1854-June 1855

The Collected Letters, Volume 29


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON; 11 January 1854; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18540111-TC-LA-01; CL 29: 11-13


Chelsea, 11 jany, 1854—

Dear Lady,—I have not, naturally, the least particle of news for you, from without or from within; nothing, but this poor symbol that you are still in my thoughts; like a bright presence walking thro' gloomy caverns and sepulchral halls, willing to cheer the poor inhabitant. Be thanked at least; thanks are all I have to give, in my extreme impoverishment,—or ever shall have, as I often think;—and surely these are not worth much from such a quarter. But you will have it so; you are very good, and resolute to be good.

I have kept myself quite alone; not seeing anybody, nor intending it for some time. I do not abandon myself to useless emotions: but there is much to be sorted up, much to be cleared away; and, in a languid sad manner, I concern myself daily with that, as the preliminary thing. By Heaven's blessing, I hope yet to do some work, in the years that may remain: no other consolation is conceivable; no other use or advantage has Life, for a long time past, presented to me:—one gets very grim, on those terms; and has need that the sacred fountains be again opened in one's stony heart. A little free speech with you, I often think, speech at which no god or man could take offence if they understood it, might be a great solacement to me: but that is not to be had, owing to confused impediments, nor perhaps ever will. Well, well; we must take the other way of it, then; the other way too has worth which we will not part with if we can help it,—no.

Unluckily this Fredk is so totally alien to my humour at present! I foresee I shall have a furious wrestle with that subject, if it ever come to anything; wrestle at which I could tremble in any humour. But there is no help;—nor, except in oneself, is there any hindrance possible: that too should be a comfort!

You will write to us when once your gayeties are over; tell us that you have got unharmed thro' them, which is the chief interest they can have, but a real one, just now. And about the end of the month you are coming up to Parlt, are you not? That also is truly all the interest I take in the sublime assembly, with its Turk wars, Palmerston explanations &c &c.1 A most wearisome amt of empty boxes to me otherwise!— Come, then;—and comfort poor Prince Albert, who is really getting into turbid water at present.2 Poor soul: Louis XVI said once, “What have I done to be so loved?” Then (probably), “What to be so hated?” The answer in both cases, “Nothing!”—

Adieu, O beautiful Friend, beautiful and good.— T.C.