January-September 1856

The Collected Letters, Volume 31


TC TO LADY ASHBURTON ; 19 January 1856; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18560119-TC-LA-01; CL 31: 9-10


Chelsea, 19 Jany, 1856—

Dear Lady,—I send you my heart's blessing, in words if that is useful, before the week depart;—I beg you to forgive all my sins, I do indeed with a humble and contrite mind! They are many and great; but not against you with my will; no, nor ever can be, while will is left me in this world. You may depend on that; for that is very true.

All these days I have been the idlest, feeblest, and probably among the unhappiest of mankind; never felt so vanquished, overwhelmed and totally useless,—or hardly ever,—in my life before. Incapable of writing, of thinking, of acting. In fact a down-broken creature indeed. Which is shameful to think of. However, I have languidly gathered my tools together again, in some measure cleared the decks; and do mean to rally with the new week, and creep if I cannot walk. You shall hear from me then, when I have become articulate again:—or you will come in person, will you not, to the opening the Palmerston Palaver,1 about the end of this month? Which is now nigh. And not cheat me out of a sight of you, as you sometimes tyrannously do? Oh, it is not for me to complain of your stripes:—I am a sinful son of Adam; and you—have no malice against me, have you?

All morning Anthony Sterling has been here; just on wing for the Crimea; a very hairy rugged fowl of the air.2 But we hope Peace is now coming:3 a general cessation into “As you were,” and a wiping of bloody noses after this foolery.

Likewise Lord An has been bringing the Prince's military science to bear upon me in the way of indirect criticism;4 two Letters from his Lordship, with an offer of Books, which proves not needful, Sterling having brought them down this morning.

Oh my Lady, my Lady, what could I write that were not a mockery of what one probably feels! I will be silent rather, and commend you in thought to all the good Powers. I kiss the hem of your garment;5 being—

Yours ever /