The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON ; 3 November 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18531103-TC-LA-01; CL 28: 304-306


Chelsea, 3 Novr, 1853—

Dear Lady,—A thousand thanks for the little word of news you sent: had you not been good, you might have left us guessing; groping in the dark regions of imagination, where for me at least, there is seldom much good to be discovered! When I know that you are well, and not oblivious of the absent, it is a great comfort to me and an indispensable. If I know farther where you are, and can scheme out for myself in some approximate manner what you are about, I have to say, Be content, sir; it is all you have a right to, all you will get at any rate!— May the sun shine bright on you, and the great serenity be kind and joyful to you, you bright woman, related to joy.

Here all is as dark as when you left it: carpenters still occasionally in the house; sick nerves in it, peace enough for these but seldom; and no work, not a vestige of real work, yet capable of being got done: you have thus the agre[e]able view of a man beaten upon, kicked and pumped upon by all Insolent Destinies of this strong but blind and dark world;—a man needing patience, now and then, really very much. Alas, one never has enough of that, never quite enough,—or one could defy the most insolent Destinies to do one any real hurt or degradation, and snap one's fingers in their face, however gorgonlike they were. On the whole, I will not give in; I do not mean to give in, if I can help it.

Yesterday and one day before,—driven out by chimney-sweeps, by carpets &c,—I went to the Museum, and the Vultur Ajutans's1 Den: noisy, dirty as ever; I got little there,—my usual headache and heartache, visible enough, but not very much else that was visible. Poor fat Adjutans,—he hindered me, too, from writing to you yesterday:—that also is among his sins, or misfortunes; but we must forgive him, he knows not what he does!

Clough wrote me the enclosed Note today: I think I told you, a Weimar man had been got, far beyond any of Clough's in probable quality.2 I fancy Cl. will miss The Grange this time, and have to be content with his Nightingales,— Philomels pouring their sad strain.3

I have seen nobody, or worse than none. One evening Sir Jas Stephen came; told us of Maurice what we already knew, that he was unanimously voted out;4 talked abstrusely, not very coherently; I see he is very deep still in Claphamism of a sort,5 fixed for life in the Jew element; which much restricts the use of him to me. God is great!— Here has Miss Delia Bacon (of the mythic Shakspeare) been, since I began to write: appointed by my Wife, did not keep her hour; and falls, in this sad way to me for a few minutes. I mean that she shall absorb Neuberg next visit (both of them come rarely); and that they shall annihilate one another.

Lord Ashburton's Letter is capital: clear, brief, entirely conclusive of the question; very fit indeed for a lord of land to write on the occasion, since he can.6— — You, dear Lady, are you going to Alverstoke then; perhaps already gone? You will write us a little word of tidings; to Jane, if she have written to you. Your better genius and mine will prompt you so to do.— I bid the Powers be kind to you, my noble Lady; I bid the Heavens bless you, as they ought to do, and indeed have done; and am, yes I am, Yours truly, / T. Carlyle