”—one of his farms,—was the report at 11.— Love to Phoebe; adieu to both. Ever yours T. C.